Homophobes Against Homophones: Why Words Matter

This is just ridiculous, but it shows, painfully clearly, why language and being educated about language, matters.

The social media specialist for a language school was fired for writing a blog post about homophones (words that sound the same but aren’t), because the owner presumed–or thought others would presume?–the post was about gay sex.

Seriously, I can’t believe this happened (here’s the original story). Take a second to let that soak in:

  • School that focuses on language for non-native speakers
  • Has blog post about a basic issue that non-native speakers encounter when learning language
  • But the name for that issue is vaguely, distantly related to a different word
  • Causing the owner–who had to look up the definition–to fire the blog writer.

The fire-er actually said, “People at this level of English may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.”

Mind = blown

Barney expresses my feelings quite well.

I mean, of course they would! It’s not like they have a language school they can attend where they can learn these things!


Awkward gif


Just for our brilliant language school owner’s edification, some common homophones include:

  • their, there, they’re
  • threw, through, thru
  • mourning, morning
  • air, err, heir, are* (in some dialects)
  • flee, flea
  • flew, flu
  • rain, reign, rein

Also, some other words that begin with “homo-” but have nothing at all to do with gay sex (plus definitions!):

  • homogeneous: having the same structure, being composed of similar parts
  • homologous: matching in structure
  • homocysteine: an amino acid found in the blood of mammals and appears to be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease
  • homoiothermic: warm-blooded
  • homocercal: relating to a fish fin, having upper and lower lobes that are approximately symmetrical
  • Homo sapiens: mankind, human beings (that’s right sir, you are indeed Homo!)

This is just one of the many reasons learning the ins-and-outs of your language is so vital—so that you don’t make a fool of yourself on a national stage like this school-owner just did. I hope the blogger finds a new job swiftly; it will undoubtedly be an environment more open to actual learning!

1 Comment

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One response to “Homophobes Against Homophones: Why Words Matter

  1. It appears the owner of that school needs to attend a lesson on prefixes. (And what does this incident say about the schooling system if he managed to reach adulthood without ever learning about homophones?)

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