Bliss in South Korean High School

The US teacher John Rupprecht has kindly shared his inspiring experiences of using Blissymbolics to facilitate English language studies for high school students in South Korea. John writes: "... the ability to form limitless combinations to express any concept is what makes Bliss stand head and shoulders above the picture-based systems...". Please read more from his experiences and look at the great and in som cases  innovative eamples of Bliss use that he's shared with us.

More quotes from John Rupprecht:

"Greetings. I'm an American English teacher employed at a Korean high
school and have been experimenting with using Blissymbolics to teach
basic grammar concepts and liven up reading. I find that students are
very eager to puzzle out the meaning of Bliss sentences, and they are
able to remember these sentences with more clarity. I really appreciate
your efforts with the website. I would find it very useful if there were
a definition available for each word/picture that detailed the separate
symbols present in combined symbols. For example, if under the entry for
'babysitter' the three combined concepts of 'person', 'protect' and
'baby' were simply listed. Under 'violin' it would be very informative to
see the words 'instrument', 'bow and string' and 'soprano'. I believe
this would really speed up and aid learning for people using BlissOnline.
Without these etymology aids it is very difficult to understand some
symbols. Thank you for your consideration!"

(Thanks for the suggestions for the website, which we fully agree with and will be working on!) ... more from John:

"You are most welcome to use any part of that message and this one on your website.

I learned about Blissymbolics while listening to this Radiolab podcast about Charles Bliss:
The reason it struck such a chord with me is that I had tried using icons to represent words before in lessons with middle school students.

At the time I was teaching very simple constructions so I used Zlango. (Do a google image search of "Zlango" if you've never heard of it.) Zlango was pretty limited so I only used it for a lesson or two.

The icons really grabbed their attention and they had fun figuring out sentences. They were never nearly that interested in translating Korean to English!

With high school students last year I began using Bliss because I had a hypothesis that relating the English word with the visualized concept (Bliss symbol) rather than just the Korean word for the concept might somehow create a more robust network of connections in their brains. I have no proof that this was the effect.

Another hypothesis is that there might be less interference from the Korean grammar engine in their brains if they are not shown sentences in Hangeul to begin with. Anyhow, like before, the job of puzzling out meaning from symbols seemed to be fun for them.

Another strength of Blissymbolics is that students can see the exact meaning of words, so words that can cause confusion, such as relative pronouns (a very alien concept for Korean speakers), become easy to understand. For example, in the sentence below "who" and "when" must be understood from context and not confused for question words.

Aimee Mullins is an American woman who lost her legs when she was a baby.

I'll attach a .ppt with a sample of how I used Bliss symbols for a reading section from their textbook. The reading was based on a TED talk given by Aimee Mullins. I was pretty new to Bliss when I put it together, so there may be some mistakes.

I hope this finds you well,   /  John"

Here are links to John's powerpoint file: Aimee Mullins Blissymbolics.ppt
... and two PDF files:
Bliss Departures Lesson 08.pdf ,
and don't miss out the very interesting and creative use of the thing indicator with possessive pronouns in:
Bliss Departures Lesson 18.pdf
Thanks again to John Rupprecht, and enjoy!


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