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Normally, eLearning is described as a form of learning that is available "anytime, anywhere learning". However, the learner needs a computer and internet connection to access the learning materials. With the introduction of Mobile-Learning (m-Learning) these barriers have been overcome partly. All a learner needs is a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a smart phone and a wireless network to access the learning materials anywhere and anytime. Essentially, m-learning is an aggregation of existing, established technologies - eLearning, PDA's, Smart phones, wireless networks, and cellular communication. The infrastructure and tools are in place for m-learning...content creation and social uptake are the next two hurdles.
Manufacturers are producing frequently new cell phone models each year, adding new technology for instant Web searches, mapping, and wallet-free payments.
M-Learning is churning the learning-and-performance field like a great tsunami hovering high above, a dark blue wave threatening everything that has come before. As those on the shore-trainers, instructional designers, performance consultants-run furiously in all directions, everybody wants to know:
Can this e-learning stuff work?
2. For what uses is m-learning most appropriate?
3. Will m-learning replace traditional learning approaches?
4. How can m-learning be designed to be effective?
How will this affect the social change of Learning
This language (Nikodimos 1987:22) is spoken only on the western lowlands of Eritrea in the Gash-Setit province (the present Gash-Barka province). The Kunama call their language Kunama Awra 'Kunama speech or talk' or Kunama Ñela 'Kunama tongue'. According to the dialect survey carried out by the National Curriculum of Eritrea in 1997, Kunama has the highest number of dialects in the country; these are Kunama Marda, Kunama Barka, Kunama Tika, Kunama Sokodasa, Ilit, Bitama, Kunama Taguda, and Kunama Aymasa.
Many European missionaries began to make their way to the Kunama territory starting from the 18th century and many of them collected linguistic as well as historical and anthropological data. They also introduced their religions and modern education though nearly none of the aspects of the language has linguistically been studied nor significant language development has been achieved. For example, even though the language has been written in Latin-Letter script, used as a media of primary schools and evangelization and for radio broadcasts since the last two decades, no grammar book and dictionary have been produced to be referred and approach formal language communication systematically. As a result, instead of progressing towards standardization and development, there have been different transcriptions and competing orthographies in printing Kunama.
On the other hand, as the main aim of the missionaries was to expand their religion through this language, their effort in studying morphemes of the language to choose orthography, and introduction of modern education alongside their religion could not be undermined. As far as native speakers of the language are concerned, very few educators who joined universities of Ethiopia have written on various aspects of the Kunama language for their Fourth Year Senior Essays. Among them, works of Nikodimos Idris who described the Sentence Structure of Kunama in 1987 can best be referred in studying the language. Furthermore, my own articles which are written beginning the late 1990s such as The Intelligibility Study between Kunama Dialects, Kunama Word Classes, Assimilation of Kunama Loan-words, Observations on Kunama Tone, and Kunama Orthography Test are among studies conducted by the native speakers of the language.
1.2 The Study
1.2.1 Importance of the Study
Formerly technology was believed to change the way we learn.Formerly in the mid of 1980s the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front and from the early 1990s the Provisional Government of Eritrea, very important and encouraging steps have been taken in adopting mother tongue education policy. They developed curriculum of mother tongue in each language of the country to teach in primary schools. However, even though the policy is believed to promote language development in addition to simplifying the teaching learning process, the problem stated in 1.1 above affected the outcome of the policy resulting from lack of reference materials previously written in the local languages. Neither dictionaries nor properly studied and printed grammar books exist in almost all the languages. Kunama language, for example, is a tone language, contains both short as well as long vowels and consonants which should be reflected in the writing in order to approximate the spoken language though neither tone nor long vowels had been written let alone to produce dictionary and grammar books to be referred. Therefore, the study has the following specific and general objectives:
Analyze how tone functions in the syntax of the language,
Study which minimum number of tones could be marked in the writing so that on one hand ambiguity of meaning might be reduced and on the other hand a tone marked but simple orthography can be adopted, and
As this study requests visiting dialects of the language through a field work, the Ethiopian Kunama which is not yet studied to verify whether it relates to any of the seven Eritrean dialects or an independent dialect/s can get the right linguistic status.
Both Eritrea and Ethiopia have adopted a mother tongue education policy in primary schools though the Ethiopian Kunama has not yet utilized this opportunities due to various reasons one of which is lack of linguistic basis needed for curriculum design. Accordingly, this study is believed to pave the way for designing Kunama curriculum in Ethiopia.
What is more, it is hoped this study will contribute to the linguistic development of the university to which research report might be submitted.
1.2.2 Scope of the study
The study devotes mainly to two aspects of the language; namely detailed study of tones of the language and how tone functions in the grammar of the language. The former develops the previous own preliminary study in order to investigate whether all the existing type and number of tones have been identified and the latter is intended to study how the identified tones work in the grammar of the language and which minimum number could be marked in orthography so that ambiguity might be minimized if not totally avoided. Furthermore, as a continuation of my previous dialect study in Eritrea, the Ethiopian Kunama could also be studied to find out its level of intelligibility with the Eritrean dialects.
1.2.3 Sources of the study
This study employs three main sources of data: past studies of the language (mainly by the writer), various textbooks of linguistics, interview with speakers of the language, and questionnaires to the concerned/sample target groups of the language. These sources, however, are not taken as models to be followed strictly, but rather as means that can help to alert the writer about what to look for.
1.2.4 Duration of the study
It is believed that this study will take a maximum of three years as described in the following table:
Taking methodology course in accordance with the university program,
Outlining the research proposal and writing 2-3 chapters for approval by the university
Preparing and refining research questions
Visiting different communities where the language is spoken and piloting the tools in sample sites,
Improving the research tools based on the pilot findings
Collecting data through the tools designed in year one
Analysing, interpreting, and writing for presentation
Presenting/defending the findings,
Taking the necessary corrections based on the comments given at presentation,
And publishing the final dissertation
1.2.5 Cost of the study
I suppose this study to take a maximum of 3 years as described above. The main cost areas needed to be funded are accommodation, tuition, equipment/books/stationary, and travel expenses and are estimated to cost as follows:
Accommodation (52wks x £120)
Equipment, books, and stationary
Travel in the UK and field work to Africa
£20/week x 52wks = £1040
Return ticket 450.00 Plus 44weeks x £10 = £890
£20/week x 52wks = £1040
2. Personal Statement
Several reasons can be stated why I believe I am particularly qualified to do the research. As already has been discussed in the previous sections, I have been studying the language for more than ten years. Findings of Kunama Dialect Survey which was intended to asses and determine the degree of mutual intelligibility among the Kunama dialects, for example, is one of the best contributions made to the speakers of the language in the sense that a standard dialect was identified for every official communication in schools, radio station, and religious institutions. Similarly, even though many writers had mentioned the existence of tone in the language, no one has ventured to identify what tones and how many of them the language has. Hence, I identified Kunama tones and introduced for the first time to mark in their orthography and primary school materials from grade one up to five have been produced with this tone marked orthography. Furthermore, long vowels of the language had not been written and introduced in 2004 for the first time together with the tones mentioned earlier.
In general, as I'm a native speaker of the language with MA in linguistics and research experience of more than ten years, I believe I would produce very crucial research findings at minimum cost since no translator or interpreter might be needed to communicate with sample interviewees. And also I have access to Eritrea and Ethiopia either directly or indirectly through other researchers (in Eritrea for example) which would simplify some comparative studies between Kunama languages spoken in the two countries.
2005 Kunama dialects and morphology. Journal of Eritrean Studies, 4, 28-44.
1999 Prerequisites for Kunama/English dictionary. (A dissertation submitted to the University of SOAS)
1998 Writing Kunama. The Ministry of Education, Asmara.
Asfaha, Y. M.
2009 Literacy acquisition in multilingual Eritrea: A comparative study of reading across languages scripts. Aksant Academic Publishers, Amsterdam.
1987 Sentence structure of Kunama. A senior essay submitted to the University of Addis Ababa.