Posted in English as a Second Language, Japanese Culture, Japanese Language, Teaching Adventures

Homophone Mishappenings

I was teaching a Mommy and Me English as a Second Language class to a lovely young mother and her two-year-old son. The lesson’s topic was body parts. Not wanting to use Japanese to explain the meaning, I would touch the location of the vocabulary word and then move such anatomy in a goofy way. This game was quite popular with the two-year-old, and I was feeling on fire as a teacher, for we were in that beautiful intersection of learning, engagement, and genuine joy.

I said, “Touch your chin,” and proceeded to place my finger on my mentum; however, Japanese-toddler logic mandated not the mentum as modeled, but what he very knew to be his chin. You see, “chin-chin” (ちんちん) is the Japanese kid word for penis.

“From Head To Toe” is a spectacular book to teach body parts and easily incorporates Kinesthetic learning.

He promptly grabbed his groin and proceeded to waggle it in the previously playful way. I started to correct/ apologize to the mom, but she was lost in a full guffaw, so I felt permission to laugh too.

It is a lesson that I will never forget, for it is true what the dear Anna Leonowens has said, “If you become a teacher, by your pupils, you’ll be taught.” (I highly recommend the 1956 version of the King and I. [♫ Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you…♪])

Now, as a mom of a toddler and further into my teaching English and learning Japanese journey, I appreciate this memory even more. I can see how my son is interpreting his world and the role that homophones play in inter-lingually and even within one language, as in the Homophone Horrors happening.

What are some inter-lingual homophone mishappenings you have encountered in your life?

Vocabulary 単語 

)

penis= ちんちん

chin=あご

ear(s)=みみ

mouth=くち

nose=はな

face=かお

)

Works Cited

“Oscar Hammerstein II Quotes.” BrainyQuote, Xplore, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/oscar_hammerstein_ii_402922.

(I am aware that the above citation is not entirely in MLA format. I’m researching how to do hanging indents on WordPress. If you could teach me, or link to a source, I’d be grateful.)

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Posted in Teaching Adventures

Classroom Conversations

I keep a list of some of the humorous, if not ridiculous, verbal combinations that have come out of the mouths of students, myself, and colleagues while teaching middle school. The list is sure to grow as my teaching experience does. For anonymity and alliteration, All teachers’ names have been changed to “sensei” and all students’ names have been changed to “student.”