Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Readers of my blog will have heard me rant more than once about the standard of language teachers we use in our primary schools. Today Charlotte came in with a prime example... Sheepishly she asked me during her homework tonight: "Cul in French is kinda like a rude word for bum, isn't it? That's how everyone I've heard talking French uses it..." 'Of course it is' - I replied - 'it is the equivalent of arse in English'. "I knew that", she said, "but my teacher says it means neck". Being a native to French Charlotte couldn't even make the obvious Scottish phonetic leap from cul [ky] to cou [ku]. To her, despite her being much more reluctant than Marcel to vocalise her French knowledge, there was just no similarity at all between the two vowels that in Scottish English completely merge. When are we going to realize that pronunciation actually matters and getting teachers this bad at French phonetics is helping no one?

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