Thursday, October 27, 2011


Fashion Comic by HAIKALcium Lowfat

I want to talk about the eye and the ear, but not in the conventional way. I'm very much a visual person, it's my best learning style, therefore I too love video tutorials like And yet on occasion, I have come across learning media which could easily have gone the way of cognitive load, yet presents a kind of alternative contiguity. I'm speaking of certain podcasts that are both entertaining and educational.

I was reminded of a great little podcast I used to listen too. Each new recording was a french language lesson introducing new phrases and vocabulary words. The thing that made it so absolutely affective and charming was that it sounded as if it was recorded from a left bank café on the Seine, complete with the interspersing sound bites from voices of café patrons speaking french in the background, gently clinking wine glasses, small children addressing their parents, the 'garçon', waiter, popping a cork and pouring wine, an occasional honk from an impatient taxi cab, the motor of passing automobiles, uninhibited laughter and a purring chanteuse, well, you get the picture. And that is exactly what made this podcast so great, you could see everything though you couldn't really see anything. You could feel the atmosphere, and smell the 'Gitane' cigarettes, but not so much as to be obnoxious.

All those sound effects created a rich audio track and executed so perfectly, not over baring, not too distracting, no, not at all distracting, just loud enough. The soundtrack was mixed with just the right amount of everything to create a perfect balance of je ne sais quoi or 'I-don't-know-what', ambiance, and created this welcoming day dream. Yes, you arrive via this little French language podcast, at La Palette, and take a seat outside, in front of this 'très vivante' sidewalk café.

Now, sit back, relax, watch, listen, eavesdrop, you quickly forget your life in Peoria, Fort Worth, or Valencia, because you are now in Paris. As you forget, to begin to repeat, words, phases, uninhibited, unjudged, you are confident, and in one half of an hour, voila, you speak French! Well, not really, not by any French person's standards, but you see the possibilities, and so you will return to this podcast, again, and again. And maybe even, just perhaps, later, you will surf for a bargain, a summer reservation and a ticket to Paris where you'll sit sipping wine or Orangina, on the left bank of the Seine and once more become one with the ambiance. But for now you must prepare 'Le dîner' for your family, because they are calling out to you from the other room. They are 'tres faim', very hungry, and yet you smile, because you are 'magnifique', and you know it.

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