Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gimme a zed!

Why is it that Americans are the only people who say it's the letter "z"? Yesterday, I met with my 7 y.o. student to continue his English studies. We're starting from ground zero. Yesterday, we reviewed the colors (since he's currently learning them at school). "Purple" is hard for him to remember. And then we went over the alphabet. As we were approaching the last letter, I was in my head deciding what I should call it. It's always been a "zee" to me. But, it's not a "zee" to the rest of the world. And since the French call it a "zed" why not make it easy for him to remember and continue the tradition of calling it a "zed" in English too. It was a difficult decision, but I'm sticking to my guns. And I didn't want to confuse him and explain that only Americans call it a "zee".

As we went down the alphabet, I'd give him a new vocabulary word that began with that letter. So, we get to "p" and he blurts out, "pee pee!", followed by a giggle. I can't fault him there. Bathroom talk really is a universal language.

11 comments:

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

Hi Emily!!!

Oh.. that's too funny!! I know about the zed thing... When I was 19 I lived/worked in NZ and traveled for 2 months in Australia... I came back with a mixed accent... I have always been "aware" of other langs and accents... I do aggree with you about the letter and teaching him to say zed instead of Z... makes more sense, really.. You know in Australia they pronounce the letter "H" as "hache"- pronounced like this -- "hay-ch." Like the hache in France but different accent... and I was thinking to myself.. We Americans would spell it like aych (pornounced ay-ch... with the H sounding almost silent)!! Languages are funny and FUN!!! Thanks for your comments on my blog.... if you have an Auchan, Intermarche' or Carrefour near you.. you can find Rice Krispies cereal... and the shamallows (marshmallows) are in a bag in the candy section- they're very light pink and white... anyhow.. they are MUCH sweeter, I think.. because the rice krispie treats were sooooo goooooood!! Try to make them if you can.. Put just a pat or so of buter in the saucepal and melt it in with the marshmallows... Let me know how it turns out.. Take care, Leesa

Jennifer said...

Hi Emily, how did you get started with teaching English to individual students like that? It seems like a pretty good idea, as I'm considering my options for later on, after baby is born and we're settled into our 'routines', whatever that means! :)

Karen said...

Bathroom humour really is universal and surprisingly popular at all ages. On a completely different note, looking at Leesa's comment I think I need to make some rice crispy treats! Take care!

jesirose said...

I just got back from spending a week with my seven year old brother, whom I haven't seen in over a year (he lives with my mom and dad across the country, and my hubby and I don't get back there very often).

You would be SURPRISED how much a seven year old really can understand if you let them try. He might have asked "why" a couple times, but I think he's more than capable of understanding that some people say Zee and some say Zed. 7 year olds are actually pretty smart.

jesirose said...

PS: I think zed is weird. How many other consonants are pronounced with another consonant in them? Most of them just have vowels. Bee - Zee.
Bed - Zed. It's weird. :)

H is a weird one. I guess W counts.

Yeah :)

Small Girl said...

Poo-poo! Ha ha. "Girls, bathroom talk can only be said in the bathroom." As you and I run in to the bathroom to yell pee-pee and poo-poo at the top of our lungs. Ha ha ha ha :)!

ruthie said...

well in Spain most people learn british english (not me because I grew up abroad) so Z is "zed" and if you say "zee" they don't know what the hell you're talking about so here we have the british to blame for it (sorry if any brit reads this!). I lived in NY for several years and I remember told my boyfriend about this and he thought it was relly weird that there are people that say "zed" instead of "zee". I've always liked the "zee" better too :-)

xox

Penny said...

Despite the fact that I'm aussie, I'm quite used to "zee" having been reared on a diet of Sesame St. But I do have to comment on Leesa's impression of my fellow countrymen/women. With the risk of insulting some of your aussie friends Leesa, only those who are shall-we-say less-educated say haitch (with a h sound), most of us (I hope!) say aitch!

:)

joy suzanne said...

Hey Emily, how do you like giving lessons? I've been doing a lot of "cours particuliers" too, and I'm really enjoying them.

ColourMeCrazy said...

Speaking of bathroom humour, it's probably better that he learns Z as a "zed" and not a "zee" - otherwise, as for "peepee", he could say "zeezee"!!

Emily said...

joy suzanne - I love being an English tutor. So far, it's been a lot of fun and a great experience. I love working with kids and then being paid for it is a bigger bonus. :)