Illustrations for Language Learning

For ease of reference and download, I've collected all illustrations of the various projects on this page. There are three sets of illustrations

At the bottom of the page, there are a few suggestions on how to use the illustrations with native speakers or tutors.

The illustrations were done by the wonderful artists at Zipolite Studio.

Basic Communicative Functions — Beginner Stage
This set of 20 illustrations covers 80 basic communicative functions, inspired by a list published by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota. Some of the illustrations are specific to mainland South-East Asia, but most can be used for many more languages.

Basic Vocabulary — Beginner Stage
This set of 40 illustrations, 800 frames, covers basic vocabulary.

Story Telling / South-East Asia Illustrations — Intermediate / Advanced Stage
This set of 52 picture stories covers various activities and situations in daily life. Some of the stories are specific to mainland South-East Asia, but most can be used for many more languages.

Title/ID Description Download
Basic Communicative Functions
01-04 01 Greetings and leave takings (informal)
02 Greetings and leave takings (formal)
03 Introducing people to others
04 Identifying oneself to others
05-08 05 Expressing thanks for an object
06 Expressing thanks for help
07 Asking “What is this?”
08 Asking “What is he/she doing?”
09-12 09 Saying “I don’t know”
10 Saying “I don’t understand”
11 Expressing joy at another's success
12 Extending and accepting invitations
13-16 13 Apologizing
14 Indicating agreement
15 Forbidding someone to do something
16 Asking for repetition
17-20 17 Getting someone’s attention
18 Answering the phone
19 Asking for help and responding to a plea for help (1)
20 Asking for help and responding to a plea for help (2)
21-24 21 Expressings likes (1)
22 Expressings likes (2)
23 Expressings dislikes (1)
24 Expressings dislikes (2)
25-28 25 Making a suggestion
26 Asking for and expressing whether food tastes good (1)
27 Asking for and expressing whether food tastes good (2)
28 Saying "A moment please!"
29-32 29 Expressing disappointment at another's misfortune
30 Offering food or drinks and accepting such an offer
31 Offering food or drinks and declining such an offer
32 Requesting and granting permission
33-36 33 Requesting to see something
34 Expressing concern for other people's welfare
35 Offering help
36 Asking and explaining how something works
37-40 37 Saying "I want X"
38 Expressing pain
39 Asking "Do you have X?"
40 Comparing or contrasting things
41-44 41 Comparing or contrasting things
42 Expressing warmth
43 Expressing love
44 Expressing surprise
45-48 45 Making appointments for meetings
46 Saying “how do you write this?”
47 Accepting direction
48 Refusing direction
49-52 49 Expressing joy
50 Breaking appointments politely and arranging another mutually convenient time
51 Issuing a command
52 Expressing anger
53-56 53 Excusing oneself and accepting excuses for not meeting commitments
54 Requesting information
55 Remembering
56 Expressing fear
57-60 57 Indicating disagreement
58 Complimenting someone
59 Warning someone
60 Expressing hunger
61-64 61 Expressing fatigue
62 Receiving/welcoming visitors and paying visits to others
63 Expressing frustration
64 Expressing sleepiness
65-68 65 Expressing thirst
66 Calming someone down
67 Asking for directions (1)
68 Asking for directions (2)
69-72 69 Discouraging someone from pursuing a course of action
70 Expressing cold
71 Identifying items
72 Identifying people
73-76 73 Making excuses
74 Establishing guidelines and deadlines for the completion of actions
75 Consoling someone
76 Saying “Have a good trip!”
77-80 77 Expressing sorrow
78 Asking and saying whether something is correct
79 Admonishing someone / saying “Don’t do this!”
80 Lying
Basic Vocabulary
01 Chopsticks, cat, bowl, flip flops
02 To take off/put on, bottle, motorbike, TV
03 Chili, moon, sun, shoes, book, mortar & pestle
04 To stand/walk/run/sit, man/woman/boy, chair
05 Short/long, door, pig, window, tall/short
06 Sink, pen/notepad, weather, small/big, onion, garlic, bed
07 A/C, chicken, noodle soup, box/TV, to brush one's teeth
08 To listen, airplane, lime, leaf, cheap/expensive
09 Dog, to switch on/off, bridge, loud, fork
10 To order/pay, pan, to love, box, to feed
11 To light, egg, mosquito, thin/fat, train
12 To ring/wake up, pot, heavy, spoon, yes!
13 To talk, foot/knee, to sit, buffalo, phone, to follow
14 Paper, to smell, old, clock, bag
15 Rain water, to buy/sell, wind, bus, parents/kids
16 Basket, fan, coffee/sugar, to swim, hair, ice
17 To wash/dry, happy/sad/angry, road, laptop, doctor
18 Happy/sad/angry, coconut, island, roof/stairs, petrol, hand/finger
19 Taste, short/long, to pray, calendar, village/town, no
20 To pull, to sing, tree, daughter/sister, dead, blood, school
21 Elephant, beer, bathroom, thick/thin, cold/hot, lake
22 Rice, hospital, back/neck, I/you, eye, throw/catch
23 To melt, to grow, exercise, to think, to cry, brother/son, to dig, money/bank/ATM
24 Police, shop, newspaper, mat, head/nose/ear/mouth, to dance
25 Fire, picture, dirty, to build, movie, to push
26 Monk/temple, map, to laugh, to lie, tooth, to bite, phone
27 Tuk tuk, beard/to shave, shallow/deep, wet/dry, to fly, to take over, minute
28 To hang, mountain, new/old, shoulder, monk/bowl, weak/strong, hot/warm/cold
29 Waiter, to lift/to put down, ring, to learn, star/moon, to carry, needle, stairs
30 To smile/laugh, rich/poor, soldier, to get off, to fold, to draw, trash, hygiene
31 Heart/brain, skin color, farmer, half, to give, to dream, time, socks/shoes
32 Market stand, to wash oneself, to wai, loud, garlic, to dry oneself, to drive, toothpaste
33 Room, to cut, to ask, to get on, to peel, bicycle
34 Knee, ATM, salt, to stack, cold/hot water, to weigh, to unwrap, petrol station
35 Beard/to shave, drinking straw, grill, hard/soft, to pay, wheelchair, countries
36 Empty/full, to lift, nurse/doctor, night/day, plug, toilet, to play, mirror
37 To sing, to cook, bank/police, to turn, banana, to sit, to pull, wind
38 Hammock, mosquito net, to grow/fruit, fly/cockroach, to ride, to fish
39 Can, moon phases, rich/poor, fish, book, ball, to look for/find
40 Rice, gecko, fruits, cars, log/coal/gas, pillow
Story Telling / South-East Asia Illustrations
Accident A young man has an accident with his motorbike and has to stay in hospital for a few days
Airplane A tourist returns to his home country
Alms Round A grandmother and her granddaughter give food to the monks in the morning
Animals Various animals
Boats Taking a river boat, and a few other boat types
Breaking a Bowl A boy breaks a bowl while cutting vegetables; he cleans up the shards
Chili Fish Dip A basic dip, recommended by my Thai tutor
Cleaning Various situations/activities related to cleaning
Coffee and Soft Drink A father and his daughter go to a coffee shop for a coffee and a soft drink
Cold Season A school boy goes to school in the cold season
Cutting one's Finger A young man cuts his finger while cutting vegetables; he puts on a plaster
Doing the Dishes Doing the dishes in a roadside restaurant
Exercise Aerobic and a few other sports
Food Poisoning A young man eats something wrong and suffers the consequences
Fried Rice A young woman goes to eat fried rice
Fruits A woman buys papaya, and various other fruits of South-East Asia
Geography Various formations/landscape types
Getting Up A woman gets up and goes to work
Going to Bed A young man prepares to go to bed
Going to the ATM A woman goes to the ATM to withdraw money
Going to the Dentist A young man goes to see the dentist
Going to the Doctor A young man goes to see the doctor
Going to the Movies Two friends go to the movies
Grilled Fish On his way home, a young man buys a grilled fish for dinner
Haircut A woman gets a haircut
Having a Cold A young man catches a cold and has to stay at home for a few days
Hot Pot Three friends go to eat hot pot
Hotel A couple goes on a trip
Karaoke A group of friends go to sing karaoke and celebrate a birthday
Khmer New Year Various scenes related to Khmer New Year
Khmer Water Festival Various scenes related to the Khmer Water Festival
Laundry Doing the laundry
Loi Krathong Various scenes related to Loi Krathong
Making Merit Going to the temple and making merit
Mobile Phone Functionality of mobile phones (as of 2016 :))
Motorcycle Taxi A young woman is in a hurry and takes a motorcycle taxi
Night Train A man takes the night train from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur
Noodle Soup Two young men go to eat noodle soup
Overland Bus A young woman takes the overland bus
Personal Hygiene Various situations related to personal hygiene
Pickpocket A young man takes the train and gets his purse stolen
Post Office A young man goes to the post office to send a parcel and a letter
Professions Various professions
Rainy Season Various scenes related to the rainy season in South-East Asia
Rice The cycle of growing rice
School A typical school day with flag ceremony, lesson, test, lunch, exercise and homework
Shopping for a T-Shirt A young man goes to buy a T-shirt
Songkran Various scenes related to Songkran / Thai New Year
Street Snacks Various (Thai) street snacks
Taxi A young man takes a taxi to go and get a massage
Tools Various tools
Tuk Tuk Three friends go for a few beers and take a tuk tuk home

Suggestions on how to use the illustrations

Basic Communicative Functions — Beginner
Let your native speaker friend or tutor tell you what they would say in these situations (and maybe do a recording), and then practice together with role play. If applicable, get your tutor to explain the various options you have depending on gender, relative status or age, degree of formality or politeness etc.

Basic Vocabulary — Beginner
I like to do two types of recordings with native speakers: first, a very simple one or two sentence description per frame, and, in a second step, a longer question and answer format exploring 'what is it made of', 'what can you do with it', 'why is something happening', 'where is something happening', 'who is doing what' etc.

With a native speaker or tutor, a useful speaking activity is to go through the pictures and take turns asking questions: learner asks a question, tutor answers, then tutor asks a question, learner answers etc.

Story Telling / South-East Asia Illustrations — Intermediate / Advanced
I like to get long and detailed recordings from native speakers in which they talk about the story and anything else that comes to their mind when looking at the pictures.

As a speaking activity, I suggest to talk about the story together with your tutor. If possible, go first, and then let your tutor help you; take note of new or interesting words your tutor uses and discuss them together.