More lessons

September 26, 2007

I just KNOW my kids can learn other languages. I am working toward that end, because many years ago, I read that if you start children learning foreign languages at age 5, they could conceivably learn lots of different ones because of the structure of their brains at that age, or the development of a certain foreign-language chip, or something that I didn’t really pay attention to because it would’ve forced me to think. And I try not to do that unless I am teaching something important like Quantum Physics or how to vacuum the living room, or if I am standing near an open fire.

Anyway, we use the Rosetta Stone Spanish curriculum. This CD-ROM actually makes ME want to learn ANY language in the world that I choose, just because it is so fun…..in a challenging sort of way. Most of the children have gone past the initial “dog” and “cat” and “man” and “elephant” words, and are into “The small boy with the pointed head is riding in the red airplane that is being piloted by a man of questionable integrity, and the inability to accurately calculate the weight of his passengers, and will, therefore, plunge into the nearest body of water in the next 27 minutes.” I can SAY these sentences because I like how they sound when I mimic the inflection and tongue-rolling of the narrators. But I really have no idea what they MEAN, which is kinda embarrassing because I’m a mom, and we’re supposed to know everything, right?

So last night at the supper table, my husband and I were discussing the various words and phrases the children were learning, and, purely for my own entertainment, I blurted out one of the 3 phrases I know by sound only……..merely because the tongue-rolling part is just so fun, and makes me feel like I am an anchorwoman on CNN. So the children all looked at me with the implied eye-rolling they do whenever I do this, and then started discussing what the phrase actually meant, as I busied myself feeding the smallest child, because I’m just not so sure what I had just uttered. Other than something about a horse. And once they had figured it out, our 7-year-old, who has just begun learning this language, and pretty much guesses at every turn, wildly poking this key and that on the keyboard, hoping to accidentally happen upon the ability to speak Spanish fluently by tomorrow, called out this sentence to encourage his siblings to think he was really learning like they were:

“Hey! How about THIS one!…….ein a katze?”

And we all sat around with puzzled expressions for a moment, knowing that we KNEW this word, but not connecting it with our Spanish repetoire…….until one of us realized that he had learned the word “cat” correctly and impressively………

in GERMAN!

This post makes it sound like we sit around discussing the agricultural movement of 19th century Japan in three different languages because we enjoy the challenge, and because we just CAN. But the reality is that we know maybe 20 Spanish words, and are secretly all hoping to use it to eavesdrop on those of Spanish origin frequenting Goodwill on our next outing.

Come on. Admit it. You know you’ve always wondered what they’re saying too.

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2 Responses to “More lessons”

  1. Nina said

    I have the Rosetta Stone demo CD and we love it. It’s the most comprehensive free ANYthing I’ve ever owned. I remember a little Spanish from high school but not much. What’s also fun is checking out Spanish versions of children’s books from the library. We’ve done that with books we own in Engish and it’s fun figuring out which Spanish words translate into which English words. Right now we have “Huevos Verdes Con Jamon” which is the Spanish version of….
    oh you probably don’t want me to tell you. That would ruin the fun.

  2. Sonya said

    I think I hurt myself from laughing so hard! I took three years of Spanish in high school so my Spanish is spotty, at best. I do wonder what they are saying when they speak quickly to one another in a restaurant. You know, when they are bringing you your food and talking to another employee at the same time. I often wonder if they are saying that my food was dropped on the floor and they just blew it off and put it back on the plate!

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