Monday, October 17, 2005

Student Stories

The things my students say, intentionally or not, are too painfully hilarious to not pass on. Yesterday I was doing a lesson on talking about travel plans. We had an activity where you picked a card with a famous landmark on it, then said what your plans were when visiting that city. The other person had to guess what city it was you were in. So she picks the last card, looks at it long and hard, then turns it my way and says,
"Is this the uhhhh uhhhh effel tower or Tokyo Tower?"
I reply, "I'm pretty sure that is the Eiffel Tower yes."
"Ok, I plan to go to the Eiffel Tower!"
" Yup, your in Paris aren't you..."

While I hate to add more fuel to the cliched fire of L R confusion, it happens so much and in such crazy ways I just can't help it. Indeed when a woman asked what I had for lunch and I said "Fried Rice" and she came right back with, "Fry lice?" it was very hard not to fall out of my chair laughing. Luckily I managed to get her pronouncing it correctly so if she ever orders in America she won't get a meal of crispy bugs. I had another student, a man this time, who just couldn't get a handle on the meaning of the world Folks. I kept saying it is simply slang for parents, but he just couldn't see it. Finally he said, "So Folks means parents... like the folks you eat with?" yikes.

If you ever wonder about our news media and Hollywood affecting people, rest assured, it does. I was talking with one of my younger students, just chatting, and asked her why she was studying English so hard. She said she wanted to travel abroad, maybe even live in an English speaking country for a while. I aksed which ones and she came back with Australia New Zealand and Canada. Being from the states I say something like " what about the US?" and she says, honest to God, "No I can't move the the US, I'll be shot!" I countered by noting that I had never in fact been shot, and didn't even know anybody who had and she looked at me in total disbelief. Yikes. Thank you nightly news. Thank you Bruckheimer. Ah yes the life of an English teacher, fighting bad pronunciation and cultural sterotypes!

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