Gazette number 3 goes out tomorrow – very different from the first two as it’s all about language learning. The first text, A Writhing Mass (2915 words), was originally published in the creative non fiction section of Spilling Ink Review. It’s an account of my attempt to learn Burmese. (I still have hopes of achieving that but it seemed a bit odd to study Burmese in Mayotte, so I’ve started Shimaoré instead. Not that I’ve got very far with that either). Then there are three short stories in both English and French: The Case of the Missing Guide (1895 words), Believe in Yourself (1972 words) and Shopping with Sally (1783 words). These were written for French learners of English, but to a certain extent it should work the other way round as well. The idea was to take a selection of useful words in English (i.e. those which occur frequently) and incorporate them in a story. So in each story there are 80 target words, which originally were presented with translations and pictures as well as in the context of a sentence. On top of that the words are recycled from one story to another, thus increasing the chance of them being learnt.
This is an ongoing project, with 20 stories planned and only five done so far. Making up the stories isn’t so difficult – what’s harder is to include not just the target words but the words from previous stories to recycle. Still, maybe it’ll get finished one day. If anyone wants to participate in this project, give a shout! Or if you want to know more about the research behind it, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page.
There’ll only be one more issue after this, at least for a while. Not that I don’t have more material in preparation, but I’ve started the third draft of Perfume Island, and that requires the sort of concentration that can only come with sustained bouts of work. Sincere thanks to my subscribers!