Monday, July 21, 2014

Return, new book, fossilization, denonyms and Vermonters!

First of all, I apologize for neglecting my blog for four years! I think you know that we language teachers are very busy people. Very. During the semester, I feel I'm in a tornado. I get to work, spend a few minutes clearing my desk, and WHAM! 40 new emails, have to finish grading before class starts, have to get all the grades posted in Blackboard, forgot the quizzes, start putting grades in, student pops in with a question, I'm organizing materials, need to print a handout, have all the books, time to go, DIDN'T FINISH PUTTING QUIZ GRADES IN! Show up to class, no questions, begin lesson, student has a question, he pulls out his phone and says "You forgot to put in my 10 points for this homework assignment that I turned in late last month." ARGH!

ALSO, I edited a book of ESL writing activities. It's great so you must check it out. There are lessons for all levels and populations and subjects, from motivation to research, and options using technology. It's called "New Ways in Teaching Writing" by TESOL Publications. That kept me busy as well. Enough excuses...

This summer I have been off and I have missed teaching! Tonight I tutored a woman from Vietnam. She was my student last fall. She was very difficult to understand when I met her because her vowels were nasalized and consonants missing. She has lived here many years, many cases of such result in little effectiveness. This is called "fossilization", when someone's habits are so ingrained that they can't be undone. However, I am an optimist; otherwise, I wouldn't be teaching, would I? She overcame all odds. This requires monitoring and practice. I told her to monitor during small talk. If she can reach a high accuracy when relaxed, some should spill over when she is stressed, like interpreting in the ER. She makes some errors like deletes final "S" half the time but she sounds so good!

I'm getting off track...SO, I enjoyed our lesson and learned many new things! One new word for me was "Denonyms". Can you guess what it means? It's the name of how people are titled according to where they live. My student asked me about the word "Floridian". Do we use it? In a heated debate, she was told we just say "people in Florida." Yes, true, but I have used the word. St. Louis used to have a Floridian restaurant and I call obnoxious colors like sea foam green and the pink on pink flamingoes "Floridian". She then asked why we add "N" to most states (think Texan, St. Louisan, Iowan, get the point) but say "New Yorker". I guessed that states ending with vowels, which most do for some reason, add "N". But those like Massachusetts don't add "ER". Then I guessed that stops (p, b, t, d, k, g) add ER.  But then she asked about Vermont. Vermontian? I inquired on Google and sure enough, someone else asked whether they are called Vermontians or Vermonters. The answers were "tree huggers" or "hippies". The consensus on the Internet was Vermontians but this is WRONG! According to the government official denonym on Wikipedia, they are VERMONTERS! I WIN! Ha! My theory was right. Rhode Islanders also end in a stop and thereby are ERS!

If I ever am mistaken on my linguistic theories, please correct me... as long as you're nice about it. Or I'll call you something that ends in an ER and you won't like it.

No comments:

Post a Comment