I’m teaching a friend of mine English.
It’s easy to do, conveniently, because he speaks English nearly fluently already.
It isn’t his first language, granted, and there are certainly gaps, but he speaks it well enough to get his point across with zero confusion, I’ve never once had to ask him what he meant while we was speaking, and the number of times he’s had to ask me to slow down can be counted on my fingers.
Which is impressive. I talk fast and use a lot of slang, I can only imagine what a nightmare I’d be to someone for whom English was a second language.
It’s the slang, in fact, that I’ve been tasked with teaching him. The idioms, the colloquialisms, the cute little turns of phrases and clichés and expressions that a culture accrues to itself over time, that outsiders to that culture, looking in, don’t have the context or perspective necessary to understand.
He feels that as a writer I know about such things.
He’s probably right.
So whenever he hears a word or phrase he doesn’t understand, he writes it down and brings it to me, so I can explain it to him.
And, to the best of my ability, I do.
I try to, at any rate.
Some phrases are hard to explain, some hinge on a shared bit of collective history or reference to pop culture, but I do what I can to make the meaning of each tidbit as clear as is meaningfully possible.
A task made even harder by the fact that I know I could tell him literally anything, just to fuck with him, and he’d believe me without question and add it to his personal lexicon.
And that would be hilarious, to me.
Because I am a bad person.
I like the dude.
I’m trying to be good.