Thursday, 6 May 2010

Could try harder

I was marking essays on the train this morning, hoping for a few howlers to beguile the time. None, unfortunately. There was some well-controlled language, which is gratifying to one's teacherly self, but not much fun. There was some crap, too, which is just exasperating. Here's a sample:

Although, it would be nice make own decisions, make own mistakes sometimes and solve out the problems which they face as they say 'from lie we get experience' Also Adults believe no way to leave home anytime that encourages them to became completely responsible and dependable and also good for judgement.

Quite. Couldn't have put it better myself.

No choice morsels today, then. Nothing that ranked with the collectables I have been carrying round for years:

'She broke the heel of hers shoe, and they fell down humping'

'In Cambridge I was had enjoyably in a punt.'

'Boys don't like to study, they prefer kicking their balls.'

'I was kept awake by the sound of the animals screwing at night.'

'I wrote my answer on the other shit'

'I'm study scrotal management.'

However, I did find that in her essay Dalyal had refered to our species as 'humane beans', and I thought that sounded dead cute.


This morning I bumped into Khulud, who last summer got away with a heavily plagiarised essay because nobody could prove conclusively that it was not her own work.

'You look different,' she said.

'Do I?'

'Yeah, you look bitter. Maybe you got married?'

This was not a cynical comment on the holy estate of matrimony, but Khulud's explanation of my allegedly improved appearance. Saudis almost always replace the /e/ phoneme with /ɪ/


Argentum Vulgaris said...

"they prefer kicking their balls" - Ouch!

I'm still trying to work out "scrotal management" I guess that'd be like Brazilian men adjusting their balls in the street, no shame here.


Michael said...

At around this time last year, everybody would be giving me their essays to double-check, and I had to put a lot of red ink on a lot of them. They owe me somewhat for their English grades, because the teacher was a persnickety reader like I am. I think the fact that they were all native English speakers made it even more frustrating than if they weren't.

they desrve dat rred ink 4 typin lik dis, lols

vilges suola said...

@ Argentum, no idea what 'scrotal management' was supposed to mean, but I immediately thought of the same explanation as you, as the Greeks have the same habit.

@Michael, I have hrd tht Nat Eng Spkrs cant spel & tend 2 write in text speak even in essays, bt i'm like WTF, innit, man yeah??? U mean even uni sts do that?

Fionnchú said...

"Casting aspirations" was one of the better ones I found lately. I admit many of my supposedly "advanced comp" college students (who do come often from Turkey, Korea, and Mexico for instance, or from families immigrating to admittedly wretched L.A. schools) write no better than your charges straight out of Libya. Forget "native speakers" being any better.

They rely on only spell-check; younger students' comprehension of the written word diminishes as an oral culture seems to revive or morph into text-speak. Few under 40 read at all outside of what's on a screen. They seem to lack the ability to match eyes to ears, so to speak, orthographically. Or are we just getting old and cranky, VS?

At UCLA-- in typewriter days-- we instructors assigned to grading every handwritten blue book essay for incoming freshmen to place them wrote their howlers on the blackboard to relieve days of tedium. And, I've used the same Calvin & Hobbes cartoon as you-- on my syllabus for comp class!

vilges suola said...

Isn't it exasperating - we know it should be 'casting asparagus'. These people, honestly.

Some of my students don't even rely on spell-check, and seem to have disabled the grammar and punctuation checker too. The grammar checker is pretty useless, but the punctuation thing would at least ensure that their sentences begin with capital letters.

I'm trying not to get too crotchety in my middle age. After all, I have one Libyan doctor who writes beautifully and would put many a native speaker student in the shade, and most of my students are working hard at a language very different from their own, but there are some who are quite charming but just expect me to beam writing ability into their skulls while refusing to take any personal responsibility. And these are graduates, noch.


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