Saturday, November 26, 2011

Learning the Language

The English language, that is. Last week I had a few funny/interesting moments when asked about English.

Cristina, a second grade teacher, called me into a debate with Miguel, a student teacher (with whom I have an English conversation class). Earlier that week, when Cristina asked Miguel "How are you?", he responded: "I'm good." She promptly corrected him, saying that "I am well" is the appropriate response. He challenged her. This is where I stepped in, and said that, though "well" is the correct usage, "good" is commonly (if not more commonly) used as a response. However, as a true student would, I just now looked up the difference, and found this interesting explanation:

I am teaching a unit on Healthy Habits to 1st and 2nd graders. I explained the difference between one tooth and many teeth, but then felt silly when I said: "We use a tooth brush and tooth paste when we brush our teeth." Luckily, no one called me out on the peculiarity of that sentence.

A friend in the university has a few qualms with the English language, including our penchant to "make up" words. He used "to google" as an example. I would argue that this occurs in every language, to some extent.

During one of my private conversation classes, I had to explain "shopping spree" to someone. It was an interesting thought process, and there is not a direct translation into Spanish. (I started with: "It is every woman's dream..." Kidding; I ended with that line).

Another idea difficult to translate? Thanksgiving. The name translates into "Día de Acción de Gracias" but the meaning is a challenge to convey well. The history isn't such a beautiful thing to explain, but the celebration into which it has evolved? I absolutely love.

I had a lovely celebration on Thursday with Jessica, a friend Alex, another American and two Spaniards. We did our best at recreating our favorite dishes, and it turned out quite well! Nothing like home, but it certainly brought a sense of comfort. I have another dinner on Sunday with a group of people from my program. Pictures will follow!

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely holiday with your families, and took time to give thanks for all the blessings, both big and small.

Un abrazo.

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