The story behind spicy tooth
Last month, at the start of the new academic year, I was with my Level 1 ESOL class doing some work around the theme of food, which involved reading about the eating habits of two people. One person they read about had a fondness for sweet things and I explained what it meant to have a sweet tooth, as nobody in the class had heard of the phrase before.
Following this, the students did some speaking practice, asking each other questions about their relationships with food. I directed some questions to a couple of students, as I often do, and one particular student mentioned that she had a spicy tooth.
This was not a term I remember hearing before and I was quite surprised that she had come up with it. I deliberated for a brief moment on how I should respond and then told her that I really liked the way she took the term ‘sweet tooth’, adapted it, and came up with ‘spicy tooth’. The technical term for this is language creativity and it was so refreshing to see an ESOL student use language creatively, as they are often concentrating on the correct use of English.
So, I dedicate spicytooth.co.uk to my students, particularly Heifa, who has a spicy tooth.
N.B. A bit of searching revealed that the term spicy tooth has been used before. The earliest example I found was from Wales Online in 2005 in an article titled ‘Toddlers have a spicy tooth’.