Cartoons and Foreign Language Learning

tamirci manny
I recently came across an article entitled “Handy Manny: The Pragmatic Functions of Code-Switching in the Interaction of Cartoon Characters”. I was immediately intrigued by this article since I previously thought about the learning potential of this cartoon but I couldn’t find the opportunity to examine it. Also, Handy Manny (Tamirci Manny in Turkish) is one of my favourite cartoons (Okay… I admit that I still watch cartoons at the age of 24).

The researchers counted the number of target words and examined the vocabulary introduced in one episode. According to the results, the episode included a great number of L2 target words, especially formulaic expressions which were greetings, questions, directives, apologies, expressions for agreeing and disagreeing, evaluating or appraisal expressions of appreciation and judgement. Children are exposed to formulaic sequences during the episode, which helps improve the children’s pragmatic competence in the target language. Most of the formulaic expressions are presented in the form of code-switching or translation from L1. Although the input may be regarded as insufficient, it is a good beginning for children who are between 3-5 years old to start learning a foreign language. Further studies that investigate the effect of the input provided in Handy Manny on childrens’ language acquisition would shed more light on whether the cartoon really contributes to language acquisition and children comprehend code-switching used in the cartoon (Gregori-Signes & Alcantud-Díaz, 2012).

Another positive aspect of Handy Manny is that it instills friendliness, kindness and cooperation in children. Therefore, I strongly recommend that parents watch Handy Manny with their children. Happy watching!

Reference:Gregori-Signes,C., & Alcantud-Díaz, M. (2012). Handy Manny: The Pragmatic Function of Code-Switching in the Interaction of Cartoon Characters. In García-Pastor, M.D (ed.) 2012. Teaching English as a Foreign Language: Proposals for the Language Classroom. Valencia: Perifèric, pp. 61-81. ISBN: 978-84-92435-47-0.


ELT Newspapers

There are always news that you can read about ELT and English language in the daily newspapers, but ELT has its own newspapers, too. If you want to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest articles, news and events in the ELT world, below are some newspapers that I read and recommend you to flick through:

1. English Language Gazette (ELgazette): At the 45th IATEFL conference, we were given a free print version of it. It includes news and articles about the recent developments, trends and research studies worldwide. If you sign up on the webpage, you can read a digital version of it. Plus, there are some downloadable resources and lesson plans.

2. Guardian-TEFL Page: This is a very useful page I visit regularly. There are news from both the UK and all around the world. Ones who sign up to TEFL update can receive free news-based English language teaching materials from the Guardian Weekly. Also, The TEFL expert is ready to answer your questions about TEFL career.

3. The TEFL Times: It is actually a blog written by various contributors from the world. It gives career advice and touches on controversial issues in ELT. They are also looking for contributors to their blog!

Regardless of your interests, I’m sure you will find something captivating to read in these resources. Happy reading!

Post-IATEFL Reflections

Many thanks to British Council, I had the privilege of attending the 45th IATEFL Conference in Brighton as a roving reporter. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest ELT events in the world. It was a very fruitful conference with a great variety of talks, symposiums, workshops and evening activities.

My favourite events of the conference:

The greatest debate that I had seen in my life with a lot of audience participation.

A very thought-provoking talk on teacher reflection and how to benefit from it effectively.

An enlightening discussion on English as a Lingua Franca and the role of English, the impact of English on minority/indigenous language.

Learning technologies and teacher identity were certainly the hottest topics of the conference. I was amazed at innovative developments of ELT in learning technologies.

I wrote 30 blog posts about this fabulous event. You can read them here.