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Posts Tagged ‘English’

Buzzwords


This past weekend a colleague and I went to a conference for foreign language teachers - the SCOLT/SCFLTA Conference - in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were able to be there only for the Saturday morning sessions. After experiencing the quality of those sessions, we wished we had attended all three days of the conference. It was far better than the national ACTFL Conference we had attended the fall of 2006!

I'm fluent in French, can hold my own in German, and can handle some situations in Spanish and Chinese. However, one of the things I found difficult at the conference was trying to understand a language that I'm not very good at - educational buzzwords. This is the impetus for today's iv....

Buzzwords

Buzzwords, expressions like scenario, 24/7, soft money, proactive, venue, wiki, hit the ground running, win-win, affluenza, dotcom, fatcat, gridlock, etc., both amuse me and drive me crazy (crazier?)! People in management, geeks, politicians, the media, and even educators love to use buzzwords.

According to Wikipedia, "a buzzword (also known as a fashion word or vogue word) is an idiom, often a neologism, commonly used in managerial, technical, administrative, and sometimes political environments. Though apparently ubiquitous in these environments, the words often have unclear meanings."

Some would readily point out that the word buzzword itself is a buzzword, so named because of the desire to employ the words that create a special effect, or buzz, in another's mind.

In the business world, it seems to be important that reports contain lots of buzzwords. What the reports actually say isn't nearly as important as the ability to show that you are on the cutting edge in the use of the current buzzwords.

In 1968, Newsweek magazine published a short, but humorous article, How to Win at Wordsmanship. After years of hacking through etymological thickets at the U.S. Public Health Service, a (then) 63-year-old official named Philip Broughton had hit upon a sure-fire method for converting frustration into fulfillment, at least jargonwise. Euphemistically called the Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector, Broughton's system employs a lexicon of 30 carefully chosen "buzzwords."

The procedure is simple: Think of any three-digit number. Then select the corresponding buzzword from each column.

For instance, number 257 produces "systematized logistical projection," a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any report with a sincere ring of decisive, knowledgeable authority. No one will have the remotest idea of what you're talking about, but the important thing is that they are not about to admit it!

BUZZWORDS FOR MANAGERS (or wannabe managers)

COLUMN I COLUMN II COLUMN III
1. heuristic 1. organizational 1. flexibility
2. systematized 2. monitored 2. capability
3. parallel 3. reciprocal 3. mobility
4. functional 4. digital 4. programming
5. responsive 5. logistical 5. scenarios
6. optional 6. transitional 6. time-phase
7. synchronized 7. incremental 7. projection
8. compatible 8. third-generation 8. hardware
9. futuristic 9. policy 9. contingency
0. integrated 0. management 0. options

After my experience at the teachers' conference this past weekend, I wondered if the same could be done for educational jargon, which borders on buzzwords. Educators are often guilty of using "edspeak" - a language spoken by those inside the education profession that is often not comprehensible to people outside the profession. The term is modeled on George Orwell's "newspeak" from his novel 1984. This professional jargon is also known as educationese, eduspeak, edubabble, and pedagogese. The following could also be helpful to anyone writing a grant proposal.

The table below enables you to create most of a sentence, giving you a verb, and adjective, and a noun. You just have to flesh it out. For instance, 239 would yield "benchmark cross-curricular methodologies". You could then craft that into a powerfully cryptic sentence such as, "This assessment tool would allow us to benchmark our present cross-curricular methodologies." Scary, huh?!

BUZZWORDS FOR EDUCATORS

Verb Adjective Noun
1. assess 1. child-centered 1. articulation
2. benchmark 2. competency-based 2. competencies
3. disintermediate 3. cross-curricular 3. curriculum integration
4. enable 4. developmentally appropriate 4. decision-making
5. facilitate 5. global 5. experiences
6. implement 6. hands-on 6. higher-order thinking
7. integrate 7. holistic 7. initiatives
8. morph 8. metacognitive 8. learning styles
9. optimize 9. performance-driven 9. methodologies
0. strategize 0. standards-based 0. outcomes

I got the words used above by picking my favorites from a long list of edspeak words at http://www.sciencegeek.net/lingo.html It's a fun site to visit - there's a button at the top that you can keep hitting to generate random phrases from their long lists.

If you'd like to see a long list of other buzzwords, each one linked to its definition, go to http://www.investopedia.com/categories/buzzwords.asp

You can have more fun with a random buzzword generator at http://www.1728.com/buzzword.htm

quotation...

"I think we educators are unusually prone to use jargon, and of all people we ought to be the clearest in our language." - Dr. Ruth Steele, at the time she made this statement, director of the state Education Department and a former English teacher

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Remember: Today's buzzword could very well be tomorrow's drivel.


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A Positive Experience


This was one week where *real* bloggers could have posted something interesting almost every day. Monday was St. Patrick's day. We received some great pictures of Drew for that occasion. Here's one...

Yesterday was the day the swallows come back to Capistrano each year. Here's a bit of the story...

The famous cliff swallows of the Mission San Juan Capistrano, in San Juan, California, leave town every year in a swirling mass near the Day of San Juan (St. John's Day - October 23), They go to their winter home 6,000 miles south in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. Five months later, almost to the day, they land at the Mission San Juan Capistrano on or around St. Joseph's Day, March 19, to the ringing bells of the old church and a crowd of visitors from all over the world who are in town awaiting their arrival and celebrating with a huge fiesta as well as a parade.

Then today is the first day of spring. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter. As I said, bloggers could go wild this week. I'll refrain from doing so. 🙂

Bible Conference has been a huge blessing so far, and there's still more to come! Several have told me how glad they were to learn that they could listen in online as the messages are streamed.

With spring in the air, young people's minds turn to romance. I found something in my files that brought a wry smile to the face, but then I'm a word person. The humor in this one is that the writer has masterfully used the positive version of many of the negative expressions in the English language that, in actuality, have no positive version.

How I Met My Wife - a positive experience
by Jack Winter
Published originally 25 July 1994 in The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated - as if this were something I was great shakes at - and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She respsonded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

quotation...

In a message about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah)... "You will be given many opportunities in life to choose whether to bow or to burn. Choose to burn." - Craig Hartman

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Boy am I happy! My IQ Test came back negative!


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English is Tough Stuff!


As a French teacher, I love language-related humor, but I try to post a good variety on my blog. Because of some of the news in the personal update, I thought I'd go language-related with today's post.

The poem below has been attributed to several sources, as best as I can ascertain by doing web searches. One source says it came about as an exercise from the multi-national translation personnel at the NATO headquarters in Paris. According to some reports, the personnel maintained that English wasn't so hard to learn, except that English pronunciation is a killer! And apparently they composed the poem to prove their point.

Another source says that a an English teacher in Holland required his students to learn by heart this poem he called "The Chaos." The English teacher was named G. Nolst Trenité and lived in the city of Haarlem. Trenité wrote articles under the pen name Charivarious and a little booklet entitled "Drop Your English Accent," in which the poem appeared.

Anyway, I've tried to cover the attribution bases, tending to believe that the latter might be the right one.

So now on to the iv.... Try reading even just a part of the poem aloud and see what happens. The poem highlights effectively (some would say extremly) some of the myriad incongruities of English spelling and pronunciation. If you're unsure of the pronounciation of some words, you could go to merriam-webster.com and type the word in the search box.

It's been said that after trying to read this poem aloud, one native French interpreter said he'd prefer to spend six months at hard labor than reading any six lines out loud!

Every language has its own difficulties as a foreign language that non-native speakers try to master. However, the English language is so notoriously difficult to learn that it's amazing we manage to communicate at all, at least in writing, suffice it to say that English is tough stuff!

The Chaos

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;
So I shall! Oh, hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it's written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say - said, pay - paid, laid but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak,
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding - sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining,
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.
From desire - desirable and admirable from admire,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,
Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation's OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.
Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?
Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.
Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You'll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.
Would you like some more? You'll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,
Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",
But it is not hard to tell
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
People push and rush to possess,
Desert, but desert, and address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.
"Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker",
Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor",
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.
Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.
And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.
Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,
Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn't) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.
Don't be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.
Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)
Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don't mention,
Sounds like pause, pores, paws, and pours,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;
Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.
No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don't want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.
But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.
Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you're not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.
Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!
Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.
Please don't monkey with the geyser,
Don't peel 'taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.
Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.
The th will surely trouble you
More than r, ch or w.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.
Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget 'em -
Wait! I've got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.
The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight - you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,
Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.
Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite.
Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.
Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion, Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess - it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.
Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.
Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce.

Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.
Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.
A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,
Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.
Pronunciation - think of Psyche! -
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won't it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??
Hiccough has the sound of sup.
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

divider

This Saturday evening the Modern Language Department at BJU is sponsoring three language plays from the Middle Ages. I have had the joy and responsibility of preparing my cast of nine students to present Le Vilain mire - The Peasant Doctor. If anyone local would like to come see the German play, the Spanish play, and the French play, they will begin at 7:00 pm in the SAS Assembly Room. Even if you don't know the languages, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much you understand.

Another bit of personal news is that it appears that my wife and I will not be going to Asia this summer to teach. Last fall when I contacted the Dean at the university where we'd taught two other summers, I was surprised to learn that some retired teachers from Mississippi had already contacted the Dean about teaching. We got an e-mail the other day indicating that those teachers are still planning to go. We are still willing to go if they don't end up going, but the Dean said we could definitely come in 2009.

quotation...

"One of the most important things prayer changes is you." - Dr. Tim Keesee

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"To do is to be." -- Plato
"To be is to do." -- Kant
"Dobe dobe do." -- Sinatra


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Miscommunications…


I have seen three things in the last two days about humorous situations that have arisen, thanks to people's trying to communicate in a foreign language. I pass these on with at least a little bit of trepidation since I'm currently trying to review what little Chinese I learned two years ago this semester. My wife and I plan to go teach in Asia again this next summer unless some door closes to show us clearly that that is not what we are supposed to do. Anyway, on to the miscommunications (or is it missed communications?)...

I'll start off with a story we received by e-mail from our friend Ruth with whom we have taught in Asia. She writes...

Cross-Culture Non-Communication

The following is a true story, however impossible it may sound.

After teaching for three hours, I asked a sophomore student to go with me to the language lab director's office to find out the name of a Chinese male teacher who had taught in the room next to me the previous hour.

Thinking my request quite simple, I told the student to ask the director to please tell me the name of the teacher who had taught in room 206 the previous hour. I know the student asked the correct question since I could understand most of the Chinese words used.

The answer?...

Director: No, you teach in room 208.
Me: I am not talking about me. I am talking about the Chinese teacher in room 206.

Student translates

D: You are not in 206 you are in 208.
Thought: Hello, is anyone listening to me?

In walks a Chinese English teacher. The director asks her to tell me that my classroom is number 208.

Me: I am not talking about me or my classroom. I simply want to know the name of the teacher in room 206.
D: But she is not in 206.
Thought: Would someone just listen to my question!
Me: There is a male teacher in room 206. His English name is Bear. I want to know his Chinese name.
D: OH, OH, OH. You mean the MAN! Is he a little big (meaning fat) and no hair on the top?
Me: Yes,
D: His name is __ __ __.

What if I really had an emergency? I would be dead before anyone listened to me.

This evening we received the following short e-mail from Ruth:

The story I wrote about non-communication has a second chapter. The original story took place last Thursday. Yesterday, Thursday, in class my little translator sweetly came to me and said, "The reason the lady could not understand you last week was because you were giving her the wrong room numbers." UGH! There I had to swallow some pride and repent. So my whole story just lost its punch line and I learned a good lesson.

divider

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by a man named Dave, who is currently teaching English in Asia.

He entitled it: I don't know what it is, but it likes ESPN2

I gave my first test last week, and as bonus questions, asked them to write a sentence using one of the slang phrases that I've taught them. A few students got them right. Many more failed in spectacular ways. Most of the difficulties centered on the phrase "couch potato." Seems simple enough, right? Maybe to you. A few of the (erroneous) attempts at capturing this phrase follow.

- He is a couch tomato.
- I was a sofa tomato.
- We should not be couch pasta [I know it's some kind of starchy food!]
- We are sofa and Pomato on the holiday.
- My sister likes laying Tomato, she always sitting on sofa.
- Tom A Couch Plato [These are not the ultimate Doritos, but merely shadowy copies of the true form].
- you watch TV, you will be crouch potato [Looks like the three-point stance to me]

And, in a guess at "baby boomer:"
- After the 2th World War, many boom babies borned.

divider

The following is from the blog of Carol who is living in Asia with her husband Hal and their three kids. Carol and Hal are both former high school students of mine from way back in the last millenium. Carol's parents are there visiting them right now. Anyway, Carol writes...

Today I thought I would share with you YET another language blunder. This one took place last week while my mom and I were shopping. Here we have markets that we shop at where we have to bargain for our items and that involves speaking. Well as you know I am new to this language so I am learning all the time how to say things and new words to add to my ever building vocabulary.

When I am out and about I try very hard to use each word I can possibly use. Personally I detest having to have someone help me anymore. Perhaps that is my slightly stubborn side coming out but I am at the point where I want to say it and do it MYSELF. SO that means I have to put it in high gear and start getting more words under my belt. Practice times for me are often found at the market because I have to speak to them in order to make a purchase and people are typically very willing to let me try my words on them. 🙂

My mom and I were shopping last week and looking for some 'wedding lanterns' that would be sent back to the states for a wedding shower of a Chinese woman and her American fiance. I had a bit of a hesitation when I was shopping because I was unsure exactly which lantern was for wedding and which for New Years. They look alike to me except for the characters written on them. I am still not able to read them so I have to ask. I figured that was no big deal...I would just tell the worker that this lantern was going to be for a wedding and make sure it was the correct one. That is not out of the realm of my meager vocabulary. I had learned all of those words and could readily ask those questions. The problem came when I got one key word mixed up. As I was describing why I wanted to purchase this lantern I repeatedly use the word "divorce" instead of "marriage/wedding". OOOPS big mistake there. The fun was as follows:

(Ok, so imagine yourself hearing some weirdo foreigner say this to you:)

"Are these lanterns used for the divorce of a man and woman?"

HMMM....no response...just odd looks....so let me try this again.

"I would like to purchase a lantern to celebrate a friend's divorce."

Ok, so that didn't go over real well...they are now just staring at me...one more swing at this...let's rearrange the sentence a little and see if it flies....

"An American and a Chinese person will be getting divorced and we would like to have 2 lanterns for the party."

Ok, I am talking Greek or something so may be I should describe the event...here's another feeble attempt...

"In America we give gifts, eat food, talk and celebrate 2 people getting divorced."

Ok...you you get the picture, huh? Those poor people just kept saying "no" and looking at me all weird and, I am sure, wondering about all of us sicko Americans out here that celebrate a divorce this way. They kept stepping back from me and shaking their heads and looking at me REALLY oddly.

THEN...it hit me. I realized I was using the wrong word for "marriage" and instead was saying "divorce". So I told them "oh I am sorry, I forgot the word" and when I fixed it and told them "wedding" they immediately took me to the correct lanterns for THAT occasion. AMAZING how one word can change the whole situation!!

SO...I have now given them something fun to go home and disuss at the dinner table. 🙂 When I told an Chinese friend here what I said/did, she said, "They will now tell all their friends what the crazy American woman told them today." 🙂 Guess I will be the talk of the town...me and my divorce celebration.

quotation...

"What a cheap imitation of glory is living for what will soon pass away!" - Dr. Tony Fox

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

When the seed store was robbed, the authorities suspected that the evidence was planted.


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You Know You’ve Lived in China Too Long When…


Our friend Ruth with whom we have taught in Asia the last two summers has been here in Greenville on an extended leave to help her elderly parents and is now preparing to go back next week. One month before her scheduled departure, her university there informed her that since her passport would run out in 5 months, she would need to get a new one. We were all amazed that she was able to get her passport renewed and then get the necessary visa in it in 18 days! She loves the confirmation that Someone wants her there this school year. One evening this week our little team of teachers from last summer is taking her out for Asian food before her return next week.

Recently Ruth forwarded a list of ways you can know you've lived in China too long. My wife and I have lived there only two months, so we had not experienced all the things in her list, but we saw enough to know that nothing in the list is out of the realm of likelihood.

You Know You've Lived in China Too Long When...

You think a 30-year-old woman's carrying a Hello Kitty lunch box is cute

All white people look the same to you

You like the smell of the bus

You no longer need tissues to blow your nose

You find Western toilets uncomfortable

You think it’s OK to throw rubbish, including old fridges, from your 18th-floor window

You believe that pressing the button 63 times will make the elevator move faster

You aren’t aware that one is supposed to pay for software

You are not surprised to see your tap water run dark brown

You think that a $7 shirt is a rip-off

You started to buy an XXXL T-shirt in a store when you returned home

You think it’s silly to buy a new bike when it’ll get stolen soon, and stolen bikes are half the price

You feel cheated if you don’t receive a full head and shoulder massage when getting a haircut

You blow your nose or spit on the restaurant floor (of course after making a loud hocking noise)

You no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue (=the line)

You no longer wonder how someone who earns US $400.00 per month can drive a Mercedes

You regard it as just part of the adventure when the waiter correctly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different

You accept the fact that you have to queue to get a number for the next queue

You are not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb

You honk your horn at people because they are in your way as you drive down the sidewalk

You have a pinky fingernail an inch long

You burp in any situation and don’t care

You have absolutely no sense of traffic rules

You start cutting off large vehicles on your bicycle

You go to a local shop in pajamas

You think - pollution, what pollution?

Someone doesn’t stare at you, and you wonder why

You wear out your vehicle’s horn before its brakes

Forks feel funny

Chinese remakes of Western songs sound better than the originals

You get homesick for real Chinese food when away from China

Your handshake is weakening by the day

You have compiled a 3-page list of weird English first names that Chinese people of your acquaintance have chosen for themselves

Your collection of business cards has outgrown your flat

The last time you visited your family, you gave each person your business card

You and a friend get on a bus, sit at opposite ends of the bus, and continue your conversation by yelling from one end to the other

You cannot say a number without making the appropriate hand sign

You start recognizing the Chinese songs on the radio and sing along to them with the taxi driver

You feel insulted when you enter a restaurant and only three greeters welcome you

Signs like the one below don't look odd to you...

bilingual signage

quotation...

"We have a low estimation of how much prayer can change our circumstances." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.


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