Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How do you pronounce Antarctica?

I bought a memory foam pillow for $300NT today. Yep, that's only $10 and change in the US. I also had tuna and salmon sashimi and miso soup for a late lunch. Only $90NT — less than $3 — for lunch!

I love Asia.

I am on a huge pronunciation battle in my classes. I have several pet peeves, but there are a few that really stick out.

-When the kids here are spelling they say "un" instead of "in" for the letter N.

Me: Spell country
Kid: C-O-U-UN-T-R-Y

I've been fighting this particular battle for a couple of weeks in my big red book class at Dar-Nan. It's actually starting to stick. They have figured out that I won't count the word as correctly spelled unless they say "in."

-Oh "L!" These kids say "ello." I'll say "el" over and over again and they still hear it as "ello."

Me: Spell cold

I always think they're spelling cold "c-o-l-o-d."

I've gotten to the point where I make them watch my mouth when I say it. And I make them slow down, that seems to be a big part of it.

The last big thing has come up this week in two of my QAs.

Yesterday: "How many semesters are there in a school year? What are they?"
The answer is where we have issues: "There are two semesters in a school year. They're the Fall semester and the Spring semester."

Today: "How many continents are there in the world? What are they?"
The answer (again where the issue is): "There are seven continents in the world. They are Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Antarctica."

Honestly, today's QA is a world of trouble because the kid have difficulty with "continents" and the names of all the continents, especially "Asia," "Europe," and "Antarctica."

My problem — one that I really think most other teachers don't even notice, especially co-teachers — is the "there are" vs. "they are" problem. Kids go one way or the other, but they always want to pronounce them they same, either "there are" for both or "they are" for both.

Some say I'm waging a war on a lost cause — apparently they believe that it's pretty much impossible to get them to say "in," "el," "there" and "they."

I say you have to at least try. It's kind of why I'm here. My whole purpose, if absolutely nothing else, is to have these kids get the pronunciation.

The co-teachers teach the grammar most of the time they teach them spelling. I'll correct grammar and spelling when the kids are speaking, but I didn't teach it to them in the first place. I'm am here solely as a live body to pronounce a word and then listen to each child say it so I can make sure they're saying it right.

It gets a little redundant. It's also a little funny given that I'm from the South.

Luckily, I've spoken so fast my whole life that I haven't had much time for an accent. Now and then it will slip out — and it's hilarious when the kids repeat it. But the worst that ever happens is that I say "y'all."

Man, I love that word. Of course the kids just plain don't even recognize it as a word. They have no idea what "y'all" means and just look at me blankly as if I had Turrets or something.

I doubt that I will leave a bunch of Asian children saying "y'all" in my wake, though it would be kind of funny.


  1. i forgot to tell you when i saw you a minute ago, but vivian came up to me after class today and said "megan, sister where?" and i said "your sister?" and she said "no, you sister, jimmie" and i said "oh, she's my friend" she said "jimmie today no" and i said "yep she isn't coming to our class anymore" and she said "oh".

  2. Oh man great blog today Jimmie. Had me rolling!