I came across this article recently while looking at on-line language learning groups and resources. Apparently there is a friction between those who understand the research on language acquisition and those who believe in language lessons. If one tries to learn or memorise language, it uses a different mental process to that used for communication, and doesn’t contribute to communication skill in the language, which explains a lot about people’s frustration with language education.
One point raised in the article is that early stage language acquirers tend to focus on content words, and not absorb the surrounding function words. This agrees with the observation that it is often easier to remember concrete nouns than the words that connect them in sentences.
How does this apply to my comic book? Well, my comic book attempts to make the input as comprehensible as possible for the complete novice. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this works. It also attempts to be as engaging as possible. Having heard chuckles from students of French when reading earlier drafts, I’d say that it does achieve that goal. Also, a recent customer said the following: “BTW, my 11yo read your book and I saw him giggling”. This makes me happy, as I was advised to develop this as a children’s reading resource.
I have finally produced an extract of the comic book for people to look at. It contains 12 of the 28 pages, with images reduced to readable low resolution.
The extract contains all the text that explains the rationale for the approach, as well as showing a summary of the language covered in the first episode. There are 3 pages of the Gnomeville story in the extract. The first two show how the story begins with no prior French knowledge, and how the language is introduced. The third page shows how the text increases in complexity and length later in the story, with a very short word definition on the page, so that the person reading is not slowed down too much in their reading in French.
Note that the extract doesn’t show the true page format, as it is an ordinary A4 pdf file, whereas normally the pages are processed into book form, re-numbered appropriately and trimmed to size. The story pages are colour right to the edge of the paper in the physical copies.
Having given myself a hard deadline of Friday so it would be ready for launching at a concert of French music, it is done!
The “I Can’t Believe I’m Reading French” Comic Book Series, Episode 1: Gnomeville: Dragon!
- 28-page booklet plus audio CD containing 3 stories in comic book format, a crossword, a song and a language summary.
- Assumes no prior knowledge of French but a native or near-native English speaking background.
- Introduces 12 of the twenty most commonly occurring words in French newspapers, one new word per page of the Gnomeville story.
- Uses the words that are common to French and English to ensure that all words in the stories are familiar, such as “dragon”, “gnome”, “arrive”.
- The Fido story provides further reading practice, ensuring each target word has been read at least 5 times.
- The crossword allows you to actively use the language to increase retention
- The songs provide further practice, including pronunciation
- The narration provides pronunciation information and listening practice
- The Taxi story is a nice easy story to read after the other stories.
- The audio CD contains the stories read by a native speaker, plus two songs related to the stories.
- $20 plus postage from Melbourne Australia
- Currently only available from me directly, but stay tuned for updates.