Monday, October 5, 2009

le weekend

Appologies for the lapse into French, I'm helping my son learn his vocab for his French test tomorrow. I learnt French at school from the age of 11 (I think, or maybe 10...) it was pretty basic French in the early days, le pomme and so on, however after 7 years of French at school my langauge skills were sufficient to cope with holidays in France until we were faced with coming to Germany anyway!

About a year before relocating to Germany we all started having German lessons so that we wouldn't be completely lost with the language when we arrived. Simon and I had already done 3 years each of school German and so had the basics buried deep in our brains somewhere - that's the theory anyway and although I can chant the 'der/die/das' tables off in my sleep my knowledge of whether nouns are der, die or das is vague...Anyway, the moment I started improving/learning German I seemd to lose my grasp of French, which is annoying, especially as one my friends here is a French expat who's in the same boat as me - having to learn German (she's marginally better off in that her husband is half German, half French and speaks French, German & English - swine!) although she also used to know English and has had it pushed out of her brain by the learning of German!

The Germans take the learning of languages seriously (what a surprise, I have yet to discover something they don't take seriously) at Ben's school they offer a bilingual stream and these clever kids get extra English lessons for the first 2 years before in year 7 studying geography &/or history in English (easy for Ben, whose mother tongue is English) in year 6 they start a 2nd language of French or Latin (it surprises me how many children have opted to take Latin - although I think it's mainly due to parental pressure & the fact that a lot of the university courses want students with Latin, still haven't worked out the logic behind that one) and then in year 8 they can choose to study Spanish. They currently start learning English when they start school at the age of 6!

It's amazing that children here can finish school being able to speak 3 foreign languages, in England there's very little scope for that. But then the English have a very 'island' mentality when it comes to languages & the learning of, and it's only when you've 'escaped' from the island that you can look back and recognise that. The English as a whole see no reason for learning other languages, why should they when the rest of the world learns English?!

So, le weekend...
Was quiet for 2 reasons:
1. bank holiday on Saturday, nowhere was open (as anticipated)
2. I was still suffering with the cold from hell (today is the beginning of week 3) and so was still needing to take life slowly and gently.
Anyway, I think I've broken the back of this horrible cold now, and with it being my birthday tomorrow life can only get better...can't it?

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