Posts Tagged With: English

Word Crimes

Word Crimes. I love the general response to this song. For a long time, I’ve been that person who corrects everyone else’s spelling and grammar, both online and in person. Some of you may remember passing me notes in lectures only to have them returned with proofreading marks all over them. I would like it to be known that I never intended to be hurtful or imply stupidity when doing this (although it’s always tempting to write, “You can’t even [spell, use apostrophes, capitalise],” when dealing with people I don’t agree with online), but I realise now that sometimes people are offended and I come off as condescending and/or cruel. As someone who has always loved the sometimes seemingly arbitrary rules of the English language, it has taken me a long time to understand that some people just don’t get it, and just don’t care. Continue reading

Categories: Language, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fun in the sun and everything but Spanish.

Whatever I do here doesn’t really matter. Anything’s gotta be better than my last post.

Woke up this morning to an eerie mist blocking the view. Usually I can see mountains and houses and the chickens next door. Today I could see white. I’d slept in because I stayed up late last night doing my assignment, but getting up at 8 instead of 7 doesn’t really matter when you don’t have to be anywhere until 9.45. Even if it takes 25 minutes to walk to where you have to be.

I was going to bike to school for the first time, but I couldn’t find the helmet. Cool kids wear lids, and I’m cool enough to not want to ride without a helmet, so I walked. Nit, as always, wanted me to play with her before I left, but I wanted to get to school early to ask about the assignment I’m working on, which is going disastrously.

The whole assignment is supposed to be 750 – 1000 words. There are 7 pages of analysis, plus a lexical set list. I finished the first page of analysis and had 424 words. Uh-oh. Definitely over analysing. I asked Kate and Simon, the others on my course, and they both said they were struggling to get enough words. Double uh-oh. I asked my tutor, Penny, and she said I must be over analysing. Ok, so I showed her what I’d done. Her response to each section:

“That doesn’t look like too much; that looks fine; that’s about right; no, that’s fine.”


We chatted a little more and she suggested I just try to cut out some of my examples, so that’s what I’ll do. However, if I get graded down for not having enough examples, I will get growly.

Most of today was revision for me, going over learning styles – something I’ve done a hundred times at school, and half a million times in Guide trainings, so it was pretty cruisy. And today’s lesson wasn’t assessed so I didn’t have to do the bajillions of paperwork. Hooray!

By midday the mist had burnt off, and it was a gorgeous day! After school, there were people everywhere in all the little squares around town, chatting and playing, or watching the kids play. I went to the Mercadona near school to get some more bread – the supermarket in Canovelles doesn’t have grain bread – and ended up with 20 Euros worth of everything and had to get a taxi home. Well, I didn’t have to, but I did, because I didn’t like the idea of a half hour walk with a million kilos of groceries as well as my kazillion text books.

By the way, none of the numbers in my blog are exaggerated. Not one.

The sun was still shining when I got home at 7, so I played with the dogs for half an hour. Vincy used to just watch me and Nit play, but now he joins in. It’s great. The dogs think the object of the game is to get the ball that I have. There are three balls. All flat, because they have been destroyed by the dogs, but that’s no problem. I start with one. I dribble it around until Nit tackles me and runs away with it in her mouth. Then I find another one. I keep kicking it near to Nit until she decides she wants it more than the one she already has, because I’m playing with it. She drops the first ball and attacks the second one. I dribble the first one and kick it near her again, and this repeats until Vincy decides he wants to play, too, then he gets the second ball, and everyone is confused for a moment, because each of the dogs has a ball and I don’t. I find a third one (there are 4 or 5 lying around in the overgrown grass), and start playing with it, and basically we all try to get a ball that someone else has. It’s lots of fun. Vincy always gets tired first, then me, and I don’t think Nit ever tires.

Nit + ball = fun!

Other than schoolwork, there’s not a lot going on for me. Except major confusion in the language department. I guess I’m still in Korean mode ( lived there from July 2008 – November 2009), because whenever I bump into someone or someone holds a door for me or generally just anything where normally I would say ‘excuse me’ or ‘thanks,’ I bow and mumble “gamsa hamnida” or “komapsumnida” (감사합니다, 고맙슴니다). Even when I remind myself not to speak Korean, the bow is so ingrained in my habits that I can’t stop myself. Some people look at me a little strangely.

I can understand very basic Spanish, so when someone asks a question, I can generally answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’  However, what comes out is not ‘si‘ or ‘no,’ as it should be, but “ye,” “ne” or “ani” (예, 네, 아니). The first two are yes, the third is a shortened version of anio (아니오), which means no. When I try to think of Spanish, I end up thinking of Korean, which is absolutely no use, although bbang (빵) does sound similar to pan, or bread.

Sometimes, without even thinking, I come out with Finnish for absolutely no logical reason. I haven’t been in Finland since June 2006. The only connection I can think of is that I am surrounded by people speaking English with Spanish accents, which was also often the case in Finland, because there were so many Spanish Erasmus students there. Out for a drink the other night, I said “kippis!” instead of ‘cheers’ or ‘salut,’ although I did manage to stop myself before bringing out “höligenköligen,” or however you’re supposed to spell that. Whenever someone says “Bale?” I say “Kyllä!” Apparently I’m not so good at separating languages that aren’t English.

On the plus side, I haven’t tried to speak to anyone in German, yet, except Raquel’s boyfriend, Guillem, who is studying German and has a big exam coming up in a month. Every time I ask him a question in German, he puts up his hands in an “I surrender” gesture  and refuses to answer. Guess I’d better stick to the old inglés.

Categories: Animals, Guiding, Learning, Teaching, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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