| Learning | April 5, 2017

(It’s the first day of a beginning Japanese class. The professor’s first language is Japanese, and she’s just moved to the US from Japan, where she previously taught English.)

Professor: “Okay, class, what are the vowels in English?”

Class: “A, E, I, O, and U.”

Professor: “And sometimes?”

Class: “Y.”

Professor: “And sometimes?”

Class: “…”

Professor: “…”

(The professor is still looking at us expectantly, but we have no idea what she’s talking about. We all glance around at each other in complete confusion. Eventually, the professor figures out she’s not going to get an answer.)

Professor: “And sometimes W.”

Student #1: “Uh, what?”

Student #2: “Yeah, since when is W a vowel?”

Professor: “Hmm? In Japan, they teach that W is a vowel in English.”

Student #1: “I’ve literally never heard of that.”

Student #3: “Maybe it is in Welsh or something…”

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