Word To The Wise

| Learning | August 20, 2014

(I study English at a German university. Classes are held completely in English. Sometimes the professors treat us like idiots, even though most of us have been learning English since the fifth grade)

Professor: “Now there are some words in this poem I’m sure most of you don’t know. Has anyone looked up what a ‘scythe’ is?”

Me: “It’s a [German word].”

Professor: “Very good! And what is plowing?”

Me: “It’s [German word].”

(I continue to answer his next five questions about translating words.)

Professor: “Well, I see at least one has prepared for this lesson. Did you look the words up online or in an old-fashioned dictionary?”

Me: “Neither? I mean, I knew what the words meant.”

Professor: “What do you mean you knew? Where did you look it up?”

Me: “I didn’t look it up. I knew the words because I’ve probably heard them before in the past years or had them explained to me. I don’t remember for every single word.”

Professor: “You’re supposed to look up difficult words you don’t know! Did you even prepare for class?”

Me: “”I knew the words! I didn’t have to look them up!

Professor: “You probably didn’t even get most of this poem if you didn’t look up the words!”

Me: “I just told you what all of them mean. How could I not understand the poem if I knew every word?”

Professor: “You’re supposed to look up difficult words!”

(I gave up. From then on when he asked where I knew a word from I simply told him I looked it up online. He never complained again.)

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