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Monday, February 28, 2011


A few curious moments last night in the community literacy program I'm studying. First, while teaching posessive pronouns, the teachers kept using the prepositional phrase "for + pronoun" to signify posession. "Is the jacket for him? Yes, it is his. Is the mobile phone for her? Yes it is hers." That's a pretty common usage variation (especially for native speakers of languages in which one word means both "for" and "of"), but here's an odd one. The use of the word "revise" as a synonym for "review." One of the teachers asked, "Which of last week's lessons would you like to revise?" and I thought she meant the students were going to rewrite something. But, later, she said something like "let's revise the vocabulary words from last class." This wasn't just a slip of the tongue, as she repeated the word several times. "Review" and "revise" both have the same root, meaning roughly "to see again," so obviously they have a close connection, but I had never heard this variation.

Okay, one more moment, this one not so much linguistic as just funny. Well, the power goes out during most class periods and usually everybody's pretty good about ignoring the fact that it's pitch black in the classroom. Often, someone will get out a handheld device and use the flashlight app (which comes in very handy in Lebanon), but other times everybody will just continue the discussion or lesson in darkness. Well, last night the power went out during a lesson on comparatives (big/bigger, small/smaller, etc.) just after the teacher asked "Both of these lights are bright, but which one is brighter?" As if on cue, the lights all go out. A little "rolling blackout" humor for you, faithful readers.

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