Thursday, June 04, 2009

In addition to the Kim phenomenon, I also have the Bright Kim phenomenon. Bright Kim is an adorable little boy (he just turned 6 this weekend) who is as peculiar as his name indicates. For a long time, I thought that 'bright' was a translation of his Korean name, but Bright is his English name, and Bright Kim is his full name. In this sense, he's a bit like Bob Dole or Matt Boles in that he always goes by his full name.

Bright Kim speaks near-perfect English. He doesn't really have an accent, only a sonorous, somewhat nasal voice that sounds like a cartoon (he told me today that he goes to sleep at 9, after watching The Magic School Bus). It's not just that his voice is strange, his tone is roughly that of a cartoon character (exaggerated, friendly). I was recently surprised to learn, however, that he sounds strange when speaking in Korean because he spends so much time studying English.

Bright Kim likes me, which is good, because he's my favourite student. He has a very large head, useful for storing such facts as "the school bus is tubular", "that's an anemone" and the shape of the African continent. He tends to live in his own world of made-up games and intriguing ideas, which he imposes on other students in my absence.

"Okay! Now let's play the leaping frog game! Okay! You be the frog and I'll be the alligator who's going to catch you! Okay! Let's go! Okay!" His excessive use of the word 'okay' as nothing but filler is the strongest indication that he's well on his way towards becoming a native speaker.

About him liking me: one day I walked into class to find him standing at the board lecturing to the other students, copying my tone of voice and far-too-frequent use of the filler "okay" and "guys". Imitation is the most amusing form of flattery.

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