Sunday, December 7, 2008

Taska og Klokken

Michaela understands Danish and she didn't tell me! ...Meanwhile I'm suffering through a ten minute charades game with Scotty's bornehaven teacher to figure out that they are eating lunch at 11:00 and then playing outside after they brush their teeth.

I found out that Michaela understand Danish last week as I was proudly explaining to Paul that I know what a "taska" is. She pipes up with a "DUH". Then she proceeds to tell me that a taksa is a bag. THEN she proceedes to tell me she knows as much Danish as a walrus. Whatever little kid!! ...because earlier today we were watching a home video of Scotty at his Danish play gym. I wasn't even listening to what the teacher was saying since I think I instincually ignore Danish talking now, but Michalea says, "Down. The teacher said to get down." Sure enough all the little kids eventually lie down on the gym floor. I was in awe!! she gave me a lesson on how to say 12 o'clock while laughing at me for not knowing.

Scotty, on the other hand, I feel will fight Danish with every ounce in his little body. He gets upset when we switch seats at dinner so you can image his reaction when I pointed at his bag/lunchbox and called it a taska! "NO! NOT TASKA, LUNCHBOX!!" :) Once I tried to count "En, To, Tre" and he yells, "NO! ONE, TWO, THREE!" It will be interesting to see how this one pans out! :)

I know another mom from the States and she sent her four year old boy to bornehaven and three weeks later he came back calling her "Moe-ah" instead of mommy. I think I would cry if I turned into a "Moe-ah". :) (and as a little note: I spell my Danish words how they sound/how they should be spelled.)

I always tell the kids we are lucky that we at least know English though. Sierra came home from school the other day and told me that a boy from Hungry said his first sentence in English and the entire class clapped and cheered. I thought it was so cute. Even kids that I met last year, who didn't speak any english at all, are talking and screaching in class just as much as the others now. Very impressive.

...and another special benefit to an "International School" is that the girls are learning fun words in different languages. They can say "stupid" and "loser" in German. Oh good.

Oh - one more Danish story. When my Grandma and I went to Den Gamel By last week, a lady who worked in a shop asked where we were from. I proudly said that I lived here and my Grandma was visiting from California. Then she asked how long I'd been here and why I didn't speak Danish yet. HA! She didn't exactly say it with a smile and I didn't want to seem like a rude American who isn't bothering to learn the language so I said, "Ya-i taler lit densk, men ya-i-soons du taler mile got englask.", to try and make her like me. (I speak a little Danish, but I think you speak very good English.) These sentenaces are literally the bulk of my verbal Danish skills and I learned them from a cassette tape while sitting in my car waiting for the girls to finish soccer practice in Oregon. AND OF COURSE, she says something back to me in Danish. I just smiled... and said "yes" hoping it would fit the question. :) Phew! It did.


Kelli Nørgaard said...

you CRACK ME UP!! And I love your "FONETIK" translations!

Next time, you can say
"Jeg har FIRE børn så undtagen sprogskolen har deres egen børnehave der, har jeg ikke tid for at gå til sprogskole lige nu!"
I have FOUR kids so unless the language school has its own børnehave there, I do not have time to go to the language school right now!" That should hush them

Tara said...

YES!! Please tell me how to say all of that FONENTIKLY and I will practice for two weeks so I can say it to the next person!! :)

Ingrid said...

You are so funny, Tara! I laugh and laugh. The children are really amazing and it is impressing if M have learned a bit Danish, since she doesn't has a lot of opportunities to practice. Maybe she learn a bit from her after school activities?
Don't bother about Scotty, he will learn Danish whether he likes it or not :-) , and then he can help you when you go shopping. The bad side of the immigrant life, to be a parent that is dependent on your child.
See you!

Anonymous said...

We regularly get scolded by utter strangers who want to tell us that there is something very wrong with us for not speaking Danish, like they do. We are all relatively fluent but much prefer to speak English at every given opportunity simply want to. There's only so much one can discuss in Danish, and after all, we cannot just discard our mother tongue! And our children need to hear English as much as possible. They need Danish for the basics of living here, but they WILL need English more.

I suppose we should also back that up with some quasi pædagogik reasoning that in bilingual families it tends to screw the kids up to chuck the mother tongue out and use Danish at home.

If a bilingual family have their kids in school then, like your commentator Ingrid has said: "..Scotty, he will learn Danish whether he likes it or not :-)..." yes, the kids will learn enough Danish there, but it would be catastrophic to cease the natural chatting in the mother tongue that still needs to occur in the homeplace.

Actually, the advice I recieved from a respected speech therapist connected with the Danish government services was that the mother tongue MUST be used at home and with the family.

But the normal view from the man or woman in the street is that all foreigners here must at least appear to be happy to use Danish as their first language. And that we must make the language our first priority. It makes sense, but really, a lot of families need to be supported to keep nourishing their own real roots.

I know several families who did international moves when the kids were in the tender ages, and the families and kids that fare best are the ones that hold on very firmly to their own cultural practises and language no matter where they go.

The habit a lot of people have here of 'encouraging' newcomers and temporary dwellers to aim to become completely integrated and homogenised is understandable. If too many people come here and want to dance to their own tune, then it will be impossible to maintain order. An example of this is the way names cannot automatically be chosen by the parents and first need to be approved by the state officials. Danish is the approved language and it is kind of threatening for people who were born and bred here to see more and more people coming in and doing what they did 'back home' instead of what is normal here.

However, for a family such as yours, who are only here for one more year (OH how I envy that! To have a place to go!)you don't need to worry about trying to please the mass movement to eradicate the home culture and languages of the newcomers!!!

(sorry, it's rant day on Monday, *pauses for breath*)

AND, you are not an immigrant, and as it stands your children are dependant on you, not the other way round.

Many immigrants here don't have much say in what they do, not really, especially if they cannot get home and the least of their woes is the language stigma.

I made sure, right from the beginning, that I learnt the necessary phrases for getting around the shops and doctors/dentists appointments, as this is bare respect for the people providing us with services.

But really, Århus is a very international town (just look at the sheer numbers of internationals being purposely drawn to the university for starters!) a lot of the services depend on a certain amount of international customers (certainly the Gamle By does!) so for someone in the tourist industry to start chiding you for your language would appear to be disingenious and rude.

I'll go now, sorry to rant, it's been one of those
"Beam me out of here!!!" weekends!

'Babs' x


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