Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Session

As a new session gets underway, I thought I'd post this video from the opening days of the session in 2007. The crowds and long lines of eager but slightly disoriented students are familiar sights for those of us who have been here for a while. Alas, the only English occurs at about :50 when a girl says "Thank you." The rest of it is foreign babble translated roughly as "So, this is America. Where is the Coca-Cola?" And "I think I saw Bruce Willis at the Trabant Center."

Welcome new ELI students!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Congratulations to the Reading Challenge Winners

Congratulations to Khorphuengbua Amphaphorn or Oy as she sometimes goes by for winning first place in the SALC reading challenge. Oy was my student last session and I am proud of her, though not in the least surprised. Congratulations also to Yanxin Li, the second place winner, and Xin Liu, Sultan Alsharari, and Yu Yungcheng, the third place winners.

For students interested in participating in the Reading Challenge, the official rules can be found at the SALC webpage here:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My name is Jeremy, but you can call me Yipei

I would say more than half of my students have English names. Sometimes they pick names in their English classes. Sometimes they adopt names upon arrival in the US. The use of an English name has two purposes: first to help native speakers, many of whom are unfamiliar with foreign names, remember them; secondly to tweak their identities in response to their new environment. Sometimes students give themselves famous names; I've known a "Tiger" (Woods) and a "Vincent Van Gogh," but more often students simply choose an Englished version of their real names. For example, "Chen" becomes "Charles" or "Yin" becomes "Jane."

While my students usually do an excellent job of remembering my real name, I have decided, in recent sessions, to share in the fun and give myself a few foreign names. In Chinese, for example, I am "Li Bai" (sounds roughly like "Jeremy"), the famed literary figure of the Tang Dynasty. In Korean, I am "Sejong" after the inventor of the Hangul alphabet. And in Arabic I am Abu Nuwas who shows up a few times in Aladdin. At the very least, my foreign identities make my students laugh. They usually ask who gave me the name. I tell them that I gave it to myself. Then I ask how they got the name "Steve" or whatever it is. It usually leads to a good discussion.