"It's a dangerous business, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet,
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to..."
--J.R.R. Tolkein

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quiz Question

The following question appeared on my grammar quiz this week:

Apple is bringing ____ its newest iPod.

Any idea what the answer is? I was teaching a lesson about verbs that take prepositions (which seem to become adverbs when used with these verbs...long story...), and the students needed to fill in the correct preposition/adverb.

Give up? The answer is "out," as in "bringing out."

But the students were puzzled by something else. They did not know what an iPod was.

It seems I have done the impossible. I have found a high school student that didn't know what an iPod was. Call Guinness.

I guess when you zoom out and look at the situation, it kind of makes sense. Most of the major Western corporations haven't made their way into Somaliland yet, and most of my students have never left the country before. One of my colleagues teaches finance classes for university students, and he says that in his examples, he can never mention McDonald's, Burger King, RiteAid, Dunkin Donuts, or Starbucks because it just confuses the students. Also, iPods play music, which (depending on who you ask) is "against Islam!" So I guess they wouldn't have a need for those things.

But seriously: no music, no iPod, and no McDonald's where you can eat a burger while you listen to your iPod. What a strange place to be a teenager.


  1. Just imagine how strange the US will seem to those students who will be studying here... and how will it be for them to go home?

  2. Hey, so I fail at being a good cousin, seeing as I have not caught up with you in far, far, far too long. I liked your post though.

    I'm really impressed by your writing, you've gotten very good! Can't wait to see you again soon.

  3. But seriously: no music (if you mean Britney Spears and 50 Cent, Somali Music is popular), no iPod (Over here we prefer cheap Made In China mp3 players), and no McDonald's (for good! I miss the fresh fruit juices and Sambusas in Harigesa, no seriously)

    The day those stuff invade our country, you won't be spending ''adventure'' days in Somaliland. It will just another poor copy of your US:)

  4. I meant: It will be just another poor African copy of your US:)

  5. Perhaps I have encountered a more extremist vein here, but both students as well as Somali staff members at my school have said that music as well as dance are "against Islam." This post was not in support of capitalist globalization or cultural chauvinism of any kind. I am trying to present my own experience as a Westerner working in a school in Somaliland, a part of the world with which most people are not familiar.

    PS I am glad there is no McDonald's here. I've never liked it.