Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pronunciation mnemonics that stick!

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
Mnemonics have great potential in enabling memory and learning--and even pronunciation. Such strategies often involve very complex (and engaging) created visual and auditory mini-narratives to anchor vocabulary, etc. For example, in learning Japanese (Chinese) characters, I found one such method very useful. Linked here is a clever, highly visual-auditory (and Western pop culture centered!) system posted on the blog, CountryoftheBlind, for learning Chinese pronunciation and characters. Here is the concluding sentence to that very long and detailed post: "The lobby (2nd tone) of the Keio Plaza hotel (-ao) has inexplicably been converted into a rice field (田). Strange seedlings sprout and rapidly grow to a great height, developing large flowers (艹). Each flower blooms to reveal a figure of Marilyn Monroe (mi-). It's important to visualize this, like a movie, rather than just read the words. This image will stick with you, and it contains all the basic facts about 苗." What fun! Notice the penultimate metaphor. The visual-spatial-movement-textural set of predicates there (verbs), framed as a video-like narrative, might indeed help the pronunciation . . . stick!

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