Saturday, March 03, 2007

Of bite-less dogs, proverbs, and ESL teaching to doctors

We were exchanging proverbs while talking current events.

“A dog who pontificates loudly and speaks... er… without halt…. He cannot… yes, he cannot, before stop, make blood from your ankle.”

My Romanian student smiled sheepishly, as if asking her perfectionist, Gastrology-studied Self for permission to be silly. After apparently having received said permission, she embarked on a theatrical, gesturing voyage that involved opening and closing her thumb and index finger as if they had been pasted together by slow-drying rubber cement.

“Yes. Some dogs, you know, speaks dissertations loudly,” she explained as her thumb and pointer finger kissed each other in rapid, uninterrupted succession.

Ok, I thought: some dogs talk a lot.

“And these dogs,” she continued, eyebrow-pointing at her spastic fore-finger, crabclaw-like performance, “do not can bite for blood.”

Her fingers deflated, bored.

Ok, I thought… Edward ScissorHands can’t cut hair artistically….verbose dogs don’t draw bloodloud dogs have no bite

“His bark is worse than his bite!” I cried, proud and relieved. I’d finally gotten what she was trying so dramatically to tell me.

“No! No!” she almost yelled, breaking enthusiastically from her characteristic, Med Grad stoicism, “like this, but different. He is like a empty cup who makes many bubbles, but has no boiling water…”

Alright, I thought… A Mormon beer carries no kickone passionate individual does not sway the social tidea peacock's plume out-weighs its meat…?

“No,” she clarified, “ He is like a loud dog with too much talk, but decreased thought. It’s means this dog is not of cleverness, but he boils his water anyway.”

And, finally, I understood the English proverb she was trying to find:

“Empty vessels make the most noise.”

And, yes, yes, my Romanian med student agreed and went on to explain how stupid (as she put it: “non-clever”) people often tend to talk too much.

And, though I wanted to point out how interesting the cross-cultural parallels between our respective proverbs were…

I shut up.

I couldn’t say another word.

After all, who wants to be a barking, empty vessel? Or a boiling dog bitch with no vampiric bite?

**Edit/Update: And, now you can see, perhaps, why teaching English as a second language can drive one slowly insane...

6 comments:

Cap'n Rich said...

You just tickle the dog crap out of me.

Are you certain that slowly is your intended modifier for insane?:)

-c, did you ever think that all of your brilliant posts are just a computer crash away from POOF!
gone forever?

Can't you write a book or something?

dingobear said...

Oh my God -c, I believe that your Romanian student could be the second coming of Confucius himself!

Keep the hilariousness coming ...

Nico said...

And to think I am signing myself up for more and more of this? Unfortunately the conversation levels I am lucky enough to deal with tend to veer towards the "Do you like red room?"

Kerry said...

I found that empty vessels tend to make the most noise when filled with alcoholic beverages to the point of debauchery ;-)

I am glad we found each other. It has been entirely too long since we spoke.

-c said...

cap'n rich- you are absolutely correct- there is a more fitting adverb to describe my meltdown into insanity: as-is-edly
And, yeah, the book's being written: "Outskirting Bloggers and the Secret Lives they Lead". You are a main character!

dingobear- I know, i always knew Confucius would visit me. i just never kew he could teach me romanian too.

nico- I'm jealous of you! Afterall, we all really dream of the day we are asked about our feelings about red rooms....

kerry- cheers! May our lives be spiked with ocassional loud vessels!

Frustrated Writer said...

I have found an empty dog barking at night tends to boil quickly while being watched. Or something like that. It was soooooooooo good to get a -c post on a rather hectic day!