Posted by: janecronin | September 3, 2011

People who ask – “why”?


Spelling can be very deceptive, so it wouldn’t be a surprise that if you saw this word written down “guai” it wouldn’t ring any bells.  It’s a sort of teenage colloquialism, but one that’s been around for quite a while, meaning “cool” “great” “fab” “wicked” or whatever the latest one is.  The trouble is it sounds exactly like “why?”

… or it least it did to me in my first year of teaching in Spain.  I announced to a class: “Now we’re going to listen to close our books and listen to a song”.  One of the kids whose name, Julián, I still remember said “guai”.  “Well, because it’s good to have a change from time to time, and you can learn a lot of English for songs”.  “No, I said ¡guai!”  “As I said, because ….”  this conversation went on for quite a while until Julián got up and wrote on the board GUAI – “It means I want to listen to a song!!”

Another word I never forgot again ….

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