I encourage my university students to consume non-commercial media like BBC, PBS and NPR. I also try to turn them on to podcasts – there are so many good ones out there. This year, one student in particular took my advice to heart. Each week, he would come to class and tell me about some new English language show or podcast he had discovered. A lot of it was pretty sophisticated stuff.
One time he was really excited about a fascinating find – it was called “Dead Dogs”.
“Dead Dogs?!” I asked, incredulously, “That sounds awful! Are you sure that was the name?”
“Yes, Dead Dogs. It’s about all different themes in science and technology . . . it gets millions of clicks every day.”
“And . . . so . . . why is it called ‘Dead Dogs’?”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure what ‘Dead’ stands for.”
“Spell out the name for me, will you?”
“D – E – D . . .”
“Wait a sec. ‘Dead’ is spelled D – E – A – D.”
“No, I am sure that it is D – E – D.”
We stared at one another for a while in silence and confusion.
“I have an idea,” I said, “write down the name so I can see it.”
Here’s what he wrote:
The following week we did some work on pronunciation.