January 2, 2013 § 3 Comments
Happy new year to my friends
and happy new year to my family.
Happy new year to those I am close to
and happy new year to those I am not close to.
Happy new year to those I hope to meet this year.
Happy new year to those who I will meet this year
and happy new year to those who I will never meet.
In fact, happy new year to everyone,
and of course, happy new year to you!
December 20, 2012 § 3 Comments
The season of peace
and goodwill to humankind;
a time to rest the body
and relax the mind.
The season when
there’s a nip in the air,
when temperatures drop,
when nature battens
down the hatches
and shuts up shop.
A time to look back with fondness,
to look forward with eagerness,
to know spring will soon be here;
and I’m sure winter wishes us
a happy and enjoyable Christmas
and a successful and rewarding New Year.
July 10, 2012 § 4 Comments
So, it all started like this. Maria Alejandra Pinardi and I had been commenting on some of the lovely language plants that members of the Facebook group had made, and she said that she had been using the free resources with her daughter, and that they were really enjoying working together. I asked what her name was, it was Sofía, so I made the little plant above for her.
Here’s Maria’s response:
I´M REALLY HONORED BY THIS LOVELY PLANT! You’ve made me cry, David! thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so glad we have met! I’ll show Sofía as soon as she comes back from school! BEAUTIFUL!
Tears of joy, I hope
Yes, David, tears of joy!!! My daughter has just seen your present: she’s clapping and saying: “This is FANTASTIC!” You’ve made our day, David! Thank you!!!!!!
Well, of course, it made my day too. And the good thing is, with the plant maker, she’s started to make language plants herself, like the one below, and loving it, as Maria describes again:
She is beginning with the Present Continuous. Working and playing with plants is a great way to learn spelling and to remember the meaning of verbs. She had to write the words a million times before publishing her plant as it had to be “perfect”! Amazing practice. Thank you!!!!!
Nice plants, Sofia
Aha! hardworking student!!!!!lovely works! I love you Sofia…VIVA ARGENTINA!
well done Sofia, this is FANTASTIC!!! You are doing lots of things )
So go on, make someone’s day by clicking here. Just make sure they’ve got a tissue to hand first
July 5, 2012 § 6 Comments
“What I am looking for is not out there.
It is in me.”
Parallelism is one of my favourite words. Well, the idea of parallelism, what it signifies. Probably the two words I highlight most when I’m training teachers here in the UK are “collocation”, closely followed by “parallelism”.
It’s a feature of good writing, good rhetoric, and once you’re aware of it, you can’t help but notice it cropping up everywhere.
Not only that, in normal speech, we often repeat, rephrase and paraphrase, so here too, parallelism is very common.
Here’s an example, an extract from Martin Luther King Junior’s famous “I have a dream” speech:
“I have a dream that
every mountain shall be made low
every valley shall be exalted
the rough places shall be made plain
and the crooked places shall be made straight
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together.”
Can you see how each line follows a similar pattern? That’s parallelism.
Keep an ear out for it in speeches, or an eye out in writing, look for it in poetry especially, but also in everyday prose. Turn over a stone and you’ll find it lurking underneath, pull apart the branches and you’ll discover it hiding behind, peer up overhead and it’ll be hovering above, it’s everywhere!
And fortunately, for language learners, it’s inspiring and perfect language to study.
July 2, 2012 § 7 Comments
I had a Skype chat earlier with an Italian teacher who came across Language Garden on Facebook just a few days ago, and immediately grasped the concept. She got it, intuitively, it appealed at an emotional level, but she wanted to understand the rationale, the theory, left-brain understanding.
So for her, and anyone else who likes the colourful bendy words and somewhere inside, you feel they make sense but you can’t quite put it into words, please watch this simple, two-minute video showing a couple of things.
It’s for learners of English, how to use “for” and “since” after the present perfect. As we teachers know, it often causes confusion. This language plant is for language learners, perhaps ones you teach. Secondly, it’s a typical language plant in the sense that words branch off from different nodes so, in my eyes, it really does look like a little tree made of words.
Branching reduces the repetition of unnecessary words, not when we say them, but when we write them. So instead of a list running down the page that I find uneasy on the eye, you get a bushy plant, and you can pick and choose your route as you go. That’s really the essence of language plants. Well, the ones I make
June 25, 2012 § 13 Comments
For quite a few years, I have been the world’s leading expert, some might say the king of language plants. It wasn’t difficult, seeing as the royal household consisted solely of me, with no apparent heirs to the throne. Behind the castle walls, whilst the garden was adorned with beauty and gave me immense satisfaction, it was an existence lived in solitude.
But my! how things have changed! Like a desert land, barren and forlorn, bursting into life at the first drop of rain, the language garden is starting to flourish, and it is with immense pleasure that I remove my crown and pass it on to others, as a mark of their skill, creativity and passion.
The Language Garden Facebook group is the perfect place for language gardeners to congregate. You can post your latest work of art, step back and watch the comments flood in, gushing with praise and friendship. Here is just a small selection of their work that has really made my eyes wide with excitement over the last few days. I hope they inspire you to join in with the fun. You are most welcome.
Don’t you think these are wonderful? They’ve come from all over the world! And don’t forget, if you’d like some Free resources, you can get those too. Hope to see you soon
June 17, 2012 § 6 Comments
“If you have plans for a year, sow rice.
If you have them for a decade, plant trees.
If you have them for all your life, educate a person.”
I like it when art brushes against science, when science questions art. The two seem to go hand in hand.
Making the Spanish plant earlier today, as I pieced together the words, I was looking for rules, inquiring about structure. Here are some of the things that caught my attention, and which made me think about how I wanted to express them.
“Arroz” and “árboles” both start with “ar”, although “árboles” has an accent, which I’ve positioned high up off the “a” so it doesn’t attach to “arroz”.
“Para” and “por” are variants of each other. I don’t know what the rule is but I’ve learned the phrases as chunks; perhaps it’s based on singular or plural. It doesn’t seem to be whether it’s masculine or feminine, because “vida” and “año” both take “para”.
The imperative seems to end in “a”: “planta”, “siembra”, “educa”. I decided to share this letter, and make it big to emphasise this rule (and allow the three verbs to fit nicely into it).
The pronoun “los”, substituting for “planes” comes before the verb. You can choose one or the other of the (pro)nouns, the blue words, but not both together.
Language plants are scientific. They aim to demonstrate rules, linguistic rules.
A piece of art has no reason for being, other than to exist as itself, and give pleasure. Language plants certainly brighten up my life, and they seem to make others smile too, which I find immensely gratifying.
So whether you’re first and foremost an artist or whether you’re a scientist, please consider making a language plant with the plant maker, and popping it in the new Language Gardening facebook group for everyone to go “ooh” and “aah”, like María Inés has so kindly done. It’s her very first plant as well! A big round of applause for her, don’t you think (if you’re a scientist), or feel (if you’re an artist)?