Students are afraid to say something “stupid”.

People who study English are often scared they are going to say something “funny” that will make others laugh at them. This notion doesn’t help the learning process. On the contrary, it holds them back from speaking in English and they are likely to lose their confidence.

What is this series of posts about?

This series of posts is to make you smile and show you that everyone makes mistakes and sometimes says funny things and it is one of the parts of the learning process.

Asking or Ask a King?

Learning English when you are over 60 years old…

Gabriele was 62 years old when he decided to take up an English course. He had never studied English before. It was, therefore, a very brave decision to start from zero at that age. Well, actually it was his boss who told him to study some basic English expressions for work.

He had difficulties learning English.

We struggled a lot to teach Gabriele English. His goal wasn’t to speak the language fluently but just to be able to recognise some basic vocabulary.

Asking directions

We were studying streets and places that day. The topic of the unit in the book we were using was “Asking directions”. It was supposed to be about going straight on, turning left, right etc. I asked Gabriele to translate that title. I was expecting him to recognise the gerund form “ing” and the word ask. Gabriele looked at the phrase carefully…

…and he said…

“King is the man of Queen!”

Well, I couldn’t even say he was wrong! King IS the man of the Queen after all. Ha ha ha

“My dog is an idiot ?”

Elisabetta had to take a very difficult exam.

Elisabetta came to us with a necessity to pass a B2 level English exam. B2 is an upper intermediate level. Unfortunately, she was only a beginner in English.

We told her it was impossible for her to pass.

It’s always difficult to tell students they are not prepared yet to take an exam, but it’s also our duty to be honest with them. If they’re not ready, they are not. And Elisabetta’s English level was definitely not a B2. However, the lady decided to try to take it anyway and we couldn’t forbid her to do it.

Time for the oral exam…

The day of Elisabetta’s exam came. During the oral part she had to talk about pets. She thought it was a good topic because she had a dog herself and she liked animals.

Elisabetta started describing her dog.

She said it was small, cute and she wanted to tell us what colour it was. Unfortunately, she forgot the word “brown”. She was Italian so she tried to transform the Italian word for brown which is “marrone” into English. The sentence she said sounded like…

“My dog is moron !”

She pronounced it as if she said her dog was a moron. But a “moron” in colloquial English means an idiot 😉