Sunday, March 18, 2007

Could you spell that please?

This afternoon I had one of those moments where a student says something totally unrecognizable.

All the other students heard it and laughed while I just stood there dazed and confused.

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone says something (a phrase or a single word) and you can't make out what they're saying no matter how many times they repeat it for you?

I was eliciting vocabulary used to describe places. We looked at various photos and the students had to discuss what they thought life might be like in those places. In response to a photograph taken in Heidelberg Germany this particular student (a Malaysian of Chinese descent) said "wahKA".

I must have asked her to repeat it four times without coming even the slightest bit closer to what she was saying. By this time I had blocked out all the other students and had absolutely no concern for embarrassing that student. I was on a mission. I HAD TO KNOW WHAT THE **** SHE WAS SAYING!!!

So, I said to her "could you spell what you are saying?"

She replied, "W-O-R-L-D C-U-P"

Boy did I feel the fool. Of course, Germany= World Cup! I mean what was I thinking???? Of course. I ask you "what do you think life is like in Heidelberg Germany?" Of course you should respond "World Cup".

I mean it doesn't matter if the world cup isn't always played there. You're a teenager and all you think of when you hear the word Germany is World Cup!

And, why should you bother giving me a clue by saying "they play the world cup there"? Just leave me standing in the middle of the room where everyone else can understand your accent. Just leave me out there on my own to figure it out with no context whatsoever!!!!!
Speak in complete sentences, PLEASE!!!

I should have known maybe. I'm teaching people who pronounce the word "food" the way the word "foot" is pronounced. Everything is clipped, shortened, cut off. They even do this with their own names. Everyone seems to use nicknames.

I should have known. Or maybe I am just moving on in my heart. I'm due to move to a new country now and maybe I'm just eager to be in tune with their accent now. Yes, that must be it.

Do forgive me, Class. I'm trying my best to hang in there.

But really, next time...some context would help. Otherwise, Spell it, PLEASE!

On a lighter note :-) I thought you might get a kick out of this Berlitz commercial

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