Monday, October 03, 2005

They got their own way of talkin'

I have mentioned before that I have lived in Oregon. I wasn't born there, but I wasn't born in Texas, either. The point is that I do not "speak Texan." I have what you might say is a standard, non-inflected American accent like a national newscaster. My mother, on the other hand, is Texas born and bred. Once, some old friends and I sat at my house playing the game of Scattergories with my mother. One of the categories was "Words that rhyme with end." The letter was W. Both the Mother and the Friar, who is also a lifelong Texan, put "wind." Now, if you're from the eastern US, as I am, you find that flat wrong. Now, wend, that rhymes with end. Wind, not so much. But I guess it does here.

This morning, at W Elementary, the 2nd graders were studying the two different sounds of g. Ms. D wrote on the board several words using both sounds. At one point she wrote "gem" and explained that it was a precious stone like jewelry. Then she wrote "gym," noting that it was a place to play. Then she said the two were homophones.

Not to me, they ain't.

But, as all the texts say, you have to teach to the culture, I guess.

There's a southern accent where I come from
The young'uns call it country
The Yankees call it dumb
I got my own way of talkin'
But everything is done, with a southern accent
Where I come from

-Tom Petty, "Southern Accents"

Also at W, I met the principal and got some documents for my American Public School written observation. He gave me the packet they give to all parents. I was hoping for something more internal and revealing, like a food service contract or a book requisition form, but I didn't want to be a nuisance, so I thanked him and left. Now all I have to do it find some way to write a page or so of insightful observation of one of the sheets from the packet. Yes.

It was nice that several of the kids gave me hugs today. One said, "I like you," for no reason and returned to his seat. When I came in, I heard someone say, "Yay! He's back!" I am aware that young kids' affection is pretty non-discriminatory and they naturally latch on to any older figure who isn't actively mean to them, but it's still nice.

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