You can tell a lot about a country from its language schools. The things I thought I would be learning at language school included
- survival phrases
- small talk
- eating out, shopping and being a sightseer
- job vocabulary
What I am actually being taught is
- how to watch the news
- how to analyse statistics
- how to argue about some bollocks I know nothing about
I think it says a lot more about them than me that they are basically re-running my English GCSE (hey, foreigners, GCSEs are exams 16 year olds take in my country). I think it says *a lot* that they think they need to show me how to critically analyse anything while they allow me to sink or swim with all the other stuff (for example, how DOES one get through an entire meal in Danish?)
The bollocks my school wanted me to discuss this week happens to be education. Oh, really. How I chuckled. One exercise is discussing advantages and disadvantages of certain modes of learning. Then it only goes and asks me what I think about the Danish education system. Oh how I laughed.
They cannot deport me if I am fair, right?
I also have to discuss something that is in the news. I chose the Conservatives having to climb down from their “IMMIGRANT WOMEN NEED US TO PROTECT THEM FROM CERTAIN CLOTHING CHOICES” headline grab because, ho ho ho, it is un-fucking-constitutional.
Remember when that argument raged on a certain message board I do not use anymore? Well, not one of the “BUT DENMARK IS DELIGHTFUL!! (so stop saying it has its faults)” brigade pointed out that the law would not stand up because it is against human rights and the constitution. If they had said that then surely I would have seen their point about the delightfulness of such a country.
I am working on the basis that they would not ask some indvandrer to comment on the news if they did not expect her to say something along the lines of “HAHA! UNCONSTITUTIONAL! HAHAHAHHA!” In fact, I think what I said was fair:
“Jeg synes at de er ligeglad om kvinde og kvinderettigheder. Jeg synes at de ønskede mere overskrifter og publicity.”
(To the English readers out there: I think they are not bothered about women and women’s rights. I think they wanted more headlines and publicity”)
I also did a listening exercise but it is from Mid/vest Jutland and I have no clue what they are saying. It is too fast, too clicky and too different. Give me some Copenhagenish and I have a chance because that’s the one we hear on tapes. Give me some from my town and I have a chance because I hear it every day.
Meanwhile, when am I practising my pronunciation? There are online webconference things but they are planned at times when I am working which is why I am on the online system in the first place. One of my students got me to read from a book and she said that I read well but I think she has just got to the age where she is willing to lie to spare feelings. I was showing her that I understand what I am reading even if I cannot pronounce it. She said I sounded like Princess Mary. Bless her.
I just sound foreign and it wears me out to think that I am going to have to pronounce like a native just to be understood. What ever happened to being met half way? What ever happened to the person on the other end of the conversation actively trying to make sense of what the foreigner is inexpertly expressing? Who says it is okay to shut someone down with “WHAT SHE SAYING?” in whatever language?
I think it is amusing that they are asking me for my opinions and I am thinking “what, really? Promise you won’t get mad?”