Tears of joy

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 😉

Seek and Ye shall find

July 5, 2012 § 6 Comments

“What I am looking for is not out there.
It is in me.”
Helen Keller

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.

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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.

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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.

The art of branching

July 2, 2012 § 8 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 😉

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