Saturday, November 5, 2011

Been here a while.

So, what to talk about today? This week has been exhausting! One of my co-teachers was out sick all week so I took the classes we had together alone. Let me tell you, there are a whole lot of basic words that I think might be more important to learn early on than the word queen... Like sit down, and be quiet, and I won't call on you if you are standing on your seat shouting “mast”. Unfortunately, that is not a concept that they understand in Georgian either. No matter what the age, shouting to the teacher that you know the answer is just a part of the Georgian educational system... I think I will be deaf by the end of the year. But it is also nice to see the students are eager to participate, and I totally relate to the kids who are so disappointed they didn't get a chance to prove they knew the answer, because I totally was that kid. I now understand why Mr. Murphy didn't call on me, even though I was the only one with my hand raised. You need to give all the kids a chance. Not just a chance, but you need to make sure that the other kids understood, especially in a language class.
Some of the big problems for Georgian students of English include the difference between “p” and “f”, “v” and “w”, and the pronunciation of soft “a”. There is no “f” in the Georgian alphabet, and they can make the sound, once you show them how, but they still get it confused a lot. I got a note from one of my fifth graders to “Poli”, with “Foli” crossed out next to it. “V” and “w” is a similar story, there is no “w” in the alphabet, but there is a “v”, so it makes no sense in the world to me why, at training, some of the Georgian trainers would say “wolunteers” instead of “volunteers”. I have been trying to solve this mystery since I got to Georgia, but anyone I ask gets confused about it. Finally, “a is for apple” is probably the most famous phrase in the English language, but by the time they get to third grade, apple has become epple. They get very embarrassed when that mistake is shown to them, but I understand completely why this mistake occurs. “A” as in cat, bat, sat, is not a part of the Georgian language, and unlike “f”, it is NOT at all easy to explain how to make the sound. So far, we have gotten the “a” in car, and I am very proud that my class can say that. There are other fun moments in pronunciation. Even though they don't have a “th” in the language, they have picked it up very well, sometimes. I had one student say “ze other” to me one day, and I started laughing. I have found that if the th comes at the beginning of the word, it becomes a “z”, but found in the middle, “th” shines though. I think it is unconscious. When they think about it, they get scared, or something, and they can't say it. But if they let go and say the word, no problem. I know that I do the same with Georgian. I always wonder if I sound like an American speaking Georgian as opposed to a Brit or a German. Do I speak Georgian with a different accent than an American who can speak Spanish, or Russian? I know in the beginning, I was saying “shien” instead of “shen” (it means informal you) because I was thinking of Russian.

Quick note, I have been writing this one in the living room and the TV is on, and Justin Bieber was on the news. Why why why is this such important news that the Georgian Media is covering it?

My biggest problem with Georgian is still the pronunciation. Qkh is killing me, though I have decided to master it because of a new food that was introduced this week. “Qkhiqkhliqkho”. I was very late to some meal, I can't remember which right now, and I was eating the leftovers with gusto. Suddenly, Lela came in and started making eggs. Then she cut some slices of bread and started soaking them in the egg. I looked at her and said, so very hopefully, “french toast?” She laughed and said she didn't know what it was in English, but yes, she has seen people eat this in American movies. I still miss pie, but it is nice to have some french toast when I am missing the food I grew up on.
I have had a couple of moments of homesickness, but so far, they have been kept at bay by the wonders of facebook and skype, and the movie, Fever Pitch. I need to invest in Boondocks Saints or (and?) Good Will Hunting when I go home for vacation, because they have more sites of Boston and I need more than lots and lots of Red Sox symbols everywhere (though they help, a LOT).

Back for a moment to the TV, Vanna White really is a better letter flipper than the people who do her job in other countries! In the wheel of fortune here, there are two who do the opening, and they are terrible, and then there is the regular and she isn't very good either. I am also basing this off of old wheel of fortune, because they don't have electric letters, they need to be flipped to show the letter, and they are just very bad at it. Maybe the letters stick or something...

Ok, I can't think of anything else to say, I have been traveling, mountains are amazing (I haven't been to the real mountains yet, that I will post about, I promise) and I really love being on the water, and not just because it keeps the place warmer than the rest of the country. It is nice to look out and read on the water. Every moment it hasn't rained I walk over to the Sea.

OH, and here is an example of my life, some days. I was sitting in the living room and the TV was on, and suddenly I heard english. Well, when english is on, usually they drown it out in Georgian dubbing, but not this commercial. It turns out it was for TLG which was fun. See, the English speakers, what they are doing, ya, that is me on a daily basis, and the days that I find children like that are few and far between, but boy is it fun when I do. I have also done what that guy did, "didi (big) house, uh, "sakhli" (house) *make a house in the air, hope they understand what I am saying*. It is a lot of fun. Insane, exhausting, but fun.


  1. "Vanna White really is a better letter flipper than the people who do her job in other countries!"

    Hah! That's so great. I guess she's just so good none of us ever considered it could be a hard job. I know some people like that...

    Love your blog, miss you a ton here at the Book Center...


  2. The phenomenon with V's and W's your noticing is called "hypercorrection." They know that sometimes when they say "v" is should be "w" so when it sometimes should be "v" they think it might be "w" too. You'll see this with Hasidic kids learning English who assume that since vunder becomes wonder that vegetable is really "wegetable."