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to think that teaching 14 year old Belgian children the word "prick" at school is inappropriate?

(39 Posts)
LongtimeinBrussels Mon 19-Oct-09 15:10:46

Not sure if this is the right place to post this but here goes.

I give English lessons to two 14 year old Belgian girls. One of the sentences they were given went something like this: "Michael is being a real prick". I was horrified to see that their teacher had given them this sentence but I have been out of the UK for 24½ years and am aware that attitudes/language acceptance has changed. I couldn't help thinking though that if these girls visit the UK and use this word, people would be a bit hmm or even shock?

Would be grateful for opinions.

LilRedWG Mon 19-Oct-09 15:12:10

I wouldn't be impressed to hear it, but then maybe I'm being a prick. wink

LilRedWG Mon 19-Oct-09 15:12:42

I think, "Michael is being a real idiot" would be far more appropriate.

whoooooisasking Mon 19-Oct-09 15:14:20

Nah, it's fine. I call my DH a prick, he calls me a prick, I say "HELLO PRICK!" to the milkman every morning, and when I got to work today I said to my boss "Morning, you prick, nice weekend?"


scaryteacher Mon 19-Oct-09 15:14:28

Well, I'd be irritated if my ds (year 9) was taught it in Flemish at BSB; so the obverse should hold true.

I would be horrified to hear any of my nephews and nieces use this and they are all of that age range, so YANBU. Twerp or idiot would be acceptable alternatives?

LongtimeinBrussels Mon 19-Oct-09 15:21:35

Hi Scary, should have thought to e-mail you directly!

LilRedWG and Scary - I told them they should use idiot and should (if they have the courage as in my experience the English teachers in the Belgian system take umbrage at being told they are wrong) tell the teacher that it's not acceptable. However, on thinking about it, I thought I'd canvas opinion in case I was hopelessly out of date.

And whoooooisasking, do I detect a note of sarcasm there wink? I do realise of course that it wouldn't be acceptable to use this with everyone but I often hear "tosser" used quite freely and I didn't think this was acceptable either. My language (and what is acceptable to use) is stuck in 1985.

VictoriousSponge Mon 19-Oct-09 15:22:22

LOl at most random title ever

whoooooisasking Mon 19-Oct-09 15:26:41


Just a tiny hint of sarcasm! I wouldn't be happy with "Tosser" either to be absolutely honest. It seems really odd!

Bubbaluv Mon 19-Oct-09 15:37:18

I can't wait to hear what the teacher says when it is pointed out that s/he is teaching the students to swear! Can you write the girls a note to give to their teacher?

sayanything Mon 19-Oct-09 15:46:09

Longtime, is their teacher English? I've come across a few howlers like this in documents, always from people with English as a second language who don't realise how inappropriate some words actually are.

I had to edit the following sentence in an official memo a few months ago:

"The proposed legislation would be a wet dream for regulators, who would now be able to..."

And yes, I'd definitely consider prick offensive, although prick-tease is more or less mainstream now, isn't it(though equally offensive)?

Bucharest Mon 19-Oct-09 15:48:56


One of the teachers at dd's primary school here in Italy has a huge stonking belt (horrific thing, surprised she can walk wearing it) that says "f*cking fantastic" all the way around it.

She's about 60 and clearly hasn't a clue (or maybe she has? hmm)

crankytwaaaaaahhhhnky Mon 19-Oct-09 15:52:37

Lol Bucharest!

I'd tell my DD off for saying prick, so, yanbu IMO.

diddl Mon 19-Oct-09 15:59:26

Well, it´s a word I would find offensive.

Is it comonplace for 14yr olds in UK to use it?

Just an aside, you people in UK still say rubber for a condom?

We´re in Germany & the teacher told ours in the English lesson that rubber might be best avoided as it is used for condom, & better stick to the more American eraser!

ADifferentMe Mon 19-Oct-09 15:59:40

I'm a total prude about swearing (in teenagers, anyway - I'm also a total hypocrite wink). I wouldn't accept it from my DDs who are a similar age.

I used to teach EFL and found it better to err on the side of caution. It doesn't help that kids are exposed to so much swearing in films that they don't always know what's appropriate. My Swedish friend's 12 yr old DS told me to f* off once (jokingly), not realising he shouldn't.

Very envy at you living in Brussels - spent two years there in the early eighties and still miss it!

scaryteacher Mon 19-Oct-09 16:17:22

Feel free to email next time LTIB. How are the classes doing?

AvengingGerbil Mon 19-Oct-09 16:20:48

diddl, rubber for condom is American, not UK English. If in USA, ask for an eraser. In the UK the thing made of rubber for rubbing stuff out is a rubber.

LongtimeinBrussels Mon 19-Oct-09 22:29:42

Thanks for your answers. It's just I know what is accepted does move on. When I was young, my mum would have cuffed me round the ear for saying bloody (ruddy was acceptable) and she was none too pleased when I said I was knackered at the age of about 14. I am old though (46!) so that might have something to do with it.

VictoriousSponge, I take a bow for the most random title ever. Glad to have made you laugh!

sayanything, no, their teacher is Flemish. I love the "wet dream" memo!!

scary, I'm not doing any bsb classes this year as I don't have any more children there. However, I have plenty of English, French and maths students here to keep me busy!

LongtimeinBrussels Mon 19-Oct-09 22:33:49

and shock grin Bucharest, ADifferentMe. ADM, the novelty of living in Brussels has worn off after so long here, I have to admit!

scaryteacher Tue 20-Oct-09 07:58:49

Maths students - do you do KS3 coaching?

cory Tue 20-Oct-09 08:04:57

My experience is that you have to be so much more careful about your language when you speak with a foreign accent anyway, because things sound so much worse from a non-native. Only very mealy-mouthed language should be taught imho.

scaryteacher Tue 20-Oct-09 09:29:36

There's a point Cory, maybe it was brick not prick , which would be a whole different meaning.

ADifferentMe Tue 20-Oct-09 10:14:08

And very Enid Blyton!

I learned most of my colloquial French from the 10 year old boy I was an au pair for in the early 80s. I've seen many a shocked face when I've used words that I didn't know were inappropriate!

MaggieBehaveOutGuising Tue 20-Oct-09 13:07:53

that's too strong from a teacher.. i mean, wouldn't be surprised to hear them say it,,, but the teacher obviously doesn't know how strong it is.

skihorse Tue 20-Oct-09 13:12:38

Brussels Maybe it's just "lost in translation". I personally find "ik moet plassen" really distasteful, but it's quite the norm here of course.

LongtimeinBrussels Tue 20-Oct-09 19:02:33

scary, it was written down - it was definitely prick! I do A level maths and mechanics tutoring mainly but am also doing some European bac 7th year and even have a European school 3rd year secondary (aged 14). I'm going to show my ignorance here. Having never had a child go through primary in the English system I don't actually know what KS3 is! (I know KS stands for Key Stage but as to the levels... Will go and look on the internet.)

skihorse, that may be true. The Dutch seem to use shit rather too much for my liking for example.

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