Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Putting Down Putdowns

Putting Down Putdowns English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Jul 20 2007

Themes: Friend


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Sometimes it’s easy to say something hurtful without intending to. Kids often tease their friends and call them names but it’s no big deal. But sometimes when they intend to say something mean to one of their friends, they end up insulting a whole group of people.

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

Log in to Listen

2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Marni:  So I work with kids.

Mason:  Yeah.

Marni:  And I notice the way kids speak to each other and there’s sort of this really common…well, kids use it as an insult when they’re talking to somebody and saying, “You’re retarded.”

Mason:  Oh I used to say that.

Marni:  Well…

Mason:  I mean…

Marni:  But, you know, I think in this day and age it’s absolutely unacceptable.

Mason:  It’s, well…It’s a sensitive issue. I don’t think you’re going to stop people from saying that or other things that you and I may think as mature adults are inappropriate.

Marni:  Um-hm.

Mason:  There’s just kind of…At the same time that something’s derogatory and slang-ish and kind of putting down someone else, it’s also kind of a way to build a kinship. You know, like if you can call someone that. Like the stereotype would be frat boys, “Oh dude, you’re so gay.” Like remember that scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin it’s like, “You know how I can tell you’re gay? ‘Cause you do this…” And the guy’s like, “Okay, but you know you’re gay…” And it’s a really endearing scene so something…there’s a way to kind of turn it around.

Marni:  Well, it’s about how the language is used, but I think that there are…You know when you’re really talking about people that you need to be really conscious of that and you refer to people as “mentally challenged,” “developmentally disabled…”

Mason:  See, to me those almost sound worse, you know?

Marni:  Why?

Mason:  It seems like you’re jumping through so many hoops to step on eggshells about it. I don’t know I almost…

Marni:  I don’t know. I think it’s something we have to think about as a society.



Go Super to take Quiz Go Super!


Lesson MP3

Go Super to download full lesson MP3 Go Super!

The iTEP® test

  • Schedule an iTEP® test and take the official English Practice Test.

    Take Now >


Marni works with kids and she has heard them call one another “retarded.” Mentally disabled people are sometimes called “retarded,” but it’s not a nice thing to call them. It can also be hurtful to mentally disabled people when non-disabled people use the word “retarded” as an insult.

Mason says that he used to say “retarded” and that he doesn’t think there’s any way to stop people from saying it. He also doesn’t think it’s necessarily all that bad of a thing to say. He mentions a scene in the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin in which two characters make a series of jokes beginning with “You know how I can tell you’re gay?” Mason says the scene is funny even though frat boys often use “gay” as an insult, which many homosexual people find offensive.

Marni reminds Mason that terms like “retarded” and “gay” refer to people and that we should be careful not to use them as insults. Plus, it’s almost never appropriate to say “retarded.” “Developmentally disabled” and “mentally disabled” are more acceptable.

Mason says that he thinks terms like “developmentally disabled” are worse than “retarded” because it’s clear that you’re going out of way to be careful. Marni completely disagrees.

Do you ever hear people say “retarded” or “gay” as insults? Does it upset you?



Log in to Comment




as it used to be, people who likes terms “retarded” and “gay” they want to show up  among others in a company and beleive that this way will make them cool reputation. it’s unpleasantly.. there are some other ways to joke.

05:36 PM Aug 21 2011 |




Yep! saying rubbish words is unbrilliant for all kids ,especially for college students!

when  i was a freshman i spoke dirty words to others ,cus i used to it ,i thought it was cool to spoke that way,or others did not think you were a real man ,for it was a fashion to say something hurtful that each real man shoud follow.

but now ,i do not think that way .i hate to speak to anyone with an unpolite way,for our college students we should keep on with our society in some parts rather than followwing the bad fashions!

10:07 AM Apr 29 2010 |

1 person likes this



i think that perhaps you might call "are u retarded"? just to your closer buddies, because they would know that you're joking and well.. it depends on person of course..

01:26 AM Mar 25 2009 |



I think it's okay to say to your close friends, " Are you retarded?" when you are joking to them, but using "gay" is inacceptable.

05:12 PM Feb 24 2009 |



It's funny, because in rap slang, people use Retarded as an action verb.  When you get "Retarded", it means you are going crazy, and acting stupid, but in a good way.  Like when you are in a club, and the DJ says let's get retarded, he means "let yourself go, and don't worry about it.  Just go crazy!  But obviously, the word is still a sensitive word to use because even the black Eyed Peas had to change the lyrics to their song, "Get It Started"which was originally called "Get Retarded"

02:28 PM Dec 01 2008 |



It depends on person, ofcourse you shouldn’t use it with people whom you met for the first time,,,but I agree with Mason that it’s one way of forming a strong bond of friendship…It’s being comfortable with the company of each other….I do use some derogatory words for my co-teachers, but they are not hurt because they know it was nothing but joke…hehehee

03:38 PM Dec 10 2007 |



it is my first time to here.i like english very much ,but my english is badly .so i neet everybody's help!

02:25 AM Nov 12 2007 |



Moldova, Republic Of

Actually I think the usage of "retarded" used by people has a different connotation. They  are using to stress some one who is stupid or very slow in judging, or did something really ridiculous. The language is changing all the time and it is not necessarily an offense for challenging people! 

11:22 AM Jul 26 2007 |

A lover of Ebaby

South Korea

Depending on whom you talk the answer could be different.  You don't mind saying it if you talk to your close friends; however, be careful when you talk to others.

03:10 AM Jul 24 2007 |

seven lee

seven lee


fist time to study like this,but i feel goodWink.it's so novelty.i like hereKiss

11:41 PM Jul 23 2007 |

a man. a plan.


yeah i agree with realkatef statement! It depends on how close you know the person. 

10:25 AM Jul 23 2007 |

a man. a plan.


yeah i agree with realkatef statement! It depends on how close you know the person. 

10:25 AM Jul 23 2007 |



this is my first time to be here for learning english

i feel this is a great opportuity for those who are learning english and iam using this web site first time

07:36 AM Jul 23 2007 |


Palestinian Territory, Occupied

great lessons, but I think this valuable material will be more effective if accompanied with interaction among memebers. What do you think?

06:51 PM Jul 22 2007 |



Syrian Arab Republic

oh thats good


02:01 PM Jul 22 2007 |




Nice topic

06:45 AM Jul 21 2007 |



I agree with mason that the word “Developmentally Disabled” is acceptable than retarted or gay. But the word gay isn’t use in our community.

12:56 PM Jul 20 2007 |



if you are joking,really do not mind,say and endear others…

12:28 PM Jul 20 2007 |

Likes (122):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast