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  1. I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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    #1

    Teaching Colloquialisms

    One of the tasks on my CELTA application is to write a bit about the merits of teaching the phrase "Whadda you want?" and "Watcha want?" to students. I'm supposed to write a bit about how teaching it will affect their written and spoken skills. I have a few ideas myself, but I was wondering if anyone could give me a few pointers, or maybe a link to an article discussing the issue. To me, it seems that it would be a positive thing for listening skills, but possible negative for written and oral English, especially in a formal setting obviously. I would also guess that it would be a positive thing to teach to advanced students, but with beginners, it would be better to encourage them not to use such terms.


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    #2

    Re: Teaching Colloquialisms

    Think of the social situations in which you would say, "Whaddya want?"
    We are so familiar with both our language, AND the nuances of social interaction, that we would know when we might use this for comic effect. Until a learner of a language has absorbed enough of this to judge, he is mainly using language parrot fashion - hence, the number of posts asking for the difference between very similar expressions, some highly colloquial, and some formal. Let then try saying something highly colloquial in a very formal job interview and be judged accordingly!
    So, in the same we can recognize those wee dialect words that we occasionally hear, da ya ken, it seems a good idea for students to have them explained if they come across them in watching a DVD movie; but there's enough for them to grasp without making it part of any curriculum.
    And where do you stop? What about teaching them muvver, bruvver, wiv and other variants of pronunciation, Bro??
    Last edited by David L.; 03-Jan-2008 at 18:02.

  2. beascarpetta's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Teaching Colloquialisms

    This is probably the wrong thing to suggest but I did Billy Squier's "Whadda You Want From Me" with beginners and it was a huge success.They were actually starving for some words that didn't have "you needtoknow" all over them.We simply analyzed the lyrics.
    Then again I had students at intermediate level do the Beastie Boys "SO WATCHA' WANT LYRICS" and have them come up with other lyrics/colloquialisms.
    Last edited by beascarpetta; 03-Jan-2008 at 18:54.


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    #4

    Re: Teaching Colloquialisms

    Hi, I know what you mean. However, I do use colloquialisms in my teaching. Since I taught Indigenous children in outback Australia, I had to deal with all sorts of English language variations (the most common one known as Aboriginal English) and I found that teaching the purposes and uses of English in different settings (meaning I didn't just dismiss Aboriginal English or other English slang as irrelevant) greatly aided my teaching of 'school' English. It meant that children were motivated to learn English for different purposes without feeling that they were somehow being criticized for not knowing 'proper English' whenever they messed up.
    I've also included this type of teaching in my online teaching resources. If you ever visit The J.E.M. Site and download songs such as 'The Three Times Table Rap' (actually more hip-hop than rap) you'll see that music is a great way to teach not only things like maths but also to teach about appropriate uses of slang/colloquialisms in a medium most children enjoy (and by getting the children to study them also be able to point out the difference between these sayings and 'proper' English). For this song, it is possible to rewrite it as the four times tables and get the children to come up with more colloquialisms (which I bet they would find hilariously fun) and find yourself teaching as much about 'proper' English in the process as you would if you sat the children down to a dry lesson.
    Anyway, hope this helps.


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    #5

    Re: Teaching Colloquialisms

    One of the themes running through posts is, is it polite to say something this way?
    I trust beascarpetta also explained that when next their mother, teacher, or boss calls out to them, they know NOT to reply, "Waddya want?"

  3. beascarpetta's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Teaching Colloquialisms

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    One of the themes running through posts is, is it polite to say something this way?
    I trust beascarpetta also explained that when next their mother, teacher, or boss calls out to them, they know NOT to reply, "Waddya want?"
    I'm sorry I didn't explicitly comment on this because I thought that this went with the territory.

    The point I was trying to make was (and obviously didn't succeed) that in teaching EASL, colloquialism are very often kept from avid learners at a stage when they are really "embracing" a foreign language.
    Still, I have to say that there are quite a few among my students who will not hesitate to address their parents the way David warned against.
    (but definitely in their mother tongue,as I was told )

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