Friday, March 27, 2009


High on my list of "Things I would never have known if I hadn't become an English teacher": computer games give you a fantastically broad (although sporadic) vocabulary.

Really, in every class I've got one or two boys, usually players of "vohv" (WoW, World of Warcraft) who know the most bizarre terms. Their vocab falls into several categories, some you would expect, some you would not. Like ways to die (evisceration, decapitation, mauling, kidney punch, exsanguinate (!)), weapons and fighters (crossbow, sniper) body parts (intestines, guts, radials), nature (cavern, crag, fjord, misty, bog, outland, swarm, typhoon) and clothing (buckle, slipper, wimple). All of these are words I've heard from vohv students, sometimes used correctly, sometimes not (one boy thought that "maul" meant something similar to "hug").

And I can't escape it at home, either: a few days ago I was talking to Tomi, and he was telling me about children whose parent died, "and they had to go to a, you know, that place.... an orphantry."

"An orphantry? You mean an orphanage?" I asked. He got that puzzled look I see so often on my students' faces, when they know they've said something wrong but aren't sure what, and started laughing at himself.

"Yeah, you know, I was thinking like infantry... but I guess not."

I think it's my favorite thing about life here: Hunglish, English-Hungarian, and the way people's brains work... it's like my whole world is one big word-association game.

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