I continue on my professional quest to endow my students with the ability to say the varying sounds that come from the letter "R". I can get most of them to pronounce the sounds well enough, even though I am dealing with 50 to 60 kids in a class on a biweekly basis. I only try to do 2 different sounds each class, such as "er" and "ar". I make sentences that have several words with that sound in them, such as "Sarah and Mary went to Paris with their parents." Or "Martin went to a party in the park."
Since virtually all of them have only had Chinese English teachers, the sentences initially come out sounding like, "Motten went to a potty in de pock". We practice, and I make individuals say it, and some of them do pretty well. Nearly all can make the sound if they stop and think about it first.
I found that when I can show how "party" and "potty" are two different things, they start to get it right a lot quicker. It has worked with "girl" and "gull", too. And we don't eat "hamboogers"!
Since Halloween is coming up they are also getting a lesson in that fine American festival. We have projectors in each classroom so I can do a power point presentation along with videos, so we be really high tech.
To see the latest lesson go here:
I also am showing some videos of the Blazers and Lakers as well as this classic:
A few weeks back we were at the nursery and pet shopping area and Yali decided we needed a couple of pet turtles, so we got two, along with the tank and dried shrimps that they like. She named them Teabag and Jackie since she is a fan of both Prison Break and Nurse Jackie.
Teabag is a lively lad and Jackie is kind of sluggish, like she's, well you know.
A couple of months ago a friend of ours went down to the DMV, showed she knew which pedal did what and how to honk the horn. She then fogged a mirror with her breath, and paid the licence fee and voila! Instant Chinese driver! She then went out and put a bunch of dents in her car and one in a bicyclist, who was mostly just shaken up. She decided to take some lessons for a while before she subjects the world to her special talents again.
It's pretty easy to get a taxi driver to go on a non stop tirade about the level of ineptitude in most drivers here. People will stop, turn, u turn, back up, slow down and honk whenever and wherever they want. I rarely see an accident, and I find that miraculous, but it is China, and somehow stuff just seems to happen in spite of itself.
The newness of car ownership has a parallel in the newness of supermarkets. Most grocery shopping is still done on a meal to meal basis in giant market places with a zillion vendors all haggling and shoppers carrying everything in bags or baskets. The shopping cart does not exist there. The supermarkets however are a lot like Western ones, including shopping carts. Chinese shopping cart operation is a lot like their car operation with the exception of horns (thank God!).
They stop in the middle of aisles, cut in front of you, back up without looking, and get into great cart jams. Wal Mart checkout today looked like downtown Guangzhou during rush hour.
Speaking of Guangzhou, I have never liked the place. 20 million people, dirty, dangerous and rude. I met an American on the plane from Seattle who was working there. He called it the Cleveland of South China.