In a television show I heard chef Gordon Ramsay say: "I was set at this table by the waitress." However it is also possible that he said: "I was sat at this table by the waitress."
For me as a foreigner it is impossible to distinguish the pronounciation of "set" versus "sat". Are native English speakers able to hear a subtle difference between the two?
It is clear to me that the meaning of the sentence is "I was seated at this table by the waitress." Now this may well coincide with the meaning of "set". Webster's Dicitionary gives as the first two meanings: (1a) to cause to sit; make assume a sitting position; (1b) to place in or on a seat. On the other hand, it is my understanding that "I was sat" -while officially incorrect English- is a familiar expression used in certain regions of England.
Is it possible that any such unofficial usage of the word "sat" finds its origin in confusion over the pronounciation of "set" and "sat" and/or the similarity in meaning (as both are related to sitting)?
What would be the correct present tense version of what Gordon Ramsay said?