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December 06, 2013

Children's Books? Rules And Messiness

In my previous blog, I explored the use of children's books and how I have found them useful (and enjoyable) as language learning tools.

They are, but how does one even define...

...children's books or even children's literature?

As I mentioned before, books written for children can help language learners master the rhythms and patterns inherent (but difficult to master, or even recognize) in any given language.

It turns out that many widely recognized 'children's authors' (like Maurice Sendak and JRR Tolkein) deny writing 'children's books' but even deny that there is such a thing as 'books written for children'.

There are certainly books children of different ages like and appreciate, but I've always thought that what we call children's books are really geared towards the interests and values of adults (particularly parents).

Here's a short article which outlines some of the ways Maurice Sendak and JRR Tolkein (and other 'children's writers') thinks about books suitable for children - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/12/05/j-r-r-tolkien-on-fairy-stories/.

On a related note, I thought you'd like this TED Talk on fictional languages (like Klingon, Navi and Elvish) - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/09/27/john-mcwhorter-ted-ed/.

Fictional languages, like children's books and stories, reflect the difficult to discern nuances of language and give us vibrant examples of the essential rules - and necessary messiness of any language.

As you can guess, my philosophy is to learn from any possible source - especially the fun ones!


Posted by mmorf at December 6, 2013 12:22 PM


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