Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No, It's "Eeeee."

I've written before, about the challenges of trying to teach English to people who don't speak English. For, example, it is very difficult for some people to understand the concept of "it" when you don't have a similar word in your native language.

Anyway, last night posed a different challenge, one I think you'll appreciate. You see, meanings and usage aren't they only things we have to deal with; pronunciation can play a big part. Last night, it played a massive role.

Before I dive into this story, though, I think you ought to know that one of my student's brings her daughter to class. The little girl is in the first grade and is usually not a problem at all.

Now, it all started when one of the women in my class asked what the things you put on your mattress are called. You know, those pieces of cloth that are usually white and go on before you put your blankets or pillows on the bed. Once, I realized what she was talking about, I answered her. "They're sheets."

Now, like any good language learner, they all started to practice saying the word out loud. "Sh_ts"

"Um, no. Sheets," I responded. "You have to be careful with this word. You really don't want to mispronounce this one. It's 'sheet' with a long 'E' like 'eeeeee'."

To which they all tried again, "Sh_t." And if that wasn't enough, these ladies who have never been anything but super polite and sweet, just had to keep repeating it. They just kept trying again and again and again, "Sh_t."

By this time, I could barely keep a straight face. Of course, all of this hullabaloo attracted the attention of the little girl who just had to join in, "Sh_t."

I lost it. The little girl is in the first grade but I know she's old enough to know better. I told her, "Now, I know that you know you shouldn't say that word. So, just don't use it." To the rest of the class, I ended up saying, "If you need to say 'sheet' and are afraid to mispronounce it, just say 'those white things like blankets.'" I didn't think I could take any more practice. I'm also so very grateful that my pastor didn't pick last night to pay a surprise visit to our class. Phew!

On another note, I bet you'll want to come back here tomorrow. Remember, I keep my promises!

Happy Scrapping!


Elizabeth said...

ROFLOL, that is way to funny, at least you are having a great time.

Chris Durnan said...

This made me giggle as my son is always pronounce things weird so I try and try and then just give him a different words. I think linens would also suffice for Sheeeeets. :-) hahaha. Cute Story. Chris

Deb C said...

They could be Sh eats (as in she eats a cookie)I don't know if this would help but it was a funny story
English is such a hard language to learn. You can't fault them for trying.(and I bet they would have been horrified if they realize what they said)