Striking While the Iron’s Hot

I’ve often scribbled down ideas for songs, compositions and other creations, only to leave them languishing for years, possibly never to be finished.  About seven years ago I decided that I would try to actually finish the things that I started when inspiration strikes, since I wanted to capture the experiences behind the inspiration before they disappeared.  The result was many of the songs on my current album On the Rocks, as well as many other creations.

Having recently come back from Japan, I was full of memories and feelings that I wanted to process through song, text and imagery.  I have gone some way towards that goal, but find that I’m about to travel again without having finished processing my Japan memories.  I have a tight deadline, as my next trip, while it is only to Sydney, will again overwhelm me due to the intense experience that is being part of an intervarsity choral festival.  I don’t want to lose the Japan experience from my mind so soon.

On the other hand, if there is a creation that has been stalled, I can easily start it again when a matching mood hits me.  The meanings and stories may change but the mood remains the same.  Let’s see what happens when I return from my next trip.

Language and comic book stuff is moving

Language and comic book stuff is moving

To make my blogs more focussed I’ve created a separate one for my language learning comic.  The Sandra Bogerd one will be largely restricted to my music projects.  It’s a bit of a blurred line though, as my comic book project involves writing and recording songs as well as creating the comic book.  The main reason for the division is so I don’t clutter up this blog with quantitative linguistics and the like.

A New Beginning

Not actually a New Year’s Resolution, but with the determination that comes with a new year, I’ve decided to try to post to my blog on a regular basis.  I still need to sort out my on-line plan, but one thing I learnt first-hand last year was that putting things off until they’re perfect often means that you are too late – sometimes with sad consequences.

It’s late in Melbourne, but at least I’ve made a start.

New thoughts on my language comic books

The premise of my language comic books is that:

  • Images improve retention
  • Repetition improves retention
  • There is a lot of common vocabulary that can be exploited between source and target language
  • Achieve maximum bang per buck, by introducing words in approximate word frequency order, most frequent first
  • Engaging stories keep people reading at a higher level of language difficulty

One thing that I don’t directly exploit is how children learn and how people learn by ear and during immersion.  Research shows that children start by using a one-word sentence grammar, then move to 2-word sentences and then to more complex structures.  My experience of learning languages by ear by watching television shows also reflects that.  We pick up the common short phrases first, and it takes a while to understand the longer sentences.  Similarly, the most important predictor of readability is sentence length.  In my analysis of the text of French classics I found that the most common grammatical structure found was the single-word sentence consisting of an interjection, such as “Ah!”.  This was followed by other one to two word sentence structures.  Long sentences tend to have virtually unique structures.

I’m not sure yet how I will exploit this in my stories.  In some ways I already do, since it is easy to write dialogue such as “Silence!”, “Ah!”  and “Jacques!”.  La saga continue…