The Learning of Chinese idioms through Multimedia Storytelling
A non-Chinese native speaker walks out of her class feeling proud that she has learnt Chinese idioms today. She takes the streets, sees the first Chinese hawker stall and is determined to put her new-found knowledge to practice. The minute she completed the sentence, the lady at the stall laughed out loud and left. She knew then that she had somehow messed up the meaning. Though difficult to learn, learning and using Chinese idioms with such precision is what puts you out there as non-Chinese native speaker. With that in mind, a multimedia storytelling prototype has been developed specifically for the non-Chinese native novices to learn Chinese Idioms. Instead of learning Chinese idioms the conventional way, this multimedia prototype makes use of animation and English narration in the form of storytelling as idioms are mostly derived from Chinese histories. The presentation and usage of the Chinese dynasty timeline provide the non-native novices a clear vision of the period of the historical events and the relevance of the idioms. The prototype also allows learners to learn relevant Chinese characters, vocabulary and literal translation and the origins of the Chinese idioms in detail. What makes it user friendly and relevant are also the examples of how the Chinese idioms can be used in context – thus facilitating the usage of Chinese idioms in overall Chinese language learning and communication.