The English language learners I teach struggle with pronunciation for several reasons. Often it’s because English has sounds, like “th,” not found in their first language. Other times they cannot hear or distinguish between two similar sounds, such as “b” and “v.” And there are times they simply mishear. For example, after hearing a short speech by a native speaker, one of my students asked me why the young woman was advocating for hippos. In fact, she was talking about pit bulls.
Native English speakers also mispronounce and mishear. Children learn “Silent Night” and then ask you why baby Jesus has to “sleep in heavenly peas.” (This is called a mondegreen.) These language errors can cause English teachers who have to grade papers to howl in horror or howl in laughter.
Language is verbal clay and there’s nothing more fun than grabbing a handful to play with. That’s one reason we read and write, isn’t it? The delight in words.
Yesterday at our Thanksgiving brunch, as one of the students left, she said, “Happy Tanksgiving, teacher.” I thought about that all the way home. What if we had a holiday for that?
Tanksgiving: Day of gifts from the Pentagon to the military
Angstgiving: Yearlong gift-giving from teenagers to their parents
Spanksgiving: Day to give to the naughty (You know who you are.)
Banksgiving: Government day to give bailouts.
Franksgiving: National Barbecue Day
Pranksgiving: National Tricksters Day
Shanksgiving: Inmate to inmate prison celebration
Yanksgiving: U.S. Foreign Aid Day
Thanksliving: Lifelong celebration of the good things in life