Tuesday, June 29, 2010

De do do do, de da da da*

Yesterday Ben and I had a conversation about how teachers at high school get really...peeved (was going to use another word also beginning with p and ending with d and with the same number of letters, but I thought I'd be polite - for once) with students who don't use the formal 'Sie'** when addressing them. In primary school the children get away with using the informal and friendly 'du'** probably because they're too young to know better, but come high school the rules change, you have to use Sie with the teachers to show respect.

Anyway, today Ben says a teacher said to him (& I'll give you the English translation so you wont have to bother with 'google translate';

"did you du me?"

Ben quite probably had du'ed the teacher, he's a foreigner afterall and people make mistakes in their mother tongue often enough so in a language that isn't your own it's even easier - the teacher should be glad Ben got the word order right (Germans have a really bad habit of sticking verbs at the end of sentences, so I have a tendency to forget the verb...)

And another thing, while I'm whining about schools and Germans;
it's hot here, it's almost July afterall, we've just had the longest day and everything, it's the middle of summer and it's H.O.T.
Both my children came home yesterday saying they've got 'Hitzeplan'*** while the weather is being so...summery. This means that the primary school has shorter lessons and on 3 out of 5 days Jas will be home at 1130, high school just drop the last lesson (or is it last 2?) resulting in children also being home earlier than planned, but it gets more complicated than that, at high school the temperature in the school is checked daily and only if it's above a certain level in a specified number of classrooms and if 35% of children in 1 class are wearing green striped socks (ok, I made that bit up) then hitzeplan comes into force...bloody good job I don't work eh?

* a really old song by the Police
** Sie & du both mean 'you', Sie is typically used with people you don't know but also in the workplace to show respect/hierarchy, du is used with people you know and also to children whether you know them or not - to a foreigner it's a minefield and scared me off talking to my neighbours in German because I was unsure whether to use du or Sie (this didn't mean I didn't talk to them, 'cos they're dead modern and speak excellent English, way better than our German)
*** hitze = heat, plan = plan

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