Category Archives: Linguistics

David Carter: Comprehensible Input – how to teach languages

David Carter, whose Latin textbooks we use at Chigwell, spoke clearly and engagingly to the WP about his ideas on language acquisition and language teaching, in particular the theories of Stephen Krashen (video). This philosophy revolves around the idea of ‘comprehensible input’ – that the (only) way the brain learns languages properly is by receiving messages which it understands. Mr Porter, in an exciting 5-minute lesson segment, demonstrated this very clearly with Russian, and David himself explained how he used this in his Latin textbooks – providing interlinear translations for the students to read aloud.


linguae novae!

Mr Lord and Mr Coppell got the IIIrd and IVth form WP to devise, in groups, a new language, or, rather, enough of a new language to translate the English “The yellow shepherd saved his master’s sheep from the yellow grandmother’s teeth. Hooray! Let’s party!”. They were asked to try and:

  • use sounds which weren’t part of English, e.g. clicks
  • think about how to express grammatical relationships in different ways
  • make their language sound interesting.

Mr Coppell has judged the attempts, and the winners will be announced in an assembly.


Miss Barrs treated the iiiiv WP to a presentation and discussion on the extent to which people shouldn’t be allowed to use taboo words and concepts, particularly with reference to the stage. Provovative and stimulating.

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