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ESL forum > Teaching material > To teach or not to teach ... "naughty words"    

To teach or not to teach ... "naughty words"


To teach or not to teach ... "naughty words"
 Recently I have observed that my teenage students use words like F word among each other without actually understanding it! They pick it up from the movies and they got the wrong idea that all the native speakers use it all the time. Several times I tried to investigate if they understood the meaning of the F word and to my surprise it appeared that they were not aware of the fact how nasty it is and what does it really mean!!!   It forced me to spend some time explaining the difference between language they pick up from the movies and the language used by normal people in normal cirrcumstances...
I was taught English by an eldery gentleman interested in art and literature, but I remember that one lesson (I was 17 years old) he spend explaining use some "most popular" English "dirty words". He was able to do  it in a very calm, delicate and professional way so no one was offended and no one treated  it as something bad - he taught us part of the language and that �s it... 

4 Jan 2010      

United States

I think it is our job to teach our students not to use swear words, not only because it is rude but also because most people don �t use that language.

I think you �ll find that kind of language in violent films and B-C films.
You �d never hear it in family films!

My family in the states and my British friends are very insulted by that low-.life language.
You should also tell your students that a "trashy" language will ruin any chance to get a job or become an exchange student in an English speaking country.

That kind of language is not tolerated. It gives such a bad impression.

4 Jan 2010     


Okay, as a native... in my opinion, you can explain that the "F" word is a vulgar word that could cause them a lot of grief and embarrassment if used - you could even explain to them it �s meaning if you feel comfortable with that... BUT it �s not a word that kids have to know the meaning of in each circumstance that it �s used in. And if you think that they don �t know what the true context is, well from my experience - They DO know. They are maybe just repeating something they picked up from games like "Grand Theft Auto." (A verrry popular video game filled with extremely foul language)... films, rap music or TV series.

4 Jan 2010     


I explain vulgar words to my pupils because they are part of the language whether we like it or not.   But I also explain that  they shouldn �t be used as freely as they think - that in truth they shouldn �t be used at all and when used in the wrong situation then can get them in trouble.

4 Jan 2010     


          In my case sometimes students are not so aware of the meaning of the words they use. Some time ago I overheard two 13 years old students talking to each other using the F word. I asked them about the meaning of this word and they were REALLY convinced that it is rude but that the meaning of the word and the "level of rudness" is similar to words like ... lets say "s...t". I told them that it is one of the rudest words in English language and both of them were surprised and ashamed. Since than I started to think about this problem...
       I agree that many teenagers are perfectly aware of the meaning but still they mix the real life with the film reality... And unfortunately some of them have uncontrolled access to films or internet websites (often parents  underestimate the influence of these media on their children...)
          Everything depends on the age and personality of the students. In some cases it is possible to explain the problem in other the only possiblity is just to strictly forbid using this kind of vocabulary.

6 Jan 2010