I’ve always been fascinated by misunderstandings. Rather than being moments of communicative failure, they can draw our attention to details of language that we have never thought about before. In other words, we can learn from them. And importantly, every misunderstanding provides us with a story to tell. This activity deals with a specific type of miscommunication – one that I refer to as a mis-image
- Language level: B1
- Learner type: Teens; Adults
- Time: 45 minutes
- Activity: Reading and listening
- Topic: Misunderstandings
- Language: Easily-confused words
- Materials: Video, images + worksheets
There is an example of a mis-image on page 8 of my OUP book ‘Images’. You can see it using the ‘Look Inside!’ feature on Amazon. It visually illustrates the difference between the semantics of “I paid the hamburger” and “I paid for the hamburger.”
The PDF download (see above) contains an language activity in which students attempt to make sense of 7 illustrations. Each illustration represents a mis-image that I have experienced myself as a teacher. After doing this, students watch my video to get the answers.
Please note that the video contains subtitles.
All of the following images were drawn by my dad (thanks dad!). For this activity, you might want to create a slideshow. In order to do this, click on the images to get the larger, full resolution versions.
Here are five more mis-images. Perhaps you could ask your students to try to make sense of them. Perhaps you could leave their ideas in a comment below. Perhaps there will be a prize for the best answers. Who knows!