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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Unhappy Leona Gooch-Hatton

    Hi and good evening from Germany. My daughter was born here and attends a German school. She is however British and we only talk English at home. She recently wrote a book review where the results were not as good as normal. On checking through her test paper I found a couple of the answers which she gave, and which she lost points for, to actually be in my eyes just fine. Could you tell me what you think and the reasons why.
    1. She wrote: The book is about an old man named Mr Pignati. The answer was marked as incorrect and the teacher wrote that it should have been "called Mr Pignati" .
    2. She wrote " Lorraine is shy and hasn't much self confidence and John is the total opposite" The teacher said it should have been "complete opposite".Another point lost.
    She has also been told that her pronounciation of opposite is wrong and that it should be o p p o s y t e and not o p p o s i t as we pronounce it at home.
    I would be very grateful for your comments.
    Kind Regards fro Germany,
    Leona

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #2

    Re: Leona Gooch-Hatton

    Oh boy. Don't talk to me about German teachers of English -- I have clashed with them before and even ended up persona non grata at the Berlin School Board because I might be a native speaker, but I wasn't trained in the German school system and therefore know nothing about teaching English. (That's almost an exact quote, by the way.)

    1. You are correct, the teacher is wrong, plain and simple.
    2. OK, it's a bit mean to deduct a point for that, but "total opposite" strikes me as stylistically a little too informal for this task. "Complete opposite" is OK-ish, but I'd prefer "exact opposite" as being the usual collocation.

    The pronunciation issue drives me nuts, because I seem to spend half my teaching hours trying to correct pronunciation errors (some pretty major) picked up from school -- the pronunciation of "opposite" is one I have noticed, too. You're quite right: I have never heard a native speaker pronounce it the "German" way. (Of course, knowing how things operate on this board, some native speaker is going to post to say, "Well, I've always pronounced it that way.")

    As for what to do about it, there's probably very little. If the teacher is making such judgements on your daughter's pronunciation despite knowing that she is bilingual, the chances are you're dealing with the sort of haughty know-all cannot-be-contradicted I-have-a-Masters-and-you-don't sort of teacher that Germany produces so many of, and this teacher is unlikely to let mere facts get in the way of established teaching methods. Teachers like that hate being corrected by the unqualified masses, and particularly resent it from native-speaking upstarts.

    You know the teacher's wrong, I know the teacher's wrong, your daughter knows the teacher's wrong, but I expect you may just have to live with that and let the teacher teach the others in whatever way he or she deems appropriate.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Leona Gooch-Hatton

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hi and good evening from Germany. My daughter was born here and attends a German school. She is however British and we only talk English at home. She recently wrote a book review where the results were not as good as normal. On checking through her test paper I found a couple of the answers which she gave, and which she lost points for, to actually be in my eyes just fine. Could you tell me what you think and the reasons why.
    1. She wrote: The book is about an old man named Mr Pignati. The answer was marked as incorrect and the teacher wrote that it should have been "called Mr Pignati" .
    2. She wrote " Lorraine is shy and hasn't much self confidence and John is the total opposite" The teacher said it should have been "complete opposite".Another point lost.
    She has also been told that her pronounciation of opposite is wrong and that it should be o p p o s y t e and not o p p o s i t as we pronounce it at home.
    I would be very grateful for your comments.
    Kind Regards fro Germany,
    Leona
    I completely agree with Rewboss. This teacher needs a refresher course or a personality transplant. I don't even find "total opposite" to be a problem. The first definition of "total" in the AHD is "complete". As to "opposyte", that is simply laughable.

  4. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #4

    Re: Leona Gooch-Hatton

    In cultural context, Germany is a meritocracy, which means that people tend to be ranked according to academic qualification, regardless of whether they are actually any good at what they do. Many of the old guard insist on being addressed with their full title, which mentions all their post-grad qualifications, so you'll find quite a few "Herr Professor Doktor Doktor So-and-Sos" running around. If you are a mere So-and-So, BA (Hons), you don't stand a chance.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Leona Gooch-Hatton

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    In cultural context, Germany is a meritocracy, which means that people tend to be ranked according to academic qualification, regardless of whether they are actually any good at what they do. Many of the old guard insist on being addressed with their full title, which mentions all their post-grad qualifications, so you'll find quite a few "Herr Professor Doktor Doktor So-and-Sos" running around. If you are a mere So-and-So, BA (Hons), you don't stand a chance.
    In my limited experience with German education (veterinary medicine) ehat you say is very true. In many cases there is only one full professor in a department and he/she is treated like a god/goddess.

    Once when I was lecturing in Germany, a full professor from one of the German veterinary schools challenged my statement that the gas in the stomach of bloated dogs does not arise from bacterial fermentation. He rose to his feet and angrily denounced my statement. There was a buzz in the room. Then I informed this man that the gas has been analyzed and found to contain a high percentage of nitrogen, leading to the conclusion that the gas is swallowed air. A hush descended over the crowd. To his credit, the professor said "Nitrogen? Then it must be air." But I got it that I was not supposed to challenge his beliefs.

  6. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Leona Gooch-Hatton

    'Ve haff vays of making you talk'

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