Monday, July 9, 2007

Never Heard of It

My students have no idea that most of the world calls this "The Great Wall". In Korean they call it something that translates to million mile castle. The word mile there literally translates to something like unit, but when they speak English, it sounds good to say 'million mile'...even though most everywhere in the world, miles are not used as a unit of measure. Interesting.

When my students ask me what this is called in English, it very often to degenerates to a "Who's on First" skit. "What do you call that?" "The Great Wall"

"Yes, what do you call that in English?"
"The Great Wall of China."
"Yes, what is the English word?"
"That's what we say, it's called the Great Wall of China."
"How do you say it in English?"
By this time the class is separated in to two teams. One side has started to understand and is now on my side trying to give an explanation. The Korean starts flying. If they are successful convincing the others that this is indeed what it's called:

"Oh! That's the name? The Greatest..."
"No! The Great Wall."
"Just The Great Wall"
"Yes, The Great Wall of China"
"Oh! So simple!"

The next part of class consists of students trying to convince me they have one in Korea. No, you don't. Yes! We do it's in North Korea. Ok you win. I'm sure it's just as big and wonderous and not just a "wall".

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