Composition 23 先生方のおかげです

95% of my English consists of what I learned in my school days of six years. Many industrious teachers had given me the basic knowledge of English grammar, and owing to that, I could start the training of English composition when I made up my mind. I can never appreciate their lectures enough.


One day, an English teacher asked us, "Do you know the longest English words?" No one in our class could answer. She said, "All right. I show you the answer." and began to write something on a chalkboard. When her hand stopped, there was a crazily long word on the board; pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. "This is one word. It means a kind of lung disease caused by volcanic dust," she explained.
Why did she ask such a question? Maybe she wanted to tell us, "You can memorize no matter what words if you review it repeatedly."

なぜ先生は私たちにそんな質問をしたのだろうか? もしかしたら「繰り返せばどんな単語も覚えられるんだ」と伝えたかったのかもしれない。

Another day, another teacher also asked us, "Do you know the longest English words?" I can't recall who of us answered this question, but I remember the teacher's explanation very well. He said, "The right answer is 'smiles' because there is one 'mile' between two letters of s." Maybe he wanted us to understand that foreign cultures have a sense of humor as well as ours.

「正解は smiles だ。なぜなら、2つの s の間に mile がある、つまり2つの s が1マイルも離れていることになるからだ」