Musical Punctuation: Ms Parrott Investigates

Musical punctuation

Are you having trouble deciding which punctuation mark to use? This new video by students and staff from the School of Education’s Academic English course might help.

The first time we taught this course, we realised there were two talented musicians from the Elder Conservatorium studying with us—violinist Abdul Nanou and pianist Kate Andrinopoulos. One of the challenges of the course was to teach punctuation in an engaging way, and tutor Emma McEwin came up with an idea for a musical punctuation video, with each punctuation mark represented by a musical sound. Course coordinator Julia Miller, alias Ms Parrot the grammar detective, developed a script, and former University of Adelaide student Joseph Miller adapted his music from the English for Uni website to suit a violin and piano duet. Abdul and Kate worked out the best musical representation for each punctuation mark, and English for Uni’s Professor Grahamarian (aka Richard Warner from the School of Education) added gravitas as a punctuation teacher. We filmed the video at Urrbrae House at the University’s Waite campus, and a third talented Academic English student, Mary Smit, helped to film the story. Mary then drew animated pictures for each punctuation mark and edited the whole video—a huge task.

The result is  now on YouTube: It will also be linked to the English for Uni website in due course, and we hope to add more information and exercises there as soon as we can.  

We hope you will enjoy it. Please feel free to share it with your friends and students.

Like to know more about English for Uni and the resources available? Click Here


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