The professor very deliberately rose from his chair, leaned over the top of his desk. "I am going for postprandial walk and I don't give a fillip if my erudition is interrupted." He straightened, turned and walked towards the classroom door.
"Professor?" He heard from the middle of the room.
"Yes," He said as he turned towards the voice.
"What did you just say?" It was Doug speaking. "I did not understand."
"I said; I am going for a postprandial walk and I don't give a fillip if my erudition is interrupted. What did you not understand, Doug?"
"I don't know what postpran...that word means, I never heard it before. I think you were speaking french in the next sentence. What is a fill - up?"
"Is there anyone else that didn't understand?" All the class raised their hands. "Well, Tu Hablar Espanole? Raise your hand." About 1/3 of the class raised their hands. "Sprechen Sie deutsch?" Four students raised their hands.
"None of you understood perfectly good English, but you understand foreign languages. Why?" Professor was back at the front of the class now.
"That was English? post - pran - di - al? Please, tell us what it means." Other students nodded in agreement.
"Okay, pull out your dictionaries and look it up."
"You mean it's in OUR dictionary?"
"Yes, It's in there." Professor got his dictionary and turned to the P's while he waited for his class to catch up. "Doug will you read the meaning, please."
"Post-pran-dial, after a meal, as dinner." Doug read. "Now, how's the other word...Fill-up spelled?"
"That's f-i-l-l-i-p." The Professor answered. "Shawn, will you read that one?
"Sure." Shawn said as he turned to the F's. "Fillip, to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb. 2. to tap or strike smartly. to make a signal with the thumb and forefinger. Hey, that means a snap of your fingers! Is that correct, Professor?"
"Yes, you got it! That was a good deduction. Now, erudition. does anyone know what that means?"
"Got it!" Doug called "At least I think I do, is it spelled e-r-u-d-i-t-i-o-n?"
"Yes, it is. Read it please."
"Erudition, Noun, knowledge acquired by study, , research, etc ... learning; scholarship. Syn. See Learning. So, you would be learning or doing research while taking an after dinner walk, and you wouldn't give a snap if you were interrupted?"
"That is exactly right, Doug." Professor was very pleased that his sentences had awaken his class to just how much of the English language sounded like a foreign language to them. "Now, your assignment for tonight, class, is to look in your dictionary and pick out two words that you have never heard of before, study the meanings, then use them in a sentence. Write the words, their meanings and your sentences on wide lined paper. Write neatly, because your penmanship will be a part of the grade."
"You mean we can't type our answer? We have to WRITE?" The girl that spoke was astonished. "Why? In our other classes we use the computer."
"You need to learn to write with a pencil or pen sometime." The professor smiled as he said it. "You all had penmanship in grade school. Being in the Ninth Grade does not mean that you have to write less, you will have to write a lot more now. How do you think you will take notes, write letters, and do book reports if the computer is crashed?"
"Well, it doesn't sound like too much to ask, I guess." The girl started looking to see if she even had a pen. “Did you say wide lined paper?”
“I hope not,” Professor replied. “If I did, erase that memory and replace it with college rule paper. That is what we will use in this class.”
“Boring!” Stephen sighed.
“Words are never boring.” Doug said. “I love to read and use them.”
“We will be doing this exercise frequently during this semester.” The Professor told them. Always keep your dictionaries and your pens handy. By the time you are through, you will know more about your language and it won't sound foreign to you any more, I hope. You will improve your vocabulary enough that very few words will
will escape your notice. You will WANT to read and write and maybe one or more of you will become a famous author. Class dismissed.”
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