Again an English session with my Persian friend, this time went a little better. We did maybe 40 minutes, and I had thought a bit (a minute :) before what to do, so I had a rough plan on what to cover. That really helped staying within the setting.
Again we used cups, and did some trading. After trading a full and an empty cup, I asked what had happened, and she then told me. Example: »I give you my empty cup, but then you have to give me your full cup.» … »What happened?« »First, I had a full cup, and you had an empty cup. Then you gave me your empty cup, and I gave you my full cup. Now, I have an empty cup and you have a full cup.« We did chunks of this, for example »First, I had a full cup«, until she had it, then the next chunk, and I guided her with signs, so she knew what to say. She’s not easily frustrated when playing, so I just tell her »start again :)« every time she for example says »I had full cup«, until it’s right enough.
Persian does not have articles, so they get lost all the time. I introduced a sign for “to” (eg in “I have to go”, or “I want to go”, which is btw pretty confusing :), so sometimes I don’t do all signs, and just let her talk, but throw in the signs for “to” or “a” when I’m anticipating she’ll forget them. Later at some point, she had the full cup as well as the empty one, so then she said »Now, I have two cups«, where the “have two” sounds exactly like “have to”. I’m still sneaking in meta-information from time to time (eg when I tell her that there are “there”, “their” and “they’re”), but that seems to confuse her, so I try to minimize this.
During a session, we only talk English, and I’m still deflecting her requests of translating from German to English. However, I’m often then talking about something else, and sneak the English equivalent soon after, however she doesn’t notice that and often doesn’t understand what the new word means in the context I set up for this. I guess I’ll have to get better at building context. For example she asked »What does “gleich” mean?« (which btw has some very different meanings in German), and I talked about something else, but after a minute or so told her that »I have to leave soon«.
A very obvious case of why translating can be useless is when she asked »what does “ab” mean?« “ab” can mean a lot of things (apart from Persian آب “water”), so the single word makes no sense. But I recognized that she was trying to define a time range, so I asked her about the course she is about to take next week, and asked her at what time it starts, and when it ends, and then told her, »ah, so it’s from 8am to 3 pm?«.