Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thai-Light-Zone: Wednesday

Before I had ever taught English I thought that it was a very accessible, rather simple language. Teaching it I became convinced very quickly that it is actually very difficult. Take the spelling, please.

With grammar or high school students I always start off a lesson with a five or six minute exercise in sheer fun. One technique is to take a couple of words and make cards for each individual letter, stand along the front of the room the appropriate number of “volunteers,” shuffle well and give them all a card, then have the students tell them how to move around to make the words. One day, the first word was Wednesday.

The interest here came from the nature of their misapprehension. They knew pretty soon that the word was Wednesday, but they spelled it wrong, and then they spelled it wrong again. To be fair, though, I had to admit that their spellings made as much sense as the proper spelling, maybe more. Here are their first two efforts:

1. Wendseday

2. Wedensday

Pretty good, I’d say, and I did. English spelling is diabolical.

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