Books and thoughts from Copenhagen. – ¡Vámonos!

Books and thoughts from Copenhagen.

| Posted in books, colouring, knowledge about language, languages, primary languages

At the end of July, my husband and I popped off for a short break in Copenhagen in celebration of our silver wedding anniversary. We had a lovely time exploring and sightseeing, and as usual at various points my ‘teacher brain’ or as I prefer to call it ‘lifelong learner thinking’ engaged and I was struck with thoughts and ideas for the classroom.

Firstly I really struggled with not being able to communicate in Danish. I really didn’t need to as everyone spoke English but it made me feel bad not being able to speak. I found that I could understand to a certain extent if things were written thanks to having done some Swedish on Duolingo, plus managing find some similarities at times with German and/or English, but understanding speech was very problematic and speaking more so! My son (who’s studied Swedish for the last two years at Uni) and my husband (who works with Swedes and Danes) tell me that part of the problem is that people ‘swallow’ consonants in spoken Danish making it harder to understand than Swedish. However, I did persevere with my trying to understand and had some success.

For example, I discovered that the word in Danish for an hour is timer. I liked that!

And, as usual, I couldn’t leave without a book for my collection. I had a good look and decided that whilst I’d love a storybook, my level of understanding wasn’t high enough yet, so I settled on a simple word book.

My new book!

Min første bog om Farver is a board book all about colours. Each page has a different colour until the last page which has a rainbow colours. I can see the likeness of farver and Farbe in German. Some colours look – but don’t sound! – like English (pink, orange), some are like French (brun) and others wouldn’t be recognisable to me without the images – sort is black and hvid is white. The last page is about rainbow colours which again reminds me of German Regnbuens farver although I wouldn’t have guessed that er flotte meant ‘are great.’

I’m looking forward to using this when I next look at colours in Spanish as children this year have enjoyed all the comparative exercises we’ve done with multiple languages, finding similarities and differences.

Wishing I’d bought this one now though – I do love the Moomins – but books are so expensive!
PS I found a resource on TPT that is advertised with this screenshot – very interesting to compare the three languages.

2 thoughts on “Books and thoughts from Copenhagen.”

  1. Mary says:

    Oh I do empathise with this 🙂 Not with the Danish, because (little known fact) I did Norwegian at university, but with the “going away and not speaking the language but recognising bits of it from other languages part” 🙂 I am just back from Tuscany, first time in Italy, and was frustrated that I didn’t speak Italian (and worried the locals might think I was one of those monolingual Brits who think everyone should speak English!)

    However, it was both fun and pleasantly surprising how much I could work out from my French, my school Latin and some basic Spanish. Sometimes with my daughter (who has A level Spanish) we tried to guess what the Italian word might be, and, having googled the answer, were amused to see were were often not too far off 🙂

    We did struggle for some time with the translation of “cinghiale” on a restaurant menu though, with no internet, but when we gave up and were told the English by the waitress, it immediately became clear to Francophones: anyone for some sanglier?

    1. lisibo says:

      Hi Mary! Strange you should say that – just about to share the books from our actual holiday – in Italy! I had the same problem as you – between the family we can speak English Spanish German Catalan French and Swedish plus a year’s worth of Latin, and therefore hated not being able to communicate. We were nearly in Sud Tirol so German was more useful than English to be honest. Understanding was easy – it was making yourself understood, and the ‘shame’ of whenever I tried to speak Italian, the reply coming in English!

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