Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Are 100 words enough?

Apparently, the current England football manager and Postman Pat's stunt double, Fabio Capello, whose name literally translates into English as "fabulous hair", (I may have just made that up!) has claimed that he needs only a vocabulary of 100 words to manage his squad of players.

There has been a number of complaints in the British press that, because of this, he can not be taking the job seriously. If he were he would have taken time to learn our wonderful language.

Now, I feel that I must defend Mr Capello. To me he is a bit of a hero.

His name gets me out of some tricky situations with some of my more difficult students.

Student: Why do we have to learn a language when everyone speaks English?
Me: Fabio Capello doesn't.

I wonder how many of our tabloid journalists know 100 words of Italian? Anyway, Capello did not say that he didn't need to learn English, but that he needed only 100 words to manage his squad. This is not the same thing. He is a football manager. He gives instructions. He is not a professor of nuclear physics, nor is he directing the Royal Shakespeare Company. The mischievous side of me wonders how many of the current England squad know more than 100 words in English. ?

This got me thinking: Do I use more than 100 words when giving instructions to students in my class? Honestly, I don't think I do. I use the same phrases over and over. It doesn't mean that my students aren't learning or that I'm not doing my job properly, does it?

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