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Oct 05 2005 - 10:39 AM
written texts, pictures, cartoons, comics, movies...
I had a conversation with Ian last night about texts, pictures, cartoons, comics and movies. Ian is fascinated about cartoons and comics. He thinks that using them is a very good way to teach kids foreign (second) languages. Ian indicated that cartoons and comics help kids learn both the foreign language and the nuances of the language (with the exaggerated facial expressions and gestures). I was pleased to hear this because it supported my eager search for comic books (e.g., Garfield) in Spanish in order to help my son learn Spanish. [Ian also made the comment about why the facial features of Japanese cartoon figures are usually simple, e.g., with big eyes, little nose, etc. He said that more people relate to the characters with simple features. These are very interesting stuff that I would like to know more of.] When comparing novels to movies, we both agreed that written words are more powerful than the images. Neither of us could easily recall a movie made out of a novel that was better than the original novel. Somehow there are lots more to imagine in a novel than in the movie version. One reason can be that one's imagination is limited by a movie, or by the movie director's or the actor's interpretation of the plot. When reading a novel, the reader can let his or her own imagination fly and interpret in the way that he or she wants to. Movies, however, constrain one's imagination by contextualizing everything into a “realâ€? thing. While writing here, I am struck by myself using the word “realâ€?. What is “realâ€?? Is “realâ€? what we can see and hear? Is our imagination, thinking, or “internal sightâ€? through reading texts not real? Personally, I love movies. Given a choice, I prefer to see a movie than to read a book. Movies are fun and easy to watch. Books are not always fun, nor easy to read, including the books that I like. Then, is reading a book (and believing that the written texts are richer than the images) simply satisfying the nostalgic feeling or a habit of mind? Is it possible that the world will only need images, numbers and gestures, and oral languages? Is it that the print and written languages have helped us build the past histories but now we only need images (pictures, cartoons, movies, simulations, and so on) to build new histories? Or is it that the written texts and images are going to merge and be integrated in the way that we really cannot tell which is text and which is image? It has already happened anyway, probably more in some languages (e.g., character-based or iconographic languages such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese) than in an alphabetic language such as English. But is this a trend? Will the images be as affordable, fast, flexible and expressive as texts? Maybe discussions on some of these questions can help us make decisions on various edlab designs, services and projects. Lin
Posted in: FYI|By: Lin Lin|1142 Reads