Just some reflections on the writings of the students.
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Well, I have just read all of the stories written by our member "studentsofenglish." I have also rated (rather generously) and commented on every story. I would like to give you my thoughts and feelings on the submissions by these youngsters, who displayed a bit of courage in posting these writings.
"studentsofenglish" is a group of high school students from Peru. They are roughly the equivalent of the US freshman or sophomore in high school, and they are learning English as a second language. They are starting with a combination of both written and spoken. The topic their teacher chose for them was "Friendship," which can be either complex or simple. And, in my humble opinion, these youngsters rose to the occasion.
The stories of friendship dealt with boy-boy, boy-girl, girl-girl, adult-youth, human-animal (almost always a dog), and teacher-student. The joys of friendship, the pain of betrayal, and the loss of a friend, either through circumstance or death, are all explored. Even teenage angst is dealt with, and dealt with quite nicely. Some of the stories are sad, and some are happy. Some are set in a classroom, and some are in a fantasy setting. And some of the settings, plots, and details of these were clearly beyond the individuals' skill with English. However, they still tried.
The students obviously composed their stories in Spanish, and then translated them to English. This, at times, made for some quite difficult reading. Remembering that Spanish is a Romance language and quite musical, I attempted to impart a rhythm to the stories. Most of the time this worked. Sometimes it didn't, and then I was stuck with a tough read. No matter; I soldiered on. And I do believe I have grown a bit from the experience (not in my midsection, which has grown enough!)
Some of the stories were sad, and I had to pause before moving to the next. Some were highly entertaining. And some were humorous, although I did not think the writer meant to be funny. I would encounter phrases such as "Juan ran away from the bear with great acceleration" and "My brain sent a fax to my stomach, causing the nausea." While these are grammatically correct, I really don't know anyone who speaks or writes this way. I believe some of the language appeared the way it did is because of the European custom of putting an article in front of a proper noun. Hence, "Richard went to the hospital to get the cure."
Initially, reading the stories was tiresome and stressful. But I pressed on, and I was glad that I did. The rich variety of settings and plots, all dealing with friendship, never ceased to amaze me. No two stories were alike. And while there were wide swings in the students' abilities to express themselves in English , the fertile imaginations of these youngsters made it all worthwhile. By the time I was about one-third through the stories, my attitude had changed and I began to look forward to the next one I was going to read. I even encountered an anime story about a female spy and her friend, set in Japan!
So, for me, it was a worthwhile effort. I hope some others will take the time to read, rate, and comment. And I hope, as these youngsters continue their English studies, they will continue to contribute to The Den.