Overheard in the hallway

They make me laugh some times.

In all seriousness, one of my students asked me “Mrs. Bisson, is a hellno bad?”

What? And my little friend repeated the question patiently.

Now this student who came to us last year from Gambia, speaks with a heavily African influenced accent.

Perhaps I’m not hearing her? So I asked her to repeat and she did. Verbatim.

Still no comprehension on my part. I looked at her peers who were equally serious and intent on finding the answer: “Is a hellno bad?”

Exasperated and in all sincerity, one of them looked right at me and spoke slowly and clearly enunciating each syllable (for the aged and decrepit?):

“You know, a hell no. Is that a bad word?”

And then it dawned on me. I confessed I had heard some people use those words (guilty) and while the words are not “bad”, polite people don’t use them in polite company — like a school.

Oh, they make me laugh some times.

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