English is a bitch

I had a semantics professor in college who had immigrated from Yugoslavia.

He told a sad story about getting in trouble with his own teacher when he was a college student. He was still learning English at the time.

The professor said some confusing things, and my prof-to-be raised his hand. “I understand.”

“Good.” He went on.

My prof raised his hand again. “I understand.”

“Sir, it is not appropriate for you to take class time after every point to tell me you understand. Many people understand. Keep it to yourself.”

My teacher failed the class.

He later learned that the prefix “un-” did not always negate the root. What he thought he had been saying was “I don’t understand.”

If he had only once told his professor he derstood, there may have been a revelation.

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One Response to “English is a bitch”

  1. roberto Says:

    I derstand.

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