Observing Night School (a literacy initiative run by University students) has been fun. We experienced a blackout last night in the middle of class--usually the generators kick on right away--but after a few minutes the power came back and nobody was phased. During a discussion of the word "dear," one of the teachers used the nugget, "When two vowels go out walking, the first one does the talking." I have no recollection of hearing that before, but Nicole remembers the phrase from phonics.
The teachers are really good at improvising when the (American) textbook exercises don't quite fit. One exercise asked students to match the words "name," "address," "phone number," "apartment number," and "social security number" with examples of each. The "correct" answer for address was something like
"425 Main Street," but addresses in Beirut don't have street numbers (and sometimes don't have street names). The sample phone number had seven digits, whereas numbers here have eight--and I told the teachers that the exercise is dated or at least potentially confusing for U.S. audiences too, given that you generally need to include the area code ("does each state have its own area code in America?" one of the teachers asked me, and I recalled that long before cell phones and fax machines many states did only have one or two area codes...about the time I was learning phonics).
I wonder how the word "bravo" came into common usage here. The teachers frequently use the word when a student gets an answer correct. The French words in heavy rotation ("merci" and "bon jour" are ubiquitous in Beirut) aren't surprising, but what's up with "bravo"?