Dispatches from the classroom

Oh the illusive “ne…que” Why is it a negative when it’s stating a positive fact? Why??? This is something that can only really be taught by example. (And by “only really” I mean only really if you teach somewhere whose reputation for immersion learning must be kept intact…at all costs…don’t speak any English…EVER…do you hear me?…seriously, we’re not kidding about this… … Whatever it’s fine…)

Somehow, this example stuck with them :

“Etudiant X, est-ce que vous avez trois oreilles?”

“Non! Je n’ai que deux.”

“Etudiant Y, est-ce que Van Gogh a deux oreilles ?”

“Euuuhhh, oui ?”

[“Ach! Zut! Merde ! Mais qu’est-ce qu’on t’enseigne dans ces putains de lycées ???”]

“Etudiant Z, vous pouvez l’aider ? Combien d’oreilles a notre ami Van Gogh ?”

“Madame…je pense…que…Van Gogh n’a que…une oreille !”

And then, just to see how much knowledge has been downloaded from the internet onto their brains, and to réviser nos temps de verbes, we did the wives of Henri the 8th (il n’y avait que 6) Die Hard films (il n’y aura que 5) senators per state (il n’y a que 2) continents (7) ingredients in a PB&J sandwich (discutable) and children of Brangelina. (Ils n’ont que quatre…et ça suffit.)

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