Elwood 5566

A 'Sick' Site

Posted in Education, esl by 노강호 on September 20, 2010

Learning to swear in English

On the subject of teaching swear words to language learners…

When I lived in Germany I had some friends who attended a dinner party hosted by a high-ranking officer. At the party were a couple of middle-aged Germans who had been trying to improve their English . There was a tense silence when, as the port was being passed down the table, one of the Germans declared, proudly and loudly,  ‘vat a facking gut dinner!’ Teaching swear words can have severe repercussions!

My humour is childish but I don’t really care: laughing is good for you and a hearty laugh every day is as beneficial as a little work out.

So, when I accidentally fell onto a Korean produced vodcast focusing on teaching Koreans how to swear, I was rather interested. I was reminded of my first hakkwon experience back in 2000, where one teacher would invent lyrics to the songs that were slowly driving him mad. One day he called me into his class after he’d changed the words of a song from:

‘I’m clicking cat, how do you do? I’ve got the loveliest smile for you…’


‘I’m clicking clit, how do you do? I’ve got the creamiest clit for you…’

Yes! It was very unprofessional but watching a class of 5 year olds sing a song about ‘clit’s and ‘creamy pussies’ was absolutely hilarious. It’s no justification, but somehow the tedious classes and money grabbing boss who insisted teachers only taught one letter of the alphabet every two weeks, and who treated you badly, diminished any sense of loyalty, responsibility or professional ethic.

Watching a Korean teacher swear in English is just as funny and I’ve replayed the vodcast several times giggling at the incongruity of a Korean (with an accent), saying words like ‘bitch’ and ‘fucking.’ If he was a Korean without a Korean accent it wouldn’t be the least funny. And when he then tells his students not to use swear words, but to listen for them, so that you ‘know what the western bastard is saying,’ all the time with the word ‘fucking’ incorrectly spelt on the blackboard – well, I’m laughing even more. Personally, I’ve never heard the word ‘sick’ used to mean ‘good’ but maybe that’s an Americanism.

Learning to swear in English

I’ve since discovered the Blog,  Brian in Jeollanamdo extensively covered this vodcast  back in July 2010,  and with some pertinent comments, but I nonetheless thought it worth including.

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

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