Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So right, and yet so wrong

One of the perks about being a teacher is that every now and again a student manages to say something that is innocently intended, yet far fouler and stranger than anyone could ever imagine.

Here is a relatively common and harmless example:

I love eating new restaurants.

By misplacing two simple letters ("at"), the student has managed to make their appetite a whole lot larger.

This is the type of thing I would always correct. Sometimes, things get dirtier...

I've previously posted "Sensei, you go in and you go out, but do you go down?" and "Sorry for coming on your shoe." Both are cruder mistakes than the previous example, yet both can be resolved in keeping with the innocence of their intent.

For my friends and my younger students, I usually point out the mistake and explain exactly why it is (a) wrong and (b) fucking hilarious.

For some students, though, the blow to their sensibilities would be too much. Thus, if I feel that if the remark would be understood innocently by most reasonable English speakers, then I don't bother revealing the foul depths to which my evil brain can dig.

The other day, a teacher in our area received a gloriously amazing example. Baring comedic examples such as this one, I make a point of not sharing names or work news on this blog. Thus, I won't even mention where this person goes to school or who their teacher is - it's better left unsaid - but suffice to say that this person won't ever find this blog.

Anyway, here is the homework, reproduced as it was submitted.

Big Cucumber
My friend gave us big vegetables. Big cucumbers bring my father's memory with me. My father raised cucumbers which was big size.

When he was healthy, he gave us big cucumbers. I thought I didn't like them. But now I miss them.

Where do I even start?

While this is perfectly legitimate, and as I said, 95% of English speakers would totally read this innocently, I ... did not.

Then again, I'm going to hold back. I'm pretty rude, so imagine what I would do with material like this.

Use your imaginations....

A note:

日本人ともだち (j-friends)... don't worry. I know English is difficult. I know that it often doesn't make sense. Don't get frustrated.... During my first Japanese lesson, about how to buy food in the supermarket, I wanted to say "おこめはどこですか?” ("Where is the rice?") but I asked "おかまはどこですか?”"Where are the gay people?" instead.

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