I keep saying that I think my students’ trouble with ME is not so much ME as small vocabularies in PDE. I’m still working my way through the last batch of translations on the final exam (while wiping my nose, and sneezing, and feeling generally yucky), and I started making a list of perfectly good words that more than one person is having trouble recognizing:
adversity, arse, assent, aught, churl, deem, ere, grisly, haunch, privily, proffer, suffer (in the sense of “allow”), sunder, twain, villainy.
“Arse” keeps coming out as “ears.” It’s not like we didn’t talk about what happens in the Miller’s Tale.
Then there are a couple of phrases that I think of as somewhat archaic, but still, I would have expected them to be recognizable to English majors: “must needs” and “plight troth.”
I’m thinking next year’s exam will have fewer chunks to translate and a very strong insistence on producing grammatically correct sentences that make sense in PDE.