Thursday, March 23, 2006

Homework, the easy way

Recently, two students emailed me their homework - and very strange homework it was, too. Having taught university students for a few years now, I immeditaely recognized what I was looking at. The assignment was to list ten goals they had for the next ten years.
Here are the two emails (lightly editted to hide identity and with my favorite entries highlighted)

How are you the Brian Dean teacher....
my name's **** ****
my number : 200******

I must want doing after 10 years
1) With the pretty wife it will get married
2 )It wants doing the engineering works day which I am majoring now
3) It joins to the early rising football sliced raw fish and morning will exercise
4) Health to come and go and manage inside oneself
5) The hook will come and go with a hobby
6) One it wants learning the musical instrument. Piano??
7) Will acquire the engineering works technical company qualification certificate
8) Will change a travel in Italy. And Canada??
9) Will associate the Canada friend. Brian Dean
10) ) And now it is in that person and travel. From Italy
^^ have a! good time

Monday 5.6 periods class repot
Hagosips are 10 after 10 years

1)I want to get married

2)I want to have child
3)I want to have robust rectum
4)I want to earn much money
5)I want to go to travel
6)I want to have good wife
7)I should like to be easy life
8)Is dutiful to parent
9)There should like to be much good fatality
10)Day should like to be full

Major:With engineering works environmentology
Name:Lee ***-****

Let's see. The first assignment is in the third person-inanimate. " will get married." This is the first clue to what the student has done- use an internet translator like Babelfish.

This is because the subject is not always requried in Korean. The example I use in class is "사과를 좋아한다" - "like apples" or in proper English, 'I like apples." The internet translator usually chooses the simpliest pronoun -'It".

The second clue is found in the third entry " sliced raw fish". Masuro helped me here. The Korean would have been "죽구회" or Chuk-gu hoe. 'Chuk-gu' is football or soccer. the tricky word is 'hoe'. You don't use in the garden for describe inner-city women with this hoe. I usually find the word 'hoe' on restaurants - it means raw fish - usually sliced. With a sport, though, it means 'league' or 'club'. The student wants to join a soccer league to get some exercise.

The situation must be the same for 'hook come and go with a hobby' entry and the two highlighted entries in the second student's homework ('Robust rectum' and 'many good fatality') although I am unable to guess the root words and what the translation error is.

This being Korea, with it's citizen's fascination with asses, farts and more in the vein, maybe the student does want a robust rectum - that may be protection from 'ddong chim'- a two-finger stab between the cheeks.

Oh, 'hagosips' translates as 'wants'. I don't know why the translator simply changed the alphabet.

I feel sympathy for the students and they did hand their homework in way early. I like that enthusiasm so I gave them the opportunity to hand in the assignment again with no penalty.

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