Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The stuff we say

For my linguistics class, we're supposed to keep a "language journal." We have to make at least three entries describing something we notice about language. Since the course is for people who want to be certified to teach ESL (English as a Second Language), I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for things I hear myself say in the classroom. Most of my kids are bilingual, and I'm sure there are things that I say that they just don't get. (I know for a fact that my occasional sarcastic remark flies over their heads, unnoticed and unappreciated.) I'm also listening for things my kids say - always a source of entertainment.

I'm not sure what I'm going to write yet, but here are some things I've come up with so far.

~ The other day, one of my girls was walking super sloooow. I said to her, "C'mon, honey, pick up the pace!" She stopped and looked at the floor. She was trying to find the "pace" that I told her to "pick up." Mighty literal, n'est pas?

~ My kids are constantly misusing the word "been." I'll say, "Okay, 5 more minutes to finish up your journal." Someone will reply, "Miss M, I been did that." At which point, I bang my head against the nearest wall until one of my more gifted students corrects, "You mean, you already finished!" I swear, I hear it 7 or 8 times a day. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

~ This one is not from the classroom, but still good. I asked my mom how many pierogies were left, and she said, "Quite a few." I got to thinking about how "quite a few" and "quite a lot" mean the same thing. However, when you take away "quite," "a few" and "a lot" are opposites. That must be so confusing for kids who are trying to learn English.

~ My father's new pet peeve is people who say "Ima" instead of "I'm going to." Like, "Ima watch the game with my cousins." Doesn't bother me as much, but I can see how it would be confusing to kids. It turns a three word phrase into a three letter word. It don't make no sense. (And that's a whole 'nother grammar problem. Dude, I'm on a roll!)

So now it's your turn to share. What bothers you about the English language? What do your kids or students (or less educated friends) say that is completely grammatically incorrect?

1 comment:

Pigs said...

I have two. One: for some reason (just this year, never heard this before) some of my ESL kids say, "it's that" before they start a sentence. "It's that I need to find a pencil." I dunno. Can't figure it out. Also...in Texas, kids say, "All of the sudden." Again, I can't explain it.