Marie est à la piscine ...

September 29, 2010 by Rieshy

I always had excellent French language teachers in school.  The title of this post is from the first French dialogue I ever had to memorize.  Poor, wayward Marie, she always ran off to go swimming....

In high school I remember my father riding the subway to and from school with me so that he could help me with my French 1 homework; we were reading a history of the Napoleanic era, in French.  I remember one high school French teacher with especially nubby fingers.  The teacher would raise them in the air and wiggle them as the class conjugated verbs outloud.  The entire class would sit transfixed in awed concentration as his stubby little fingers flexed and straightened.

Not so with my German language teachers.  My main memory of German class is... um, nothing.  Though I do remember one teacher who spent the entire year sitting on top of some tables chatting with the cool kids about concerts while I and the rest of the uncool kids did Algebra homework.

Of course, my Dad choose Austria and not France for one of his Sabbaticals.  I was suddenly submerged in the German language without a stitch of grammar.  I had a headache for months straight and came out of the experience heroically still without a stitch of grammar but with a lot of vocabulary, an approximation of an Austrian accent, and some lifelong friends.

This summer I decided I would try to teach myself German grammar.  It's only been 30 years since I could completely mangle German with my Austrian friends.  Easy?


However, I've been having the time of my life.  I chose a heady, academic tome with which to learn: Bis(s) Zum Morgengrauen.  Which is simply the book, Twilight, translated into German.  It took me about 3 chapters before I realized the joke inherent in the title- bis being a preposition and biss meaning to bite...

Since almost nothing happens in Twilight, Bella spends a lot of time doing laundry and cooking dinner- which, regrettably enough,  is quite useful vocabulary for me.  I also now know about a million different ways to express teen-aged angst and being, rendered breathless by beauty.  The general silliness makes grammar study much more diverting. 

Recently, I discovered some German language movies to watch and some internet sources for German language news. Added to those sources we've been listening to Pimsleur cds in the van and I've been reading from my German language Bible.  I've been waking up with German words on my tongue.  Very cool. 

To what end?  No idea.  However, it has raised some interesting theological questions from my 4 year old. He asked me last night, "What language does God speak?"

1 comment:

Ostriches Look Funny said...

My son asked me if God watches tv. I said no, but I'm thinking maybe that's the wrong answer because how does he know what's on if he doesn't watch? Then he asked me if God can eat rocketships, then my brain exploded.

I wish I could speak German. I was there for a summer, and I came away with the ability to say "Dirty chicken", because those are the things I learned from my Good old dictionary.

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