A Picture Paints a Thousand Words!

Some say that this saying originated from the USA in the 1920’s, whereas others say it is an adaptation of an ancient Chinese proverb “A picture paints 10,000 words”. No matter where the saying came from, it is very useful to remember when learning something new, especially a language.

Look at a simple picture and describe it with one English word. Try not to think of it in your native language. Just look at the picture and say the main feature.

Red Apple

OK, you probably used a noun and said ‘apple’, or at least I hope you did.

This is great if you are a beginner, but now let’s take it to the next level, with two words.

I am guessing you would use an adjective and a noun such as ‘red apple’.

The next levels may be ‘sliced red apple’, then ‘sliced red apple with a green leaf’, ‘ evenly sliced red apple with a green leaf’ and so on, depending on how far you want to run with it.

If you are really ambitious, you could aim for a thousand words, and post it in the comments box.

The point is, that as you build the picture in your mind, you also build your vocabulary associated with the picture, so that next time you see an apple, you think ‘apple’ and not the word in your native language. This is also true for the other elements of the picture, such as ‘red’, ‘sliced’, ‘leaf’ etc.


Guard BearNow try the same principle with this picture:


‘brown bear’

‘toy brown bear’

‘toy brown bear with a jacket’

‘toy brown bear with a red jacket’, and so on.

Each time you look at the picture, try to find something new to add. You may not remember everything, but you will remember some of it.

This is a great technique that you can use yourself or with your children. Remember, there is no age too young, or too old to start learning new things.

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