🎵 helps us learn and remember

Flocabulary is a YouTube channel with educational videos set to hip-hop music. Here are a couple of examples:

Yesterday’s post was about creative writing prompts. This video helps explain the importance of the setting in a story.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley suddenly announced her resignation today. Here’s a video to learn more about what the U.N. actually does.


No, not the 007 character (links to a YouTube video of the scene in Skyfall where James Bond meets the new Q).

This Q is, according to this article in the New York Times, the Chinese version of “al dente” (used to describe still firm pasta, noodles and rice; in Japanese, the word 堅め (katame) is used, especially in ramen places). It’s used to describe the tapioca in bubble tea, for example.

In Italy, ‘Al Dente’ Is Prized. In Taiwan, It’s All About Food That’s ‘Q.’”

One part I get, but I think it’s a bad comparison:

“Q texture is to Taiwanese what umami is to Japanese and al dente is to Italians — that is, cherished and essential.”

Al dente and Q are about texture, but umami is about taste. But I guess you could argue that still firm (katame) ramen noodles may not be as “essential and cherished” across the board for ALL people in Japanese society the way Q and al dente are in Taiwanese and Italian society?

Anyway, this is a good article to read and write/talk about for people interested in food, and especially Chinese and Taiwanese food.

If you’re not interested in food or Taiwan, try reading an article about how the Q character in the 007 series is, in real life, a woman, or watch the video above and do some of the listening tasks we practiced in the spring term.

Students who’ve hit the paywall on NYT, let me know and I’ll give you a pdf.


The voice of “smileville”

When I was in high school, I was on a study abroad program in a Spanish-speaking country, and I remember watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie dubbed in Spanish. The Spanish speaking actor’s voice was considerably deeper than Schwarzenegger’s and had a very different tone, and I remember thinking how “off” it sounded.

Many of my students will be familiar with some of the characters in this video clip of a voice actor and his various roles. One project you could try is to find the Japanese voice actors for these roles (or other movies or animated series you’re interested in) and compare them. While you’re at it, compare the content, too. Are the English and Japanese very different?

Another project you could try is to find out why China apparently bans anything related to Winnie-the-Pooh…