Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grunt

I have just been checking homework, and came across an amazing sentence. Most of my students write as though they were thinking of something entirely different while they were writing. This is because that is often what they do. I have seen them at it – writing in English (or something faintly resembling English) while chatting with their friends in Japanese – as I walk into the classroom at the beginning of class. When they hand me their 'homework,' I see that they have scribbled it in pencil on a ripped-in-half piece of paper with notes from another class on the back. When that happens, I hand it back and tell them to do it again, because it will get a zero. So they copy it onto a clean sheet of paper and give it back to me the next week, only with new, added mistakes, because they were chatting with their friends while copying it.

This particular student, however, has given me his homework on a nice clean sheet of paper, written neatly, and has made a lot of effort. In fact, you can almost hear the grunts coming off the page. I have given him a high grade for it, because he obviously worked hard at it and spent some time actually thinking. The results might not be perfect, but that's what language learning is all about. You practice, you make mistakes, you practice more, you make different mistakes, and so on.

Here is the sentence that left me gasping in admiration (and feeling slightly dizzy):

This is the story that I pictured a fight with a magician and the boy of powerful darkness to plot the world rule that is the person in question who killed of the boy parents and school life of the boy on the state of the U.K. in the end of 20th century.

Isn't that amazing?

7 comments:

Roy said...

He sort of reads like Charles Dickens.

Badaunt said...

Or Faulkner? I seem to remember getting to the end of a Faulkner sentence and trying to remember how it started.

I suspect both Dickens and Faulkner made more sense, though.

Anonymous said...

Or... Harry Potter... !! though this guy is a much better writer !!

roy said...

I seem to remember getting to the end of a Faulkner sentence

My own sentences can get like that if I'm not careful.

Badaunt said...

Anon: In fact "The Harry Potter series" was the answer to the question (if you can call it a question). Well spotted!

Roy: I also specialize in run-on sentences, according to one of my professors when I was doing my M.A. Apparently full stops exist for a reason. (So that readers can breathe, I suppose.)

T045T said...

Heh, run-on sentences, I know ye well...
I mostly use them as an excuse to use "exotic" punctuation though (semicola and dashes, mostly) (;

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Yah! I picked Harry Potter too! Are you sure this student isn't the creator of Google Translator?