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Electronic Organ

2/22/2001

My students often times surprise me with some of the English they use and gestures they pickup from watching movies and television. These, of course, are usually bad things like swear words and the middle finger. However, once in a while there is one that's not rude or vulgar at all…it's just funny!

I had a lesson with the first year students one day about announcements. We used an airport as the location and we did flight announcements and lost child announcements. For the lost child announcement, we let the students listen to me give an announcement describing a lost child and they had to choose which child it was from three different pictures. Then the fun part came!

The students were given sheets with a picture of a child. This was their child and they had to describe what their child was wearing, how old their child was, and anything the child was carrying. This of course left much room for creativity…

The first noticeable thing about some of the students descriptions were the ages they chose. Some of them said their child was zero years old. 'That's interesting.' I thought, 'I guess a child can be zero years old.' But then, I looked at some of the other students' papers and their children were over 30 years old! "37 years old?" I asked one of the students. "Yes", he replied with a smile. Other students drew beard stubble on "their children". I thought this was all very amusing. I thought to myself 'Maybe they're expressing what they think of their own parents' maturity level in comparison to theirs…maybe not.'

However, the most interesting of all the descriptions I read was: "He has a electronic organ." Besides the slight grammar mistake ("a" instead of "an"…How many of you noticed that?) it was very good English. I just wondered to myself 'Where the hell did he learn that from!?' It was cute and it made me laugh, something that is definitely needed when you are checking about 200 sheets of 12 and 13 year olds' descriptions of their children. It's things like this that I'll probably remember 20 years from now and still laugh about it.