Fed up with your pupils muddling up words that sound the same, but are spelt differently and have different meanings? These words are called homophones and are often an area of confusion, especially when starting to learn a language.
Technically the definition is:
Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and meanings.
To help clear up some of this confusion why not get the art department involved in a little design work?
Pictograms that illustrate the differences in homophones words
Pictograms are something that we are all so familiar with in our daily lives. They are visual shortcuts in information delivery. Images that are designed to inform and instruct in a rapid and clear way that is not dependent on language, or at least not conventional language. Pictograms rely instead on a visual language. Think of all those symbols you see around airports directing us to various facilities, or the buttons on your tablet for different apps or within the app or program on your computer helping you to use it without becoming involved with written text.
A well designed pictogram should require little explanation!
When it comes to designing the pictogram it should meet the following criteria:
- Be clear and not overly complex
- Be sharp and graphic in its appearance so that it is easily viewed from a distance
- Have a boldness that allows it to be reproduced on various scales without losing quality
Sets of pictograms also have a ‘house style’, they look like they belong together even though they may be illustrating quite diverse things.
Design pairs of pictograms that illustrate clearly the differences between homophones. This could be carried out by hand with ink or paint on a piece of paper, or alternatively be set as a simple computer based design assignment.
Text would not normally be part of a pictogram, but in this case it is also important to include the pair of words underneath the design so that viewers can see and appreciate the subtle or not so subtle differences between the homophones.
Remember, each pair of pictograms should in terms of drawing and style look like they do belong together!
The resulting artworks could subsequently be reproduced and make excellent decoration for the language classrooms at school.