Saturday, May 15, 2010

the graduate

Yellie graduated last night with a Masters in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language). There were only two who received diplomas in that field, the first graduates of Multnomah's TESOL program. She already has a job teaching English to immigrants in her neighborhood. In fact, there are jobs waiting for Danielle all around the world . . .

It's kind of funny that Danielle picked a degree that involved teaching English, as she had difficulties pronouncing it as a child. Her troubles stemmed from the fact that she had a penchant for reading books way beyond her grade and experience level--she constantly came across words she'd never actually heard pronounced. Being slightly dyslexic and trained in phonics, Danielle came up with the most unique pronunciations of ordinary words.

So unique that it sometimes took us a while to figure out what she was talking about . . .

"Mom, why does Amy Grant sound so melatchunee?" Danielle asked one day when we were driving home from buying groceries. She was probably 13.

"Melatchunee?" I repeated, trying unsuccessfully to guess what word she'd meant.

"Yeah, she just sounds so sad when she sings," Danielle offered. "Why is that?"

"Oh, you mean melancholy," I said, tickled at her mangled interpretation. We never got to the bottom of Amy's issues, but at least I solved the mystery of the unidentified word.

Most of her "Danielle-isms" weren't too hard to decipher. Buffet was buff-ette, macabre became macaburr, she pronounced bury as burree.

Her most infamous mispronunciation occured during her undergraduate studies at Multnomah. Danielle had to give a speech in one of her classes on the Reformation. So for 20 minutes, she stood before the class and waxed eloquent on the Catholics and Protestants. Only she pronounced Protestant with the emphasis on the second syllable--protestant.

And no one pointed out her error until she'd finished her speech . . .

Maybe Danielle will have an intuitive understanding of what her non-English speaking students are trying to say because of her own experiences :) At any rate, we are so very proud of her and excited to see what doors this degree opens for her.

Danielle may have just earned her graduate degree, but in a few months she's going to be a student all over again--and learning to speak baby!

PS Krispin got to walk with Danielle last night. He graduated in December with a Bachelors in Biblical Studies and is currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling. We are so proud of him, too!