It’s my time of the month and I’m feeling (sic)!

Okay, let me just say that I am not laughing at my students when they confuse English words and malaprop things all over the place. I’ve been in their place. I spent six weeks during the summer of 1999 teaching in Mexico, and I asked a student of mine if I could see his “chaqueta,” which in my mind and on my tongue meant “jacket.” And it does mean “jacket” in Spain, but in Mexico it means “to masturbate” (chaquetar). Basically, instead of asking if I could see his jacket (which was new and colorful), I asked if I could see him “jack it”…and a chorus of laughter ensued.

We make mistakes when we dress our tongues in new languages, it’s how we learn. And it’s flippin’ hysterical to native speakers of that language when we do it.

As was the case today, when an ESL student told me quietly (and with a sense of lost honor) that her 13-year-old cousin not only had a baby after having sex, she also lost her vagina!

Me: I don’t think you mean “vagina,” you mean…

Student: Oh yeah, I know that…I mean she lost her vaginity.

🙂 From the mouths of babes…


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