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December 19, 2003

The English BodyLine?!

A Korean TV show is taking a fresh approach to English language study. "The First Class of Republic of Korea," which airs at 11pm on a weeknight, is based around the idea of revealing the secret tricks of 'masters' of English. These include well-known actors and actresses as well as English teachers. The panelists relate stories of their, often embarrassing, experiences with English or the kinds of techniques or concepts that have helped them master the language, some without ever leaving their own country. Examples include viewing oneself as a baby who was just born in the U.S., beating a drum to get a feel for the rhythms of English, and giving English sentences a visual form by drawing a 'bodyline.'

"English has a different bodyline from our language," says teacher Moon Dahn-yol, and suggests the learner draw the bodyline with his own hands. He takes the phrase, "I have a problem," as an example and asks the learners to feel the intonation and stress of English themselves while making a shape of a gourd bottle as follows: small bulge (I)...narrow neck (have a)...large bulge(pro-)...narrow neck(-blem).

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