Teach the buggers swearing

WARNING – Some might find this post offensive (although to be honest I couldn’t give a fiddler’s fart.. just don’t read any further then)

Go on, get it off your chest.. have a good cuss.. have a nice long rant;  not only is the odd naughty word a useful way to diffuse anger & stress but it’s also an integral part of our lovely English language.

But flick through your typical ‘Business’ text-book looking for the ‘bad’ words and you’ll come up empty-handed.. dey don’t put ’em in.

Should they though?

Well, I have to admit that it wouldn’t be terribly tasteful dear and as one of my colleagues once memorably put it, it could be construed as ‘unpolitically correct’…

But we speak like dat..!

Well, aherrmm, cough, cough, splutter, splutter, most terribly sorry Vicar.. my mouthful of tea went down the wrong way.. we jolly well do not! whoever heard such a wanton fib..?

Pull the other one!

Alright, one might utter the odd expletive under cover of ones breath, although if one may hasten to add, one tries to avoid such filthy words if at all possible.

One doesn’t does one?

OK OK, I don’t.. but if you would just let me finish.. my opinion is that by employing rude and abusive language, we are lowering the tone and leaving ourselves open to disdain, ridicule and consternation.

Wot? Bleedin’ ‘ell fella yaw got owt a bed wrong bloody side dis mornin’ dint ya? Leave owt the big words will ya.. you swallow a dictionary or sumfink?

Goodness gracious my dear chap.. calm down and take a ‘chill-pill’, that’s what they say these days I do believe, if I am not very much mistaken? I do feel as if I’m swimming against the tide trying to follow the gist of your arguments..

eh? yous talkin’ bollocks mate..

…. and I could go on I such a fashion, it’s plain to see that our two friends are ‘talking at cross purposes’/’they don’t dig each other’ (delete as appropriate)

The point is – if you go down on the factory floor, gather the staff around and dribble on at them in purely ‘management speak’ you ain’t gonna connect.  They’ll think you’re talking posh and trying to fob them of with top brass bullshit.

Crystal Clear?

Yeah man I feel ya.. Folks just got to communicate with folks on their level, period. Tellin’ the guys that ‘We’ve discussed means of optimising productivity and the general consensus is that we need to rationalize’ will go down like a ton of bricks… ‘There are going to be lay-offs’ is more to the point innit?

If you’re going to give people bad news, at least tell it straight.

So what’s to be done Einstein?

Easy. Include Unit 13 – ‘Swearing’ in the holy bibles of bizniz teaching. At the end of the day, if we can’t find fuck in the textbook (pun & double-entendre fully intended) we feel unwilling to use it in the lesson. I mean seriously, people do tend to use a quite bit of blue language and it has its place. Used correctly amongst consenting adults, it can have the dersied effect too. And even if some might not wish to use it themselves, the chances are they are going to hear it spoken, so awareness helps.

Another advantage of putting this unit at the end is that we rarely ever finish the bloody book, so no-one will notice unless you choose to ‘go there’.

In conclusion: swearing will be found at all levels of a business and by not teaching at least the ‘essentials’, we are frankly, pulling the wool over our trainees eyes.

… plus it’s more entertaining in class than shite like the past perfect continuous.



Filed under books, Fun, TEFL

10 responses to “Teach the buggers swearing

  1. Forrester McLeod

    I was not aware that fiddlers farted….you’ve completely fucked with my head today tigercity! What? Ack!!! 🙂

    Have a Great One!

  2. tigercity


    Ha ha, this article is more linked with my job actually, which you’ve probabaly figured out is linguistic training for businesses. So the topic is ‘in-house’ so to speak. ‘I couldn’t give a fiddler’s fart’ is an Irish expression, although I’m not certain it’s in current use… Of course cultured violinists wouldn’t fart but your average fiddler might…

  3. ichabod

    Hi tigercity;

    First word my dad learned when we cam to Canada was “fuck” and we heard it constantly. Every second word I spoke as a teenager was a cuss word and it took me a while to unlearn it.

    When I get frustrated or lose my temper it will come out, but you’re right. You have to speak to people in terms they understand.

  4. tigercity

    It just annoys me sometimes that in my job we have to speak to our ‘trainees’ as if it’s at boardroom level, put on ‘very professional airs and graces, say please & thank you, cross our ‘T’s, sit up straight, keep good eye-contact, nod and agree and speak to them in a proper but natural way.

    Having worked in a factory, a chicken farm, a supermarket, a butcher’s shop, a newsagents and a county council plan-printing unit(on work experience) I know that in the real world the language employed is still not quite the same 90% of the time as what we teach in the ‘classroom’. But hey, it’s all natural and it’s certainly not theatre (theater in USA!)

    My boss had the nerve to advise me once that ‘perhaps I should consider toning down my accent a touch’. I replied that one of our clients’ head office was in Leeds, 60 miles down the road from where I was from and that I therefore possessed the perfect accent to aid them with their communication, thank you very much.

    I really wanted to add that with all due respect Madame the boss, your particular ‘affected’ accent was about as transparent as a brand new window pane and that everyone in the office had noticed so why not go back to your estuary drawl and leave us all in peace… but I didn’t, the thought stayed right in my head..

    I agree swearing for the sake of swearing is not the way to go about, I don’t advocate provoking or upsetting people however if our natural reaction is a ‘naughty’ word now and again then should we modify our speech or should we sensitize our trainees ears to what they might well actually hear if they have to join a tour of the factory in Rotherham one day?

    I’m certainly one who appreciates witty alternatives to cuss words, however there are occasions when just comes out a tad profain..

    • Forrester McLeod

      I’m sure the people you deal with appreciate you. We can all tell when we’re being spoken down to, and talking AT people does nothing. If it comes naturally to a person to communicate (colourful words and all!) clearly with whomever they’re speaking…I consider that a gift and am surprised that Madame the boss doesn’t “get it”. She’s lucky to have you!

      I apologize if my silly remark belittled your post!!! I enjoyed reading your thoughts and was just being a goof, as I’m sure you gathered! I grew up in the deep South of the United States. We weren’t even allowed to say “fart”. Say a cussword as a child in my childhood culture and learn the true meaning of shame and guilt! In my late teens when I started to dare utter the word shit loudly I felt joyfully wild and reckless. Then, at the tender age of 21 I met and started dating a New Yorker. Ah….the word fuck became a glorious part of my vernacular! Like Ichabod, I’ve seriously made an effort to tone it down…but it’s just a great (and the ONLY) word for some occassions!

      I wish You luck with the straight-laced-tunnel-visioners!

  5. kathrynteacher

    A bit late into this discussion, but just wanted to add my whole-hearted support! While I don’t believe that we need a dedicated ‘swearing’ unit, I do tend to swear at my students quite a lot.

    My least favourite thing that the textbooks do is tone down slang. For example the other day I was teaching ‘cheesed off.’ Please. My students are adults and can handle the fact that actually British people are more likely to say ‘pissed off.’

    I don’t teach the ‘bad’ words for my students to use, but mostly so that they can understand what people are saying to them. And also to get them to recognise that just because someone says ‘fuck’ every third word doesn’t mean they are insulting them.

  6. tigercity

    Hi Kathryn,

    Thanx for your comments, my ‘Unit 13’ is a touch tongue in cheek but we seem to be on the same wavelength.. do you teach general or business english?

    • kathrynteacher

      General at present (and some IELTS – no comment). Will be back into the Business in September in Spain. And general, and young learners. All fun and games!

  7. I agree that effective communication depends upon a solid understanding of all forms of expression whilst maintaining an understanding of how language can be used differently and appropriately in varying settings. You make your point very well.

    Aussies appear to have a very casual attitude to swearing…perhaps too casual at times, but also a relaxed humour that I would hope not prevent trainers in your field in this country being persuaded otherwise.

    Ahh tell ’em to “blow out their arse” Tigercity !

  8. Phil Newman

    ‘Standardized’ English is what we’re meant to teach and I see the sense in that in terms of aiding global communication. But whose standard?
    Ah-ha! – The people who write the standard English grammar/pronunciation books. But when only 6% of Brits speak RP English why choose their version? It’s a political question with Marxist overtones of control and domination. So we have the great publishing companies, such as Oxford and Cambridge university press proposing that their language forms should become the norms for spoken English around the world.
    Well, why not, any form as a standard will do – but let’s at least let students know many other varieties exist, which makes English a vibrant, living language of regionalisms and colloquilisms – even teach them a few to add spice to their own expression.
    As for the great f*** etc words, they all learn them from tv, though without really appreciating their emotive strengths – which could get them in trouble if this wasn’t dealt with correctly in class. Hence, the swear words should be explored – minimally, perhaps.

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