"I Didn't Teach You THAT!"

Because I'm living on campus with many international students, sometimes there is a slight language barrier. And sometimes, this leads to DISASTER...

The other night, I was watching my Costa Rican flatmate, Jose, cook some plantains (the things that look like bananas but are not bananas). He was trying to explain to me that you can make dishes with green plantains and yellow plantains.

"Oh, you mean when they are ripe?" I asked.

"What does ripe mean?" Jose inquired. Delighted to share some knowledge and help a brotha out, I explained the definition and Jose got it. It was a win/win, right?


Cut ahead a few hours later...

I had had a drink (or two) with my friend Alexa and as we were walking back to our rooms, we ran into Jose. I was eager to show Alexa the good little teacher I had been and asked, quite proudly, "Jose! Tell Alexa what I taught you earlier! What word did I teach you?"

"Rape." Jose said, very matter-of-factly.

Alexa busted out laughing, to which I exclaimed, "WHAAAAAT?!? Jose, no!! I didn't teach you THAT! Don't EVER say that word. You pronounce it Riiiiiiiiiipe. With an i. ALWAYS WITH AN I. Not rape. DO NOT TELL PEOPLE THAT I TAUGHT YOU RAPE!"

"What does rape mean?"

"Oh sweet jesus. I'm not teaching English any longer!" And it's true. I think that is the last English lesson I will ever give.


  1. Whoops! The pitfalls of language learning. ;) I know I have gotten myself into various "funny" (for others, not me) situations while learning Spanish!

  2. You just learned what parenting is like. Welcome to my world.

  3. Haha, fun times. I wish I could think of funny examples of what my students have said now, but it's too early....

    Although my co-workers were convinced that Google and goggle were the same word. It wasn't hilarious, but it's interesting how getting a letter wrong can shape your perception of what a word means!

  4. This sounds very similar to a conversation I had with Brazilian friends and the word "sheet"...

  5. OHHHHHHH, I love stories like that. Even though Ripe and Rape are sooooooooo different. :)
    Just as Jamie wrote above, "sheet" was so common, and if you haven't seen/heard it yet or maybe have (Modern Family portrayed it nicely!!): Cheese and Jesus go so well together. "Sweet Cheeses" is such a fun one.

  6. Ha! Something tells me this is only one of many more misunderstandings to come!