Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Language Lesson Gone to the Dogs


Baby M is learning to talk in an unofficial Swiss language called English. This is not without consequences. Because when Baby M says one thing, the Swiss think she means another. So far these misunderstandings have been rather tame, but The Frau is eagerly awaiting the day one of Baby M’s English words offends the local German sensibilities because it will make for a good blog post. 

Baby M has moved past her dog stage (crawling on all fours, eating off the floor, putting balls in her mouth, following The Frau from room to room) and now is in the “I love dogs stage,” possibly because she no longer acts like one. Last week on a walk around Baden, Baby M pointed and proudly shouted “da” to every dog we passed.

One Swiss man who was walking his dog actually stopped to talk to us when Baby M pointed and shouted “da” at his dog. We conversed in German:

“Does she like dogs?” He asked.

“Yes, dog is one of her new words,” The Frau replied.

He turned to Baby M. “What’s that?” He pointed at his dog.

“Da!” Baby M yelled, in a big, fat American voice.

The man shook his head at her mistake. “Yes, there is a dog there,” he told her.

In German, “da” means “there.” So the Swiss think Baby M is going around shouting “there.” It could be worse.



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