29 August 2008

Quotations from Actual Compositions

Being an ALT means reading a lot of snippets of student's English, ranging from point-form answers on worksheets to reading long, often-convoluted essays. Now, I'm not here to make fun of broken English because I am well aware of my limitations in Japanese, but some were so sound-out-ish in bizarre or cute ways that I absolutely have to post them.

As part of a grammar exercise, all students were asked what their favourite way to relax is and why. A depressingly high amount of students chose "sleeping". This is because most of them get up at 5:30~6:00 to catch the train to school and then study until 9:00 or 10:00 at night every freaking day, but this one response is especially bleak:

Not only did he start a sentence with a capitalized "because" AFTER I TOLD THEM NOT TO, but his favourite pass time is turning off his mind. God! That's Lowbott showing his disgust, there, by the way.

Now, just after Christmas I did what every good ALT does: dedicate an entire class to "what did you do for your winter vacation?" lessons. One student wrote:

Powers, eh? This may be an example of the semantic differences between the English 'raw power' and Japanese 'energetic power', but the student obviously wasn't aware that 'powers' is pretty much reserved for high ranking corrupt politicians and superheroes. But, reading this, this is precisely what came to mind.

Finally, I've posted this before, but I think this is the best thing I've ever got from a student:

A bit hard to read my scrawled handwriting, but it says, "Hello! Today I'm going to show you a pig doll. It is very cute, isn't it? It's about 2000 yen. It's name is "Boo-chan". He is very pretty because his nose is big. [Editor's note: I guess that's why Japanese people find me so pretty]

"My grandmother gave me a pig doll in Safari Park for [sic] years ago, but there aren't any pigs in the park.

"Do you like pigs? I love pigs. Pork is delicious and pigs are a lot of fun. Thank you."


Sue said...

LOL I love your drawings Maik. Been a long time since I've seen your delightful illustrations! ;) (I still have Phantom Robot framed on my dresser.)

Is that last note really your handwriting? It looks so... elegant and girlish! I am yet again delighted by the pig doll story :D Except it looks like "pug doll" the way you wrote it here.

Michael Roellinghoff said...

Oh yeah-- the handwriting!

I forgot about phantom robot! :O

stereoheads said...

I love to eat my pets too!

Jesse said...

I love your handwriting, Mike. I was going to say that girl has unbelievably nice handwriting.

I notice that kind of thing. For example, Japanese people write their numbers a certain way...and I find French people to have really uniform handwriting. If you give me a few samples of French handwriting and American handwriting, I could probably pick out the French ones.

Michael Roellinghoff said...

I noticed that about the numbers. Since the kids use unusual stroke order for their letters so much, one time I corrected a kid on the way he wrote his Indian numerals... and then remembered this is their main system too. =/ Oups!