On Foreign Languages

Nov 2 2011

If you’re looking for information on which foreign language to teach your child, this is SO not that blog.

I mean, I’m still trying to teach 4 out of 5 of my children English as a First Language so that they might understand me when I say, “Empty the dishwasher.”  I even try saying it loud and slow, like any good American trying to get a furr-in-er to understand, “EM TEE the DISH WASH ERRRRR.”

No luck.

So if you’re looking for foreign language advice, click away and find something helpful, and, you know, reliable to read.

This blog post is about my own love of language, and my current fling with German.  In particular, this blog post is about how German affects me as a mama of five.

Please don’t tell English; she’s still and will always be my first love, and I want to be faithful (I swear it’s true), but there’s just something so alluring and compelling about German.

I’m beginning to believe more and more that I should’ve been born German. A) They have the best words. B) If they don’t have the best words, they just keep adding crap onto words and stringing stuff together ’til they do have the best words. C) Their highest culinary achievements are beer and sausage… after they mastered those, they wisely quit the field (’cause, really, what else does one need, especially with the proximity to Belgian chocolate?).

In honor of my five (that’s “fünf” to you) kids, I’m going to share these…

My Top Fünf Favorite German Words

  1. schadenfreude (noun) – pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune. My love of schadenfreude is well-documented, like, to name just two, the time I told you about my schadenfreudenous pants and the time I told you about my schadenfreudenous drive.  Basically, having fünf children reordered my world into one gigantic schadenfreude just for you.  You’re welcome; it’s really been my pleasure.
  2. weltschmerz (noun) – sentimental pessimism; sorrow that one feels and accepts as one’s necessary portion in life. Used in a sentence: “Someone who think she has become the world’s schadenfreude has some serious weltschmerz.”  (P.S. Thanks, AJ, for turning me on to this fabulous word.)
  3. fahrt (noun) – journey. …  and also the related ausfahrt (noun) – exit, usually seen on the motorway, combines aus (“out”) and fahrt (“journey”). According to the Urban Dictionary, “Stupid Americans believe that fahrt is the same as fart, but it is not.  Quit being stupid, Americans.” Well, you will notice that I emphatically was NOT stupid with fahrt listed above.  But guys! Now I’m talkin’ ausfahrt.  Ausfahrt.  (Teeheehee.)  Ausfahrt.
  4. auspuff (noun) – muffler exhaust. Not to be confused with an ausfahrt. They’re completely different.
  5. schwangerschaft (noun) – pregnancy. It’s like sex education, but in one word. I know. I’m sorry.  I’m 12.  Then again, that whole ausfahrt business probably gave me away.

Ah, how I love thee, German language.

In conclusion, Fünf Kinder ist eine Menge Kinder.

The end.