Our English teacher was a funny man! His humour, however, did not extend to our inability to grasp the English Language!

I recall, in Gr. 6, he stood at the blackboard, chalk in hand, staring at our uneasy faces. “Please don’t call my name, please don’t call my name…” was the tune that rattled through my brain!

He walked between rows of 30+ kids, dressed in our hand-me down uniforms. Nervousness poured through our glands! No one liked being put on the spot in Sir’s English class!

Os is mos Afrikaans, wat wiet os van Engels?? Wat te fok is n KOLEKTIF NOUN?

His voice vibrated through the wooden walls as his heels dragged across the classroom floor.

“John! A what of fish?”
“A school of fish Sir”
“Freda! A what of flowers?”
“A. Bunch. Sir??”
“Piet! A what of dolphins?”
“Sir? A sea of doll-vins?”
“Piet! Moenie vir jou ligsinnig hou nie! Gaan staan buite!! A group of dolphins is a POD of dolphins”
“Marsha! A what of birds?”
“A flock”
“Fatima! A what of bees?”
“Uhm. Alfabet of B’s?”
“Fatima! A swarm of BEES! Gaan staan buite!”
“Frank! A what of ships?”
“A packet of ships Sir”
“Frank! Ja, kan ʼn skip in ʼn pakkie pas? Moenie vir jou simpel hou nie! Ek het gesê ships, nie CHIPS nie!! Gaan staan buite!”

And this is why, whenever I think of a fleet of ships, I think of this disastrous day, when most of the children in my class got the collective nouns wrongs! Ons is mos Afrikaans Meneer?


“Ships”, is this week’s title of a tandem blog, 3 bloggers 1 title. All published on the same day at the same time. Read my fellow tandem blogger’s interpretation by following the below links. Comments are appreciated!

Celeste: Surviving Jonkersville

Shelley: The Deal Is