Bad English Lesson

I’ve been teaching English to a couple of my friends here, and the other day I tossed in a phrase they’d never heard before:

‘Sit yo ass down.’

After I said it, I realized I’d made a rather important error, so I corrected myself:

‘Sit yo ass down, bitch.’

I also accompanied it with a raised index finger moving side-to-side with my head moving from side-to-side at the same time, but in the opposite direction of my finger.

My friend Florence looked at me with great interest, and asked, “And when would you use this expression?”

I wasn’t quite sure what to tell her.

(After I said it, I realized that I probably shouldn’t have since if the phrase catches on, someday in the future you might go to a café or restaurant in Paris and the waitress will tell you to do just that…and you’ll know who to blame.)

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16 comments

  • shea
    April 30, 2007 9:45am

    Oh my God! This one finally made me come out of my lurking. I just about died when i read this post. I had to hold my sides to keep them from hurting from laughing to hard. That is absolutely classic. There’s nothing more fun than teaching American Slang to people from another country.

  • Nan
    April 30, 2007 10:13am

    David! Oh no, you dint.

  • April 30, 2007 10:43am

    De-lurking here, too.
    This made me think of when I recently used the word “rat bastard” in front of my 13 year old son. On the one hand, it has quite a ring to it, on the other, I have a feeling it’s going to be bandied about on the playground and in the locker room today.

  • Kami
    April 30, 2007 10:47am

    I once taught a group of Japanese high school teachers to say “how’s it goin’?” thinking it was quite innocuous… watching them contort their mouths to say “goooiiiinnn'” was worth the effort!
    And I think the perfect response to “how do you use ‘sit yo ass down, bitch’?” is: well, when you have some stupendous gossip to tell your friend, and you meet in the coffee shop or bar… you say….

  • Taina
    April 30, 2007 11:20am

    For an encore, you can teach her about “talking to the hand”.

  • April 30, 2007 12:03pm

    You are my hero.

  • Lynn T
    April 30, 2007 2:26pm

    And here I have been listening to French language CDs in the car these last weeks in preparation for our Chocolate Extravaganza with you–I’ve been studying the wrong language….

  • April 30, 2007 4:53pm

    Reminds me of Stripes. Son of Bitch. Shit.

    And anyway, isn’t the correct phrase, “Sit yo’ ass down, bee-yotch”? Or is that dialectic?

  • April 30, 2007 8:59pm

    I have a few English conversation students as well. Today I said “Just spit it out!” Of course one has to demonstrate when explaining the phrases. Good thing I didn’t have anything in my mouth…

  • lynn d.
    May 1, 2007 12:01am

    Would you have a recipe for the bread pictured with fromage post?
    I am looking for a grainy European-style bread to do at home….I’ve made your chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies AND the fantastically healthy and yummy Friendship Bars! I am slowly working my way back through your entertaining posts!

  • Nadine
    May 1, 2007 2:00am

    I’m going to make this a ‘coming out’ post as I also have been lurking…

    I have you to thank for my entire culinary education, David!
    And for help with my itinerary for my upcoming trip to Paris.

    But mostly, I love your unpretentious and honest contributions.

  • reya
    May 1, 2007 4:04pm

    My goodness. I’ll have to go with Shea and some of the other commenters. I’ve been tiptoeing through this blog for a while, and now I need to come out of hiding as well.

    That was the last thing I expected to read here.
    Hilarious!

  • May 2, 2007 12:22pm

    I once taught some Portugues friends of mine to swear in English. The problem is they tend to only understand the sounds and not the meaning of the individual words, so I split my sides laughing when they come out with phrases like “Fak yu beech”

  • May 3, 2007 2:12pm

    I’m glad you’re teaching the really important things. Don’t forget, “Oh no you didn’t” (with head and finger wagging) and “Talk to the wrist cause the hand’s too pissed”. I taught the later to the Chef de Cuisine at Guy Savoy. Now everyone says it! Could you work on the word “beach” with your students too? Everytime I hear a French person say that it comes out “bitch”. Kiss -Kiss, Ms. Glaze ( btw, did you read the new Chez Panisse biography!?!?!?)

  • May 3, 2007 2:22pm

    I’m reading the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and this reminded me of her description of teaching English phrases to some Italian friends. They loved the expression “half-assed” more than anything else. Honestly, how would you go about defining something like that?? Heh.

  • May 6, 2007 3:50pm

    So, was she a bitch and did she sit her ass down?