Cornish, U.S. students hold teleconference
About a dozen elementary school kids compared notes on vacations, pets, food, sports, musical instruments, punishment for incomplete homework and teen-age siblings Thursday by teleconference video-phone. Sometimes teachers and librarians had to translate.
Several Scotten School students sat in two rows of folding chairs in the community room of the Madelyn Helling Library in front of a television screen showing a watery image of a similar number of students at St. Mary’s School in Cornwall, England.
It was before school in Nevada County and after school in Bodmin.
“Have any of you ever been to England?” one girl sitting in the Bodmin library asked.
“No,” the Scotten students answered.
“You should come because it’s great!” the Cornish girl responded.
“How many people are at your school?” another Cornish girl asked.
“About 500,” the Scotten students said, with prompting from teachers.
“Wow! That’s loads!” a Cornish girl said with an accent straight out of a Harry Potter movie.
For questions about sports, teachers and librarians explained that in England, football is soccer and net ball is volleyball.
Questions not readily understood by Cornish students were answered with “I beg your pardon?”
“What do you like best about where you live?” a Cornish student asked.
“The town is really natural. It’s not near a city,” answered Scotten student Brittani Nix.
Scotten students were initially stumped when asked what they liked least about where they live.
“No shopping malls,” Grass Valley girls said.
Scotten students learned Bodmin usually gets about “one millimeter of snow” and that teen-age sisters are “horrible, just horrible.”
Lucinda deLorimier, a library assistant who handles children’s programming, said the librarians in the sister cities of Bodmin and Grass Valley have been in touch about genealogy, since so many Cornish families came to Grass Valley to work in the mines.
John Pengilley, a librarian in Bodmin, contacted Alisa Austin, a library assistant at the Helling Library, and suggested they get kids together for a video conference.
DeLorimier thought of recruiting Sue Madigan’s combined fourth- and fifth-grade class because “Sue is good at getting kids out of the classroom.”
The St. Mary’s School students came to the library in Bodmin to learn about the people who emigrated to California, DeLorimier said.
The Scotten students came to the Helling Library Wednesday to learn about Cornwall.
Scotten students asked if any of the St. Mary’s students had relatives in Grass Valley. No.
Pasties, the Cornish version of an empanada, were a major subject of discussion.
Joe Swabeck, one of Madigan’s students, said that about 60 kids – who had studied Cornwall the previous day – thought up the questions to ask and narrowed down the list.
DeLorimier had to break up the party, telling the Cornish students that the Grass Valley students still had to go to school, even though it was nearly 4 p.m. in Cornwall.
The Cornish students signed off singing “Merry Christmas to You,” adapting the English expression of “Happy Christmas” for American ears.
The Grass Valley kids, teachers and library assistants applauded almost loud enough to make a trans-Atlantic phone connection unnecessary.
Here are some examples of the difference between American English and Cornish English:
NFrench fries = chips
vacation = holiday
recess = playtime
commercials = adverts
soccer – football
movies = cinema
pastie = pastie
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