The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

The June/July '99 Short Humor Contest

On Teaching English as a Second Language


Amy Chavez

Shiraishi Island, Japan

I have been teaching English writing for four years. I very much enjoy it. But sometimes I wonder if my students study very hard. They always make the same mistakes. For example, spelling, prepositions and so on.

And what about learning English in Japan? I've noticed a warped effect of grammar translation, a method of language teaching introduced in the Stone Age and still in use in Japan. The concept is simple:   have students translate Japanese word for word, into English. The amazing thing is that after all of these years using Grammar Translation, it still doesn't work.

However, there is one very positive result of Grammar Translation which merits its continued use in the classroom for the next million or so years:  It provides endless entertainment for native English speakers.

Today's essay has been written entirely by my college students, who have proved themselves far better at humor writing than I. This is the first part of an infinite series called "English Bloopers."

Today we give you excerpts from student diaries: 

I bought magazine and eating, and I read it and eat it. And, I slept because I have no to do thing.

About 7: 00am there was earthquake. I couldn't move in a bed. I was very, very scared. I experienced first when I was born.

I ate Japanese hotchpotch at the dinner today. In winter I think that we should to eat Japanese hotchpotch and pan.

There is my friend in Kannabe. As she work toilet's company, she give me some sample. I was very happy.

I'm glad my sisters ate like a horse.

I like to go for a drive, especially in the sea.

Today was my 19th birthday. My mother bought cake for me. It ate after dinner.

I visit to my friend's house. She served me with coffee and cookies.

My dog Holmes had cut his hair last week. He became a shaven body. I noticed he is thin.

I spilled juice on the floor. I drank it a little. I was shocked the matter.

On Sunday my telephone broke out, so I have to go to the city today. I hope it will get well.

Today we had a spelling test. I could perfect spelling test.

Every one, favorite foods an order. A dishes of at once empty. We are glutton girls glup.

I am a home teacher now. So I am taught my student an English. But to teach a person is very difficult. I must teach him English till 14 days. I already give up.

As you can see, English writing is very difficult. Therefore, when things don't come out exactly right, I chuckle, then give the student the benefit of the doubt, presuming that they really meant something else. But sometimes, I wonder if they aren't really just telling the truth: 

I went to the bar with my four friends. We ate a lot of food and drank. After we went out in the bar, we slept on the road. It was cold. But I had a great time!

I want to go again in Paris.

I went to jewelry shop. And I bought a ring. It costs 46,000 yen. I bought myself.

Still other times I wonder if it's not Grammar Translation to blame, but something deeper, such as equatorial dyslexia. In an assignment to write an international postcard to request information, one student wrote: 

Please send me information in English about Australia. I am particularly interested in Toronto.

©Amy Chavez


Amy Chavez grew up in a small town in southern Ohio, USA. She lives on Shiraishi Island, an island of 800 people, in Japan's Inland Sea. As the writer of "Japan Lite", she attempts to explain some of the complexities of Japan through her own experiences.

Click HERE to visit Amy's website.

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking Sites.
It helps give the page "votes” and it helps you find this page later on!

©Margie Culbertson

Home Back to The Humor and Life, in Particular Home Page