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promoting overextensions and telegraphic language 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post promoting overextensions and telegraphic language
I'm working with some JHS students and trying to get them to use more overextensions and more telegraphic language.

overextensions - using one word to cover a larger meaning than its actual meaning. Using 'car' to mean truck, bus, motorcycle ... Using shoe to mean foot, sock, boot ... This is a phenomenon of young children learning their first language

telegraphic language is another young learner phenomenon of combining several known concepts to have larger meaning, although grammatically incorrect. 'Mike' + 'go away' = 'Mike go away' to mean 'Mike has already left.' Basically language experimentation.

I have been doing it with explanation of images and image sequences. I try to get them to express anything (tell me about the pictures) without giving up and using Japanese. The pictures contain actions or objects that I know to be difficult for them to express within their current language. I guide them and help them to try to explain using the language they already know, even though that wouldn't be the 'correct' way to explain the situation.

It has been slow and difficult. It seems very difficult to get them to 'regress' in their language production to the concepts of overextensions and telegraphing.

Does anyone have any experience with this or success stories to share?

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:46 am
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Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:51 pm
Posts: 28
It's an interesting post. I've just started with my kindergarten students on an exercise which might be a similar notion to what you describe.
I thought it might be useful to encourage them with their vocabulary but with some kids I noticed I could take it a little further with (very) basic descriptions. I have a kids story, Mr Happy, which I told to them in one lesson. The format of my book is in big A4 loose pictures so for their next lesson the idea was to see if they remembered the order of pictures, what came next etc. But with some classes I tried to be as deliberately obtuse as possible to encourage them to tell me what they thought was on the picture, or, as the pictures were on the floor, what they could see in the picture.
It actually worked incredibly well and I was surprised at the way they tried to use the (very limited ) vocab they had to express an idea.
For example, Mr Happy has a big smile, those words they knew. However Mr Sad has a very unhappy face and when they were trying to direct me to that picture some were using the words, "no happy, big sad".
I think this is something to be worked with to develop speaking confidence, as the more they realise they can be understood with what language they have the more they are encouraged to play with the words rather than stick to the sentence formulas they get taught.

Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:44 pm
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