Friday, September 08, 2006

The language of the ex pats

Being an ex pat (riot) is not as easy as some may imagine. There is the issue of language.

The folks at home expect that one will continue sounding like one sounded when one lived at home. The folks in the new country expect that one sound like - - - well, like they expect someone to sound like they imagine a homey would sound.
But as is often the case , there are many sounds (dialects) in the country of origin. And those dialects may not be pleasing to the ear of the new contriates.
For instance, I come from midwestern North America. I used to say wRash and wRashington. I gave up the 'R' when I travelled to California to earn my living. However, I did not add the 'T' to kep and slep when I moved to California and no one there seemed to mind.
However, my Australian friends object to the missing 'T'. Their response to the missing 'T' of slepT and kepT is to correct me, to tell me I sound uneducated.
I explain the dialect. I cook in a frying pan, not in a skillet. I have a crick, not a creek behind my house which has a roof that is not a ruf.
Oh, the problems of the ex pat - - - especially the one who wonders how television commentators can 'reckon' anything. And who tries but can't quite get g'day to slip off the tongue.

Pacific

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/

Pacific is the name of the vast ocean west of North and South America and east of Asia and Australia. Pacific means 'leading to or promoting peace' or 'calm and peaceful by nature'.

Seems a tad ironic if you take a look at the web site listed at the top of this entry. Amazing that almost all of the techtonic activity on the planet is located on the shores of this vast 'peaceful' caldera filled with water, fishes, mammals, and islands.

Not precisely pacific..to be sure. Except for the activity in the Carribean, this week, the thrusting shifting plates, each finding its way with force, is centered in this vast area of the globe.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Minor miracle

Had a lovely experience upon opening my hotmail account this morning! An email from a former student..a writer..a published writer..a speaker of at least two languages although somehow I am certain that he speaks dozens of dialects.

He wrote to say he had been looking for me..and thought perhaps I had been found.

Why?

Because he has published a book and he would like to send it to me.

Now I know there is a goddess wandering the universe; one who knows precisely what makes English teachers satisfied that they have done an adequate job!..(Oh..that's Aussie Tall Poppy bullshit.).she knows that some of us have done a damned good job! :)

I will go off to sleep tonight feeling like my work has been worthwhile. There is a young man out there who is proud of his work, proud enough to want to share it with his teacher.

I think, perhaps, that is what teaching is really all about.