Midterms are coming up on Friday and for the past few days, I have had to help my co-teachers record the listening segments of the tests. It has certainly given me an appreciation for people who are trying to learn another language!
To begin with, the recordings were made in a mostly empty room so all of our voices have an empty, ghostly sound to them. (Faintly creepy actually!)
Following the directions of my co-Ts, all of my lines were delivered at an absurdly slow speed and I tried to enunciate and pronounce all the letters properly (i.e. liTTle instead of liddle etc.). I also tried to use proper intonation and put the emphasis on the right syllables. The result sounds like a strange ghostly version of the Queen.
“YesTerday – I playeD- basebaLL- wiTH- my- bRoTHeR.”
Nobody talks like that in real life!
I actually felt a bit sorry for the students. The questions were all delivered in weird voices and were completely without context. How were they meant to choose the right answer?
[Spoken by me] “#1. John wants to play baseball with Susan tomorrow.”
- a. John wants to play baseball tomorrow.
- b. Susan wants to eat dinner with John.
- c. John and Susan are going to the beach.
“#2. What is the right response to Do you want some more?”
- a. I can use chopsticks.
- b. You are beautiful.
- c. Yes please!
No wonder learning English is hard! Who is John? Why does he want to play baseball with Susan? Is he hitting on her? What relation is Susan to John? Is she a friend? His sister? Perhaps he is stalking her…
And is the offer of more related to Susan and John? What is being offered? ‘Yes please’ might not be the right response if I’m being offered slugs or crack.
Many of the questions were completely incomprehensible to me. The instructions were delivered in Korean and I simply had to read a list of words.
“Hamburger- pizza- school- horse- puppy”
Was there a connection? What were the students meant to do? Were they in any way related to Susan and John? Knowing Korea, perhaps the students had to choose which one wasn’t edible.