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Retired Info Tech Project Manager. Born in the British Empire. Educated in Physics. Worked inn Information Technology. Interests - Writing, Theater, Bicycling, Rowing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

English for Speakers of Indian Languages


Anchorwoman Decibella Chatterjee walks into a classroom, with Camraj the cameraman trailing. Decibella looks around, then looks at Camraj questioningly.  He checks a piece of paper in his hand, then nodds at her. Several students seated on chairs arranged in a classroom configuration. 

Decibella:            Cammie, are you sure this is the place?

Camraj:            Yeah, I’m sure.  Classroom 103-5.  This is it all right.  Just settle down and wait for the teacher.

Decibella:            How come the teacher is late?

Camraj:            Must be a woman [DC glares at him] er, I mean, must be the traffic.
Young woman enters, looks around, walks up to a teacher’s desk/podium, sets down her books, faces the students.  Then notices Decibella and Camraj.

Teacher:            Oh, you must be the TV people the Front Office told me to watch out for.

Decibella:            What do you mean, watch out for?

Camraj:            Bella, I think she means, watch for.

Teacher:            No, they meant watch out.  I don’t have time to waste, so just stay out of my way.

Decibella:            Well!

Camraj:            Don’t worry, you just teach your class, and I’ll film the whole thing, so our viewers can see how you prepare these students to do business with Americans.

Teacher:            All right, then! [Faces the students] Good evening!

Student 1:            What’s happenin’ ?

Student 2:            Howzit goin’ ?

Student 3:            How you doin’ ?

Teacher:            [Louder] Good evening!  [Students stare back blankly.]  One of the first things            you should have learnt was to greet the teacher, and one another, properly, like educated people.  [All the students stand up and say, in unison, “Goo divning”.] Don’t forget, this is a class on English for Speakers of Other Languages…

Student 1:            No, it aint.

Teacher:            You mean, “No, it isn’t”.

Student 2:            Right on, Sister!

Teacher:            I am not your sister, and thank God for small mercies.  What class do you think it is?

Student 1:            Englis for ..

Student 2:-            Ispeakers of..

Student 3:            Indian Langauges!

Teacher:            Why a special class for speakers of Indian languages?

Student 2:            Indian languages diphicult…English simple

Student 1:            Indian have trouble learning simple Englis

Student 3:            Einstein could not balance checkbook.  Addition and subtraction were too simple.  He had no problem with higher mathematics.

Teacher:            Enough of this nonsense! Now [looking at Student 1], let us first introduce ourselves.  I am Miss Sethi, your teacher.

Student 1:            Where our teacher, Mrs. Gupta, is?

Teacher:            Your former teacher, Mrs. Gupta, was transferred to another school.  I am your new teacher.

Student 1:            Say what?

Student 2:            Say why?

Student 3:            I say!

Teacher:            Now, tell me who you are. [Points to Student 2] You go first.

Student 1:            Why her?  I wanna go first?

Teacher:            Because I said so.  You don’t want to flunk this course, do you? [Students shake their heads]
Student 2:            I am Gearbox Kaur.

Teacher:            Funny, it sounded like you said “Gearbox”.  I have had Indian students before and I am familiar with some Indian names.  Guess you said Gurbux…

Gearbox:            No, I said “Gearbox”.  My father named all his kids after automobile parts.

Teacher:            How unusual!  Tell me more about your dad.

Gearbox:            Pappaji was President of USA…

Teacher:            What?  Which one?  Was it JFK?  I knew he was promiscuous…

Gearbox:            No, no, not that USA.  Pappaji was president of United Sikh Association in Patiala, India.  He wrote “Product of USA” on auto parts and sold them at a higher price. 

Teacher:            Bless my soul!  And why do you want to improve your English?

Gearbox:            I have travel agency, Safar With Us.  All my customers are Indian.  I want Amrikan customers also.  So I want learn Angrezi.

Teacher:            Commendable. Well, [Turning to Student 1] and who are you?

Student 1:            I am Asok Patel.  I have a donut shop but I want to get a motel.

Teacher:            I see.  [Looking at Student 3] And you?

Student 3:            My name is C.R. Shubramaniam.  Chivas Regal Shubramaniam. 

Teacher:            Sounds like you’ve had some Chivas Regal. [Sniffs the air] Smells like it too.

C.R.:            I had Shingapore Shling for lunch.

Asok:            I had Kingphiser Beer.

Gearbox:            I drink champ-agni and cog-nak only.

Teacher:            Okay, now that we have that settled, let us do some work.  Did Mrs. Gupta give you some work last week?

Gearbox:            She gave ass ointment.

Teacher:            What? Ass…Oh, I see, she gave you an assignment.  What was it?

Asok:            She tell us “Learn phamous Amrikan writing and restitute in class”.           

Teacher:            Oh, she asked you to learn a famous American document and recite it in class?  So – what have you learnt?

Asok:            Deceleration of Indian Pandas.

Teacher:            Decelaration…[Walks over and looks at the paper in his hands] You mean, the Declaration of Independence!  Go on, let us hear it.

Asok:            [Stands up and reads with a serious expression] We hold these truths to be shelf-avoidant..

Teacher:            Self-evident

Asok:            Right….All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creditor with certain unallowable rights…

Teacher:            Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…

Gearbox:            Why only men?  What about women?

C.R.:            Not all women are created equal…[looks at Gearbox, then at the Teacher] Some are actually pleasant to look at.

Gearbox:            Shut up!  What about “endowed” ?

Asok:            [Speaks up because C.R. is standing with his ears covered, in a “Hear no evil” gesture] Some women are endowed; other women not so endowed…

Gearbox:            Shut up! [Glares at them both] Some men are far ahead [indicates a pot belly], some are way behind [indicates a fat derriere].

Asok:            You are talking about C.R.’s behind?

C.R.:            Careful!  You might be guilty of harassment.

Gearbox:            No, I can’t be.  I can only be guilty of his-assment.

Teacher:            That is enough!  Ay-sock, continue.

Asok:            that among these are Life, Liberty and the profit of Happiness. [Looks up from the paper at the Teacher] They made mistake!  It should be “Happiness of profit”!

Teacher:            No, actually it is the pursuit of Happiness.  Enough of this, let us hear from you, C.R.  What are you going to recite?

C.R.:            The Probable to the Constipation.

Teacher:            Excuse me? [Walks over to him, looks at his paper, shakes her head]  Looks like you have chosen the Preamble to the Constitution.  OK, let us hear it.

C.R.:            [Clears his throat, assumes a dramatic pose] We the people of the United States, in order to form a more prefect onion,

Teacher:            a more perfect union

C.R.:            establish just ice,

Teacher:            justice

C.R.:            insure the mystic train quality,

Teacher:            insure domestic tranquility

C.R.:            provide for the cannon defense, promote the general’s warfare

Teacher:            provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare

C.R.:            and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posteriors,

Teacher:            posterity!  I have heard enough!  [Turns to Gearbox]  I hope you have something better to offer us.

Gearbox:            I do.  I have Gaithersburg Address.

Teacher:            [With resignation] OK, recite the Gettysburg Address.

Gearbox:            Four more and seven-eleven hours ago…

Teacher:            Four score and seven years ago

Gearbox:            our fathers brought forth on this continent, …Wait…What about the mothers?

Teacher:            They didn’t talk about the mothers in those days…just about the fathers.

Gearbox:            How stupid!  a new nation, conceived in Liberty – See, how can they conceive with only fathers and no mothers?

Teacher:            Just recite, will you?

Gearbox:            and dictated to the proposition that all men are created equal…I don’t like this.

Teacher:            dedicated..Oh, what’s the use?  I should just flunk all of you and forget about this class.

Asok:            Then we will be back next semester.

Gearbox:            Better to pass us…

C.R.:            … so we go away to another class.

Teacher:            What? [After a moment’s reflection]  Guess you have a point.  OK, y’all pass this class.  Don’t come back next week, you hear?

Decibella:            You bet we won’t even think about it!  Camraj, lets wrap up.

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