Did you hear the one about the dictionary which contained rude words? It was withdrawn from circulation in a Californian school district because it included a definition of a sex act. I would think that parents would be applauding their children for going to a book (the Merriam-Webster disctionary, no less) to look up this information rather relying on the girl from the 6th grade who hangs out behind the school hall to tell you what oral sex is.
Half the fun of learning a language, whether it be English, French, Chinese or Greek, is to learn what the rude words are. That is basically what sucks a child in to leanring a foregin tongue. I can swear in 5 languages, including English (I am extremely fluent in Anglo Saxon :)).
You could always while away a boring class with checking the dictionary for words. My favourite definition of the fart was ‘explosion between the legs’. Still a bit unclear as to what the word meant, I asked my mum what ‘fart’ meant (I was 8 at the time). Mum went white and told me never to say that word again- then she told me what it meant. Yet she never questioned the fact I got the word from a book.
The knee-jerk reaction from school officials to comply with a SINGLE parental complaint is breathtaking. Thankfully the dictionary is back in school– perhaps the school officials should look up the definition of ‘spineless’.
OK, rant over…