Number one for English language teachers

Anecdote: Peace and quiet

Type: Anecdote

Catherine Hutin shares her winning anecdote about a confusing pronunciation mistake.

I once gave my students a writing practice paper. One of the subjects was 'Write a letter of complaint about a fish-n-ship shop that has just opened in your area. Complain about the noise...'

When I was marking the papers,  I was shocked when I read 'Now it is very noisy, dirty and smelly. We had piss everywhere...' I could not believe what I was reading. During the next lesson, I gave my students some feedback about the things that they shouldn't write in their papers. I emphasized the fact that, even if they wanted to mention such a bad habit as relieving oneself in the street, they should not use the word piss but urine instead. The student in question then said: 'Yes, but you know, the English always say piss and quiet...' I realized I had completely misunderstood the message she was trying to convey. The whole class roared with laughter and the lesson turned into a spelling and pronunciation practice session.

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