Obscene conversations with my English students

November 28, 2014

Spaniards often have little concept of political correctness or puritanical politeness, and they’re accustomed to using all sorts of colorful expressions wherever they go.

Even in English class.

I still feel a little bit uncomfortable about it, but it’s their culture. Who am I to judge?

A lot of the expressions they use are so common that you can’t really say that they mean anything. They’re just expressions.

Anyway, here are some of the weirder conversations I’ve had with my English students recently:

Conversation #1 with an English student

Male Student: Daniel, how do you say “Tienes ganas de joder la marrana“?

Me: Pardon? I’m afraid I am not familiar with that colloquialism.

Male Student: Can I say, “You want to fuck the pig?”

Me: Um… No, it’s probably better that you don’t.

Male Student: Of course, I’m referring to the female pig.

[Note: apparently the expression joder la marrana means to ruin something or to cause problems. According to the folks on Wordreference forums, it has nothing to do with bestiality – the marrana is part of a water-wheel, meaning that if you break it you’re without water for your fields. In other words, in a bad situation. However there is some confusion in the common parlance because marrana is also a female pig. Good to know.]

obscene conversations with my english students

This rather disturbing sculpture is in a shopping center in A Coruña. I have no idea who the artist is, but I remember there were other, similar sculptures around town.

Conversation #2 with some other English students

Female Student: Daniel, how do you say “Sus opiniones me dan por culo?” Can I say his opinions for my pussy? [Slaps ass, suggestively]

Me: Um…

Female Student: Pussy is culo, right?

Me: No, actually pussy is vagina.

Female Student: Vagina? Vagina! What is this vagina?

Me: You know, vagina.

Female student: [becoming quite animated] No, I don’t know… Vagina! What is vagina?

Male student: I think he means ba-HEE-na. [approximate Spanish pronunciation of vagina]

Female Student: Oh, vagina! What a strange pronunciation!

[Note: I think what she meant by “sus opiniones me dan por culo” was that she didn’t care at all about someone’s opinions. There are all kinds of possible meanings for “dar por culo” though, and I didn’t exactly want to clarify.]

Conversation #3

Female Student: I saw something in a film the other day. One character said to another, “Are you high?” What does it mean?

Me: If a person is high, it means that he’s feeling the effects of drugs.

Female Student: Can you use it in another sentence?

Me: It’s like any other expression with to be: I’m high, you’re high, he’s high, she’s high…

Male Student: Oh yeah, it’s the same as saying “he’s hung”.

Me: Pardon?

Male Student: He’s hung. It’s the same thing. [This student had the habit of making statements as if they were facts, when actually he had no idea what he was talking about.]

Me: Noooooooooo that’s definitely different.

Male Student: No, I saw it on a film. He’s hung.

Me: He’s hung is referring to something entirely different… Um… How do I explain this politely? Um, I suppose it means that he has particularly large genitalia.

Male Student: Large what?

Me: Genitalia. You know. Reproductive apparatus. [Making universally recognized – at least in Spanish speaking countries – gesture representing a large erect member. Elbow down, fist up. You know the one.]

Male Student: Oooooooooooooh well that makes more sense, then.

Want more conversations with English students?

You’re in the right place…

See also several more conversations (generally less explicit): Conversation with a hairstylist,  Conversation with an ESL student, Conversation at the language school, plus the classic article about How to teach Beach and Bitch.

Or if you wanna go full-on explicit, check out 10 obscene Spanish expressions.

Till next time,

Mr Chorizo.

P.S. These days, I’m one year older. Well, actually, since yesterday. I don’t feel too strongly about it one way or another. There’s been so much going on lately that I haven’t had time to think much about anything. So… Another year! But if you’re interested, here are my thoughts about getting old. Have fun!

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. How the student got from “He’s high” to “He’s hung” is a bit of a jump. It’s funny to think of the student using these expressions (incorrectly) outside of the classroom…

    Isn’t teaching English a blast? I once had an adult male student ask me to “Spread it.” Luckily I knew that he wanted to know the SPELLING of the word and simply couldn’t remember the expression it “Spell it.” (That’s what you get, kiddos, for not studying up on English during summer break…)

    1. Yeah, I don’t know either Cassandra. High, hung. Four letter h-words? Was he thinking about “colocado” or something? Who knows! I actually went on to teach the expression “hung like a horse.” Anyway, spread it! Sounds like an exciting class…

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