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Monday, March 7, 2011


I've spent the last several evenings with a new private student. He's the owner of a petro-chemical company here in Shanghai & wants to improve his English so that he can talk with his American clients, as well as negotiate prices with his American vendors. He was adamant that he should have an American tutor so that he can learn to understand the accent.

We started off our lessons by practicing the TH sound, which lots of people have problems with. He haltingly spurts out sentences like, "Thelma & Ethel withheld their wrath until both of them were withered," & I stick my tongue out between my teeth & point to it for him to model. I imagine that if you're sitting at the next table, it's pretty funny stuff.

We're also working on de-Chinglish-izing his English. He says things like, "I'm heartily pleased to make your acquaintance," & I help him change it to, "Nice to meet you." He giggles at the difference, happy to finally have someone to set him straight.

I'm happy as well - he pays me 300 RMB (US $45) per hour - eight hours with him has paid my rent for next month. & the best part is that it's not like work to me at all. I've really missed teaching since I got my nine-to-five, & with this new student, I get to have my cake & eat it too. Thanks, I'll have seconds. Nom nom nom.


Scott said...

But where did he pick up 'I'm heartily pleased to make your acquaintance' in the first place?? :-)

Nancy Lewis said...

That was a direct translation from Chinese. He has a textbook that was obviously written by a Chinese person with all kinds of phrases like that in it. I've been going through it & pointing out all of those kinds of cultural mis-translations for him. He loves it :)