Saturday, September 01, 2007


No, no, this one's not about Erin McKean. The NYT has a tease this morning for tomorrow's edition, specifically an Arts & Leisure piece coming about a new PBS series called WordGirl. The premise, if I get it, may bend your brain a little, but it's kinda cool: Ordinary girl transforms into superhero who solves problems with her large vocabulary. If you dig a little, like into the Parents and Teachers link, you can see the idea expanded:
WordGirl continually saves the day with the help of her vocabulary and through her problem-solving skills.
I'm still a little nervous that this might be the "language = vocabulary" view of the world. But there are things about alliteration, onomatopoeia, synonyms and antonyms, and — crucially — Acting out verbs:
This lesson focuses on verbs through a variation on the game “Charades.” Students will learn new vocabulary (verbs) by silently acting out the meaning of the words.
Dudes, verbs are anything but silent. Trust me on this.

But my mind reels from the possibilities ... do we get expert commentary on animal communication built around the monkey (see picture)? Will she salvage the Bush legacy with flash cards to give him impressive polysyllabics flawlessly produced in news conferences? Will the evil Dr. Anti-symmetry be foiled? Is it just about English or will she have, say, a friend from Seoul so that she can talk about the glories of Korean tense obstruents? Would be a chance to talk about VOT being replaced by pitch differences as the crucial cue! Will an episode be set up for her to be able to say lexicographical?


Monica said...

WordGirl! Sounds cool. My addled memory is mostly failing me now (as it usually does these days) but back in the early 80's there was a rap (done by a female rapper) I liked that was along the lines of bragging about how many words the rapper knew, and spelling a lot of them. My favorite part was that her friends had an insult for her, "Dictionary Breath." Good one, huh.

Anonymous said...

wordgirl street fighter 2 idea

fighting style: similar to ryu's fighting stance.(in episode meat with a side of cute) kung fu style attacks

special attacks
karate chop
palm thrust
rapid chun li style kicks

she'll have a winning pose similar to chun li you know, like "ha ha ha! yatta!" but she'll say "ha ha ha! yes!"