Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crazy answers from student exams

Question: Although Old English had contact both with Celtic languages and Romance languages, it was far more heavily influenced by Romance than Celtic. Explain briefly why this was.

Actual student answers:

"The Celts were inferior."

"The Romans were more evolved."

"Dutch is very similar to English." (Yes, I know: WTF?)

"Celtic was always a minority language." (What, including when it was the ONLY language family in the country?)

"Language influence generally spreads from the people conquering to the people who get conquered. Romance conquered the French, and the French conquered the Celts, and the Anglo-Saxons conquered the English. Celts didn't conquer anybody. They just fought a lot. So only the Anglo-Saxons and Romance languages influenced English."

Almost, but... no.

And this is why 90% of the exam was problem sets rather than short answers. Otherwise if the giggling fits didn't kill me, the urge to throw myself or my students off a bridge would.


Bardiac said...

My very favorite short answer response ever: The idea was that you had to say something about the identification and link it to a Shakespeare play.

1603: The year Queen Elizabeth died and Queen James came to the throne.


The History Enthusiast said...

Bardiac--that's great! I've had some pretty terrible ones myself. I really do wonder where students come up with these things.

Oh, and speaking of English kings and queens, here's a good one that I have gotten frequently over the past couple years:

Question: Which English colony in North America was named after Queen Elizabeth?
Answer: Virgina

They got the answer right, but for some reason students here always spell it Virgina and I always giggle because when you say it aloud it sounds like "vagina." It's totally immature, I know.