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Pawpcorn

What Else? ไม่เข้าใจ "What Else!"

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Last night... teaching adult Elementary English D, (meaning they have been learning for 100 hours already!)

Unit 13 book topic was Education and Careers... and we'd been in this unit now for 3 2-hour classes.

Book question was: "What languages are taught in Thailand {your country}?

One student said "English", so I held up my hand with one finger up, and said "Ok, and...?" long pause... blank stares...

Finally I said "What else?"... more blank stares... this time looking like they didn't understand the expression "What else?", so I wrote "What else?" on the board... and got more blank stares!

In disbelief, I said, "Come on, you're not telling me that after learning in this class for a YEAR, you've NEVER heard the expression "what else" and you don't understand??? And again, I held up my hand, counting off, first finger up, saying "English..." trying to raise second finger, while saying "And...????"

More blank stares...!!!

Finally I said... "Chinese...???" and everyone went "OOOHHHHhhhhh!!!"

Jesus, ไม่เข้าใจ {mai koh jai} "what else!" AAAaarrrggg...!!!

A little later we got to talking about "phrases" (one example being "what else" lol) and it turned out that they didn't know the word "phrase" either.

[One piece of background info on this situation is that it WAS a small class last night, only 3 students out of 11 bothering to show up, being as how Friday, today, is Mother's Day...

AND another teacher had taken over the class for almost all of "Elementary C", but they gave the class back to me, after the students repeatedly petitioned the staff for my return... finally threatening that they would NOT PAY to renew for Elementary D, unless they returned me, as their teacher. So I haven't been their teacher for the entire 100 hours (does that let me off the hook for them not knowing some basic words or phrases? 555) and we clearly REALLY like one another, and really have a great rapport...]

Soon afterwards, we got around to the more serious business of playing UNO!... 555

Sometimes teaching English here takes a saint's patience... and the experience can be unbelievable.

On the UPside, I DID learn a new Thai word last night "bone", {falling stress}, for "complain" and refined my pronunciation of "lume" {falling stress}, for "forget".

THAT word of "complain" came up, as part of my opening (conversation) question, to the class... asking the question "Have you ever complained about a meal?" explained to mean in a restaurant, and "ever" meaning in your lifetime...

NOT surprisingly, (considering Thai culture) only ONE of the three students had ever complained! And that turned out to be a complaint about... having ordered a meal off a menu without prices... being surprised that the meal cost so much! I was thinking maybe this was some Hi-So restaurant or something... and I asked him... how many people eating, and how much was the bill? He said just himself, and I nearly fell off the chair when he said the bill was THIRTY BAHT!!!! 555

TIT, too funny, really, you couldn't make this stuff up.... truly Amazing Thailand. 555

Edited by Pawpcorn

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On the UPside, I DID learn a new Thai word last night "bone", {falling stress}, for "complain"

I think you may have misheard.

The word for " to complain" is "Bon" บ่น (Low tone)

Great post! I do enjoy reading about people's experiences of the quirky side of our linguistic and cultural differences here.

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Your students aren't alone. I've run into a lot of students who do not understand 'what else'. It's not the easiest concept to teach. I usually get a student up and have them ask me something like 'What fruit do you like?". I answer 'apples'; point to the phrase on the board for the student to say, and then reply 'oranges', and repeat it several times.

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Be and sure to stick with English when posting here. There is a sub-forum for Thai language. English is the only allowable language on the other sub-forums.

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On the UPside, I DID learn a new Thai word last night "bone", {falling stress}, for "complain"

I think you may have misheard.

The word for " to complain" is "Bon" บ่น (Low tone)

Great post! I do enjoy reading about people's experiences of the quirky side of our linguistic and cultural differences here.

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, the error was more in my attempt to type a transliteration... I know it's like cross between "bon", "bun" and "burn" (the later pronounced with a British accent... sometimes transliteration from Thai is a bi*ch 555

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Your students aren't alone. I've run into a lot of students who do not understand 'what else'. It's not the easiest concept to teach. I usually get a student up and have them ask me something like 'What fruit do you like?". I answer 'apples'; point to the phrase on the board for the student to say, and then reply 'oranges', and repeat it several times.

OH! Thanks for the insight! I can usually think my way through difficulties that are the result of cultural differences between American and Thai cultures, because I DO understand a lot of Thai background and culture... but I must admit... I'm still struggling on understanding this particular one.

I guess, maybe I figured I was helping by saying "and...?" to clarify the meaning of "what else"... but certainly, some times I just can't "get inside the Thai mind" to understand the difference, or lack of concept of something like "what else" AKA "and...?"

Great idea, btw, to turn the tables, and have the student be the one asking the mystery question... Great leaning tool, that I'll try to employ more often!

Always on the learning curve, for life, to be sure.

Thanks too for the point of use of Thai characters here! I'll avoid using them, in the future.

Edited by Pawpcorn

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