Learning German - Lesson Zwei

Already little phrases and words are beginning to creep into our daily conversations and we've only had two lessons!

Since last week the children have worked 'telefon','supermarkt' and 'mathematik'into their speech which I think is fabulous. Nothing compares to practice and repetition for assimilating knowledge so I take this as a very good sign. They were really looking forward to lesson two as was I this week.

We spent the start of the lesson looking over their homework. They had created collages of objects which they thought might be pronounced the same in both languages. My seven year old was spot on with his selection which included 'elefant' and 'polizei' and my twelve year old was extremely delighted to find out the polite word for pooh. Why must twelve year old boys be so horrid? We found out some great new words my favourite of which is the German word for rainbow - 'regenbogen'. Isn't that a satisfying word to say? I have been muttering it under my breath since Tuesday because it sounds so perfect.

I wonder if you have come across a German word which has become a favourite of yours?

The lesson focussed on the German alphabet this week. I thought that it would be a piece of cake – it was much harder for me than I anticipated. The pronunciations of the letters 'E' and 'I' are tricky, although not for my seven year old it would seem. We listened to a rendition of the German alphabet song and then repeated the letters. The children had little difficulty with adapting to the new alphabet but despite understanding that the letters were spoken differently my old brain refused to make the new connection on several occasions and 'R' is certainly going to take me a while.

We learnt how to ask the question 'Wie heißt du?' and answer by spelling out our name. This helped cement the letter sounds in our minds. Since the lesson the boys have been able to recall how to ask this which shows that they are absorbing the language.

Finally we played hangman. I say finally but that isn't strictly true because we have played it several more times this week at their request. Using their newly learned German vocabulary and alphabet knowledge they have battled for the German hangman champion of the world title. As I write this they are on 12 wins each and by our next lesson I expect they will have played many more games – remember what I said about repetition being a good way to learn?

As an added bonus to the lesson our lovely teacher only speaks to my 16 month old daughter in German. Surprisingly she doesn't seem confused by this at all and in fact she has started to say 'nein' as well as 'no'. We are incredibly pleased about this because it is our hope that she will be able to speak a second language at a much earlier age. Listening to her mumble 'nein' makes my heart sing.

Our homework is quite amusing. We have to learn to sing the German alphabet to the tune we associate with the English alphabet. Luckily I have one extremely musical child who has paved the way for the rest of us to blunder our way through it. If we are brave enough we may consider sharing our practised rendition with you next week if you are brave enough to listen of course.

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