Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Finals for the Students

So today I wrapped up giving my students final examinations, which in their case was an oral presentation.

I have to say, in the last class today, one group of students did something that I couldn't help but laugh at.

First let me explain a phenomenon that is extremely common here in China that is fairly rare in the US. Quite often here you will see a group of girls, 2 or 3, walking along or in class holding hands or arm-in-arm. And we're not talking 7-year olds. We're talking girls as old as 25, 26 years old doing this. Anyways, you get used to it, and here, it's actually kind of endearing.

Anyhow, during this one presentation, there were a group of 4 girls. They were standing up doing their presentation and there was a pair on each side. Each pair of girls was holding hands throughout the entire dialogue, and it just reminded me of the Xmas episode of Futurama. They visit Robot Santa's workshop on Neptune and all the Neptunian elves there always are in pairs, doing everything while holding hands. After reading what I just typed it no longer seems funny, but if you've seen that episode, you know what I'm talking about, and it seemed funny at the time.

(By the way mom, I'm not being lazy and not typing Christmas, in Futurama, in the future, everyone calls it Xmas, pronounced "exmas", and that Christmas is an archaic pronunciation, kind of like "ask you a question" instead of "aks you a question")

Another thing I thought was funny is one group did a presentation on England and they said the food there was very good, which is funny considering everyone always talks about how awful the food is in England.

Finally, in another class, they also did a presentation on England, and while listing cultural activities that British people enjoy mentioned "watching opera." However, and I'm not trying to be mean, but with her pronunciation, the way she said it sounded like "watching Oprah."

I'm not making fun of these kids, as most of them are making a genuine effort, and learning a foreign language is definitely not easy. It's just the mistakes are sometimes a bit funny, and if you can't laugh at life, what fun is there? :)


  1. Just try not to point and laugh TJ.


  2. Steven beat me to it!
    That is interesting how they chose England when u mentioned u wanted them to pick a "city"....
    Just remember they are probably trying not to laugh at your Chinese pronunciations...
    Love ya,

    (PS: U are forgiven for not typing out Christmas...just don't make it a habit!) HA!

  3. TJ,
    Loving the updates. When I first went to Taiwan, I could not get over the girls doing that. I had to ask my friend "uh are they lovers". He explained the situation to me. Afterwords, I also found the act endearing. Surprised they did that during the presentation. Cool that it generated a Futurama reference. Sounds like everything is going well. Hope it continues that way. Later.