This year, more than ever before, I have really made a serious effort to make sure our kids grow up speaking German fluently, i.e. being bilingual. German is actually not my first language - that would be Hungarian. But, sadly, my Hungarian is too rusty to teach the children, and it also happens to be one of the most difficult languages there are. We'll just stick with German for now.
For English speakers, German is not that hard to learn, plus there are tons or "German as a second language" materials available on the German Amazon website that I can order and have delivered here. Much like in the US we have a lot of kids in need of "ESL" classes, in Germany there are lots of kids entering school needing to learn "GSL". These materials are perfect for our kids.
In the past, even though the kids would often understand what I told them, they rarely if ever would make any attempt to speak German themselves. Now, thankfully, they have decided that German is actually one of their favorite subjects, second only to art. Naturally, their language learning has soared.
The German books we use have been a funny throwback to the different mindset and culture in Germany. Notwithstanding the fact that all the kids' books are for elementary age or younger, they have so far taught how to ask someone whether they smoke, and how to say that someone is drinking wine or buying beer. Nice sample sentences, eh?
Hi, my name is Isaac. I am eight years old. What is your name? Do you smoke? This is my Mom. She is buying beer and drinking wine.
Lovely! By the way, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the post: please never buy a car that has been assembled in Germany, unless you want something built by complete drunks. Believe me, I had a summer job working on the assembly line for one of "big" car makers. Me and a few of the Muslim workers were the only sober ones. Remind me to do a separate blog post on that some other time, it really is rather shocking.
Back to the subject at hand: So naturally, when a German textbook teaches the names of body parts, just for good measure they will throw in a couple of naked kids.Thankfully, for prudes like us, a black Sharpie will dress anyone in a matter of seconds.
Yup, the black trunks were put on him by me.
To be sure, he was wearing nothing before I dressed the poor child.
That whole incident reminded me of my old Hungarian children's dictionary I got in second grade. I have lived in four different countries on two continents (plus Indiana, which is like a world of its own), and yet I still have all my Hungarian school books, and I have every intention of keeping them for life.
This little dictionary goes, no, not from A to Z, but from A to Zs. Who would ever have guessed that the word for giraffe would start with a "z"? You see, in Hungarian, "zs" makes the same sound as the "s" in "vision" does, so it actually sounds similar to our "giraffe".
This dictionary was written and printed in a communist country. Just for grins, I went to look up words like "god", "church", "Bible" etc. - not one of them was listed. But - there was this:
Devil We read about devils in many fairy tales. In fairy tales, the devil has cloven feet like an animal, but talks like a human. He is wicked, ugly, and frightful. If we didn't know that he only exists in fairy tales, we would be scared of him.
As well as lots of different entries for witches, sorcerers, gnomes, and other questionable creatures:
So hey, don't worry - there is no such thing as a Bible, or a God, and the devil is only a fable creature. Why not go ahead and order another beer while running through the house in your birthday suit?