text me

After my last post, I thought it’d be interesting for you, dear reader, to have a glimpse into my cell phone inbox. These are very typical questions and every time I read one I am reminded how much language equals culture, how vast our vocabulary is (i.e., how many words of little utility we have) and also how much emphasis is put on grammar when the point can get across regardless.

From the rare teacher who breaks from the textbook:
We are solving crossword…… Campbell is the top model from Britain. The word beginning “n” 5letters. (So, because I speak English, I know the key players of the UK fashion industry. But, of course, I did know.)

From the teachers who don’t understand the cultural aspects of the textbook:
-good morning. what is the mean cheyenne region
-hi? Can you help me, Crysler Building and yellow cabs are in New York. But what is meaning the words crysler and cabs?
-Hi. Can you help me, please? What do debut, entertainer mean?
(Is there a more useless word to learn/teach than “debut”? Seriously, how often does one use this word?)
-hi? how is your weekend? what does peer pressure mean?

From the teacher continuing to improve her English with books of questionable accuracy:
hi. good evening what is it? take the 2nd turning on the right
-good evening. I’m sorry. What is the difference next and then
-hi. love. which is correct I am at home/home
-hi. sorry what is the mean? your passport must beach at 8 characters

From the medical college English teacher:
Hey what does q 2 h mean eg monitor temperature q 2 h (thanks to my previous work in hospitals, I could answer this)

The appreciation:
-thank you very much. you are very kind and friendly person.
-teacher. i can count on you. please make my life bright. have a good night.

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10 Responses to text me

  1. Priscilla A. Arsenault says:

    Oh, so many wonderful things in this post, I just loved it! My fav? The last one: “Teacher (You, Love). I can count on you (yes, we can!). Please make my life bright (I can see the sun rays surrounding your head, looking like a halo). Have a good night (yes, have a good, no a GREAT night!).

  2. Robin says:

    Hahaha I love the appreciations too!

  3. Kathy P. Willis says:

    Totally confused with the question/phrase… “Your passport must beach at 8 characters.” Good thing you did work at a hospital, I had no idea that q 2 h means “to monitor temperature” – never heard of that. Wow, Love, I have a new appreciation of you, you never cease to amaze me. ❤ Auntie

    • eelevol says:

      Though I believe she typed it as written, I assumed it meant “be at least 8 characters” and told her the book is wrong. I’ve seen it, it’s riddled with typos, poor word choice and bad grammar. What’s really terrible is that this teacher (a soum teacher, not in the aimag where I am) is so motivated to improve, yet her study guides can’t be trusted, and likely cause more confusion.

    • eelevol says:

      “q 2 h” means every two hours. The “to monitor temperature” was part of the question. The only other hospital shorthand I can remember offhand is that “c” means with. These are both things I picked up on the job and not things I ever had to use myself.

  4. Please share some of the ones in Mongolian textspeak!

  5. Rachel Morales says:

    I LOVED this blog… so funny!! How did you explain the difference between ‘next’ and ‘then’?? That’s a tough one

    • eelevol says:

      I told her that there may be a formal answer for testing purposes (my guess would be “next…, then…,” in that order) but that in conversation they are interchangeable.

  6. Priscilla A. Arsenault says:

    @A. Kathy – When I read the comment about the passport, I assumed they meant “be at least” 8 characters (Love, am I correct?). Also, I’m w/A. Kathy, I too had no idea (and neither did one of my coworkers) what “q 2 h” was all about (does it really mean “to monitor temperature?”). Rach asked a question I’d thought of myself, how DID you explain the difference between “next” and “then,” that could be tricky. Last but not least, as far as “Chrysler,” “cab,” “debut,” etc. go, any chance someone might be willing to listen to your comments and read your observations to perhaps in the future use material that’s simpler or easier for translation? Learning another language is hard enough w/out the translator having to struggle w/the meaning of some word that really might not be that important to know the meaning of.

  7. eelevol says:

    see answers above.

    As for your other question, about passing on our suggestions, Peace Corps/Mongolia, with Volunteers in every aimag, is sometimes invited by the Ministry of Education to give feedback or work in partnership to overhaul the textbooks. PC/M, in turn, requests input from us PCVs. New textbooks were just issued this year, so changes would be several years down the line.

    I think the bigger issue, and this is part of the mission of Peace Corps, is to give the teachers the teaching skills so that they can really teach their students, rather than translate new words. “Debut” while I maintain it is a useless word, would be easy enough to understand in context and/or to explain in English (“a first performance”) but more than likely, the teacher to whom I texted “a first performance” turned around and translated neg-dugaar toglolt (or something like that) to her students.

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