Monday, January 26, 2009

Is "makeconnection" ESL-speak for online dating?

I have a friend from Cambodia who is in my graduate course in teaching ESL. She's really smart and speaks English very well. I was surprised one night when I couldn't understand what she was saying. I was driving her home and she was talking about her uncle. I said, "What does he do for work?" Her answer, I thought, was "makeconnection." She also said it had something to do with airplanes. So, we continued for about ten minutes trying to understand each other. At one point, I got laughing so hard that I had to pull over to the side of the road. I was about the makeconnection with another vehicle!!

The next week, we continued our communication debacle. I kept hearing her say, "Not makeconnection...makeconnection!" I really thought maybe he was a matchmaker or something. Finally, something clicked. She thought she had to put a "tian," or "cian," ending on the occupation...electrician, pediatrician, mathematician. So, the mechanic became mechaniccian...or makeconnection.

I know, too, that we native English speakers can cause lots of confusion. More about that, later.

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