Me Talk Pretty One Day by Davis Sedaris
In this essay, David Sedaris takes a stroll down memory lane in his anecdote about his experience learning to speak French in Paris, under the rule of a cruel dictator-like teacher. He describes certain moments of intense cruelty of the teacher, such as when one girl in his class doesn’t know the correct irregular past tense of the verb to defeat. The girl was poked in the eye with a freshly sharpened pencil, and the teacher, although remorseful, did not spend much time apologizing. The students in the class are not fluent in French, and their halting sentences, when translated, sound like “sometime me cry alone at night…that be common for I, also, but be more strong, you.” This is the exact way that a student of a foreign language would speak, and it illuminates the difference between speaking a language so that others could possibly understand you, and understanding the language. Understanding and speaking do not automatically go hand in hand, but it is better to understand rather than to speak. Which is the point the author is trying to make through the entire selection. Vocabulary: *note: these words could not be found in any dictionary *meimslsxp; *lgpdmurct; *apzkiubjxow; *palicmkrexis; *fiuscrzsa; *ticiwelmun; *kfdtinvfm; *vkkdyo; *kdeynfulh. Discussion Questions:
Clarification: what exactly is an lgpdmurct?
Application: how does understanding a language differ from speaking a language? •
Style: what is the author illuminating when he says things like “much work and someday you talk pretty”? Quotation:
“I know the thing that you speak exact now. Talk me more, you, plus, please, plus.” (Last line)
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