Saturday, April 4, 2009

English Trainer Chronicles: Garlic

I know the French word for garlic: ail. I have Italian students too, but it never occurred to me to look it up. Now I know:

aglio aglio aglio

My learner wanted to know what "garlic" was, and I wanted her to come up with the meaning on her own. But it was a slow day--for me.

Me: (Thinks of how I cook spaghetti.) Do you know "onion"?
Learner: Yes, I know onion.
Me: Well... it's not an onion.
Learner: Okay, so it's not an onion. (Laughs out loud.)
Me: (What did I get myself into?) So, garlic is not an onion... (D'oh!) It's white and you have to peel off many layers of skin. And it comes in a bulb, so you have to take it apart, because you only use some of the parts. Then, sometimes, to use it in a dish, you have to crush it.
Learner: Crush?
Me: You know, you use a mortar and pestle fork to make it, er, flat?
Learner: Oh, I know! Vampires ate garlic!
Me: No... vampires don't like it!
Learner: Yes, vampires ate garlic!
Me: (Thinks back to my days playing Vampire: The Masquerade) No, they don't like garlic!

Then I realized we were pretty much saying the same thing. She just wasn't, like many of my learners, pronouncing the letter h.

P.S.

Proof I was a vampire--specifically, a Toreador--from Lorie's collection of college photos: