Learning Language

I had a weird French teacher in high school (didn’t we all?)
Mine gave us the strangest things to read, things that, when learning french, made no sense. An example was a text she gave us to translate, which I still remember for one reason only: I thought there was something wrong with my dictionary. I think it was called ‘picnic on the battlefield’ – or something to that effect – and it was an absurd text about how a family decides to have a picnic next to the trenches of a battlefield and invite the soldiers along.

I think the intention was that it was something anti-war we could relate to, a funny absurd story we could laugh about together or make Mrs French Teacher appear cool. Needless to say it didn’t work. All she got out of it was frustrated teenagers who had confirmed that French made no sense and for two years we all regretted we didn’t choose Spanish.

Well guess what! It is not just French teachers who are weird.

The ‘Learn English’ Centre at JCU shares facilities with the postgraduate students and personally, I love having them around; they cheer up the place. The first week the new students arrive (last week) they all seemed slightly out of place and walk around looking rather confused. I didn’t take too much notice, but did help a few of them to find their way. Then I discovered these little things, which are pasted all over the area where we sit:

NO WONDER they are bloddy confused.

Japanese student’s parent:Hi Honey, how is Australia? Are you learning something useful?
Japanese student: I don’t know
Japanese student’s parent: What do you mean, you don’t know?
Japanese student: Well I’ve learned that Australian whiskey drinkers own canaries


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