Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Free-Woman Town

It was a puzzler. When listing three facts he knew about the USA during a class activity, a student today wrote, "America is place of the free-woman town." Free Woman Town? Free-woman town??

Well, thinking quickly, I decided he didn't mean Reno or Las Vegas--I mean, those women aren't free (anything but!) and I wouldn't really know how to ask, anyway. Unable to go anywhere else with it, I called over Mr Oh, my coteacher. A quick exchange of Korean, and he smiles at me. "Statue of Liberty," he explains.

Now, I have promised these students that no one will laugh at their attempts to speak English, least of all myself. Still, the difference between what I thought and what was meant unleashed a brief guffaw before I could repress it. I tried to cover with an "Ah ha! Now I getcha!" kind of thing, and ran to the board to show the correct spelling and point out that the town involved is New York City. If I can make it there, I can make it ...

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