WHAT DO YOUR FLIMBIES SAY ABOUT THAT?

 “A bebble from the next torplet came up to the fence around their hucklid and pabt, ‘This is a very swilish tublem’… What do your flimbies say about that?”

2944376209_6eccb4f6d2_b

They smile at you, you smile back. For now, a smile is the only thing you can understand, while all the rest is just a mishmash of sounds that make no sense to you at all. Then you hear a word that sounds familiar. Joy. You get another piece of the puzzle.

When we are exposed to a completely foreign language, we have little choice but to resort to guessing. This is the kind of guess which is based upon what is around us, what can be seen, understood or heard. We use all our senses focusing on the context and listening to what our intuition and all verbal and non-verbal clues tell us.

(*Show the video to your students and have them guess what these people are talking about)

This kind of guessing is essential for language learning and should be encouraged in the classroom. We can employ different strategies to develop guessing skills of our learners. This could be done at the level of words and phrases, or with a focus on non-verbal clues, including facial expression, body language,  the qualities of voice, or sounds, and the context.

Here’s an activity I’ve designed for my students to practise restoring the context based on sets of verbal clues and images. It may help learners pay much closer attention to available clues and, therefore, understand the context better.

Step 1.

Ask your students the following questions:

  1. What is luck?
  2. Do you consider yourself lucky?

Encourage them to dwell on personal experience and give particular examples.

Option 1

Step 2.

Split the students into small teams and tell them they’ll listen to the story of Frane Selak, the unluckiest luckiest person in the world. Before they do that, have them guess what happened to Frane using the clues provided.

Guess what happened!

Bizarre event – travelling by train

(Write/show the clues)

Clues (verbs):

Travel, cause, jump, plunge into, kill, drown, suffer, manage, escape, swim.

Have the teams present their versions of stories, but do not confirm whether they’re right.

Step 3. 

Guess what happened!

Bizarre event – travelling by plane

(Write/show the clues)

Clues (nouns):

Engines, cabin pressure, plane, altitude, ground, door, aircraft, air, parachute, hill, haystack, injuries.

Have the teams present their versions of stories, but do not confirm whether they’re right.

Step 4. 

Guess what happened!

Bizarre event – travelling by bus

Clues:

1

selak

Have the teams present their versions of stories, but do not confirm whether they’re right.

Step 5.

Have the students watch the video and see whether they were right or wrong.

Pause the video (0:30; 1:13; 1:27) and get the students to restore the sequence of events. Here’s the Transcript.

Have a plenary session and discuss which helps better to guess the events – words or images.

 Option 2:

Alternatively, you can try a different version of this activity.

Split your students into 3 teams. Provide a set of clues of the same story to Team 1 – nouns, Team 2 – verbs, and Team 3 – images.

Clues for Team 1 –  stop, drop, lose, plummet, blow off, suck out, tumble, crash, kill, land, survive.

Clues for Team 2 – engines, cabin pressure, plane, altitude, ground, door, aircraft, air, parachute, hill, haystack, injuries

Clues for Team 3

selak2

selak3

selak4

Have the teams present their stories.

Play the video (0:30 – 1:13) and compare their stories with the original story.

Have a plenary session and discuss which helps better to guess the events – clues with verbs or nouns, or pics.

As an extension, you may try a dictogloss.

Tell the students they’re going to listen to the last part of the video (1:27 to the end). Their task is to write down the story. Say that you will not slow down the speed so they should try to jot down key words that will help them restore the text.

In 1970, his car engine burst into flames, but Frane was able to jump free before it exploded. Then three years later in 1973, the fuel pump in his new car ruptured causing another engine fire. But this time the flames were blown straight at him through the air vents, needless to say he survived this too albeit with less hair than he began with.

In 1995, he survived being hit by a bus. And in 1996, a careless truck driver forced him off the side of a mountain road. His car plunged 300 feet and exploded in a ball of flames but Frane wasn’t in it, having somehow jumped out of the window, he was found clinging to a tree, somewhere down the cliff phase.

Now Frane’s story may have ended there, as since then Frane hasn’t been involved in any other death defying incidents, however there is one last twist to this man’s incredible story.

In 2003 at the age of 72, Frane bought a lottery ticket. His first one in over 40 years, he won the jackpot, safely securing his place as the luckiest, unlucky person to ever live.

After the students have listened to the part, have them reconstruct the story in small teams. Play the part again.

See my posts IT’S ALL ABOUT TENSES: TIME TO CHOCOLATE, or DANCE-ISH, or ARE YOU TICKETY-BOO for some more ideas and guessing games and activities.

Happy teaching!

Image credit: by Liza, flickr.com, Creative Commons

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s