Sunday, April 21, 2013

once an asshole french teacher, always an asshole french teacher

may the gods forgive me, the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but i needed a laugh like this and haven't had one in a good while.

there are a few language teachers who will understand, everyone else, thanks for putting up with more private idiosyncrasies

it's kind of like... for those who teach or who took spanish... imagine, if you will, that you've just taught grammar for five years straight, and you finally get a bathroom break, and five years is a long time to have to go pee, right?  so a student, who has been with you for those five long years -- but got bathroom breaks and nap time and trips to the cafeteria, with showers and changes of clothes -- stops you as you are about to run (probably with a bit of a weird limp) to the facilities, and hands you a large cup of coffee, saying, "i never got to introduce myself during all this time... mi llama es pedro!"

and the spanish teacher dies on the spot.

okay, so that is a little over the top.  and maybe i am projecting, having had too many diet ginger ales this wild and crazy saturday night.  but youse gets my drift.  we foreign language teacher types have to find humor where we can, while not crushing the blazing ember that represents the love of learning alight in the heart of every student, even the kid watching porn in the back row.  especially not that kid's blazing ember.

you'd be amazed at the burning ember stories.  seriously.  i was about to refer a young woman to the counseling service, she was so completely weirded out by any result that was less than perfect, when her friends came to me, en masse, to beg me not to give her anything less than an A+ (which i did not give, to anyone...).  thinking she had quite the devoted posse, i inquired as to why, and was told that her father would lock her in her room for the duration of the upcoming spring break.  kinda incredulous, i set the wheels in motion to check out that strange accusation.  it was quite the revelation to learn it was true, and that she spent most of her time, outside of school hours, locked up in that room.  it was attributed to "cultural misunderstanding." cultural misunderstanding, my ass. both parents were attornies, both had been citizens for over 25 years, time enough, i think, to assimilate that one doesn't imprison one's children for failing to be perfect.  they had, i think, 5 kids.

it's a scary freaking world.

so anyway...

i was online, trying to help a student do her french homework.  she had to write a poem in french. so, of course, in the classic way, she writes it in english and translates it online with Google Translate, with disastrous results.  the following conversation ensues -- and i swear there are no dire consequences in the offing, as i went behind the scenes and sent a french woman with no "school marm" tendencies to translate the damn thing for her.

19 minutes ago

i'm a former french prof, which in no way means i don't make plenty of mistakes myself, but there is one HUGE error here.  you cannot write in english and then attempt to translate into french.  it does not, it will not, it cannot work.  there is no online translator that can do it, and no one can help you -- person-to-person, until you do the writing first in french.  i know that sounds harsh... and you may not believe me... but trust me on this.  good luck and come back with an original french version and then i would LOVE to help!

17 minutes ago

Thank you very much  I will
so there is no way to make  words that say the same thing?

15 minutes ago

there is no way to be grammatically correct by pursuing a word-for-word translation, no.  and in a poem?  absolutely not.

13 minutes ago

for example:  what gender and number are "hands" in french? 

9 minutes ago

I did not want a gender for the hands though so can you tell me how to have neutral hands?

6 minutes ago

every noun in french has gender, and anything that modifies that noun (a pronoun, an adjective) must agree as well, in gender and number. it does not mean that the gender of hands (feminine) becomes the gender of the person to whom the hands belong.

what level of french are you taking?  asking you to write a poem in french seems too advanced if you have not learned that nouns have gender...

14 minutes ago

yes that is what I am asking for help with grammar

12 minutes ago

so take my advice, start over, use your grammar knowledge as well as your dictionary (if you must, start with what you know), and write it only in french... then come back.

10 minutes ago

I will think on it... thanks

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Haddock Corporation's newest dictate: Anonymous comments are no longer allowed. It is easy enough to register and just takes a moment. We look forward to hearing from you non-bots and non-spammers!