There are ups and downs to being a teacher. The downs? Grading papers and skulking the students to pay attention and listen in class. The ups? I can tell and laugh about the student’s mistakes afterwards.
Aside from that argument with the grammatical error, I have had some good times over the past two years. One of the things that brought me equal parts pain and laughter is how my students pronounce the letters “m, n, and z“.
Normal people pronounce the letter “m” like “am“, “n” like “an“, and the letter “z” like “zzz” but for some reason, if you’re from Northern China, you pronounce the letter “m“, “am moo“, “n“, “un“, and the letter “z” sort of like “tsay“. Weird, right? I mean, who is teaching these people to say it this way?
That first day I heard it, I tried to correct them over and over. I say “am” but they somehow felt the need to add the “moo” at the end every time like a cow. In the end, it turned out I was the I was the idiot who tried to correct something that CANNOT be corrected.
Apparently, that’s how they use to differentiate between those two letters, by pronouncing it totally wrong. So I gave up and laughed eventually every time I hear the letters pronounced that way. It’s become like when someone tickles your funny bone, you have no choice but laugh.
My former boss is even crazy, he pronounces the letter “g” like “j” and the letter “j” like “jed“. So whenever I spell something to him, if I say “g“, he would write down the letter “j” instead unless I tell him it’s the one with the hook. Well, it turned out that Northern China has a different alphabet pronunciation than the south and I just never knew it.