In my last post I discussed the usefulness of puns for developing vocabulary. In this post I look at riddles as tools for language learning.
Riddles work in a similar way to puns but also encourage problem solving and lateral thinking as demonstrated by this popular riddle: What has a face and two hands but no arms or legs? As adults it’s fairly easy to solve by applying our understanding of the words ‘face’ and ‘hands’ into our knowledge of the components of an analogue clock, rather than as human body parts. We make a semantic link. But for many children this is a challenging leap into using familiar language in a new setting. Dare I suggest, the notion of an analogue clock is one that is less familiar to many of our children than once it was; making this riddle particularly tricky.