Embarrass, Wisconsin—¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)  Ummm… ¿Hola? (Hello?)   In a comprehensive multiyear study on language teaching, student comprehension, and language use at Navarino State University, researchers released their perplexing findings today: there is no correlation between memorized conjugations and fluent speech. Students couldn’t answer even simple questions with confidence and fluency despite being able to pass test after test. The data, though surprising to researchers, seems incontrovertible. Lead researcher on the project, Justin Schock, PhD, said, “It came as a surprise to the whole team. I mean, if students can memorize 15 formulas for conjugating ‘estar’, shouldn’t they be able to respond to a greeting using the verb in a live conversation?”

Researchers started with the assumption that learning languages is little more than memorizing a series of formulas, but after testing more than 127,000 students in a longitudinal study spanning the last 23 years it appears that their initial assumption may have been partially flawed. Still, the professors do not concede to the findings. “We kept looking for a correlation between memorized conjugations and fluency. We haven’t found it yet, but we all know it has to be there. It just has to. We all agree it must exist, despite the evidence” Schock said.

And the stalwart scholars on the project are not giving up. The upbeat and confident Schock declared, “We are applying for an additional $150 million research grant to continue the project and find a definitive connection between memorizing conjugations and fluid communication. Since so few teachers are teaching with conjugations these days, we are making the case that they qualify as an oppressed minority group, so there may be federal funds available to study their plight and continue this important research.”

News That’s Fake, But Not by Much

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