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French kids' letters to God/Americans

This morning I acted as babysitter in a class of 30 13 yo's (I'm saying yo instead of year-old, and it sounds best when pluralized) with internet access. I walked around so they'd close out of their Internet Explorer windows of whatever they weren't supposed to be looking at. There was a bit of "English teaching" involved, in that I had to help translate/correct their emails to a class in Massachusetts (they always think it's Massa-chaussettes [chaussette, being sock in French]). They wrote half in English, half in French (sometimes they switched mid-sentence, though it was supposed to be two separate letters in a letter) and I had to help with the glaringly obvious mistakes but the others go. It was so hard! There were, of course, many gems...

· "I don't like video games or les menteurs" (menteurs=liars, at least this kid's honest about what he doesn't like)
· "I like play on computer. I like Guild Wars. My record for long play is 15 hours." (I've got you beat kid, but I'm not exactly bragging about it)
· "I have 13 years", "I 13", or "I am 13 years hold" (Either they forget verbs, use French construction, or for some reason add an "h" to 'old' and other words*)
· "I like chocolate and my grandmother"
· The shortest kid in class was describing himself: "I am brown hair, with blue eyes and I am very tall"
· "I am very strong because that is important"
· One kid ended his mail with "Goodbye Melina" and it just seemed very romantic to me: like a note a soldier would write to his wife before going to war.
· These kids were constantly making fun of the American kids' bad French (and it was bad). I made an announcement to them that their English was just as bad as the Americans' French and they should lay off. They, being French, didn't care and proceeded to mock my French pronunciation.

*During my tutoring session on Thursday I worked with a student who had trouble with these words:
eat/heat (eat also sounds like the way they'd say "hit")
ate/hate
angry/hungry

Her problem is common, though. These kids often add h's when most of the time they don't pronounce them where they should appear. I re-wrote them as:
eat=it (the way they say "it" and "little" is kind of cute)
ate=ét
angry=éngri

It helped, but not much. I told her of my friend Laure at GVSU back in '01 who told me how she was so "angry" she needed to "hit" something. Later she told me she was no longer "angry" because she "hate" something. I giggled as I told the story, the student was no amused.

Comments

As I'm starting Francois in the fall, this fine post has induced a rare moment of scalation - simultaneously frightened and excited.

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