A Week of Impressive German

Do I even need to tell you what I did on Monday? I did prep for tutoring, as ever. All about mythical creatures this week. I also made cheese scones, which I am very proud of because I have no scales so it was all done on guesswork.


They needed more cheese. But most things do.

On Tuesday, my first class were still doing about houses and furniture. Which is getting a little boring for me, but they’re still enjoying working through the millions of worksheets, so it’s all good. I ended up swapping classes for my second class, and instead of being with the normally rowdy class I was with a normally decent class. Who, on that day, decided to be way worse the normally rowdy class. I have never felt more like an adult than when the words ‘yes, it’s snowing. You’ve seen snow before. Sit down!’ came out of my mouth. My third class were thankfully lovely, and got on with writing about animals fairly quietly.

Tuesday evening I forgot there was a BC Café meeting and skyped England instead. Whoops.

On Wednesday I was at the fire station with one of the classes, who were super excited about the fact that I was going with them for five seconds until they realised I’d tell them off for messing around in the road. The kids were at the fire station to learn what to do in case of a fire and a little bit about what firepeople do. It was very boring.


The llmenau fire station

So periods 1-4 were spent at the fire station and then in my lesson, instead of being with my normal class, I was with one of the lads who’s at the school on placement, planning a lesson on farmyard animals. He wants to be an English teacher, so it makes sense. It was also the first time anyone with a decent level of English has gone ‘your German’s better than my English, so let’s talk in German.’ Excuse me while I squeal over the fact that my German’s improved.

At tutoring, the kids were awesome at naming the animals, and then describing them. There was a blip when Luka told me that girls can’t like dragons. But I pointed out that I’m a girl and I like dragons, and he conceded that I made a well put argument. By which I mean, he went ‘oh’ and then agreed that girls could like dragons.

The teacher I’m normally with on Thursdays was away so the kids were split up into other classes. I ended up supervising kids in the computer room reading about potatoes. Don’t ask, because I still don’t understand.All I know is that even the kids who normally mess around didn’t.

Friday I was at the fire station again and it was just as boring as on Wednesday. However, I got into an argument about the emergency services number in England after the dude said it was 911. Despite only half paying attention, my deeply hidden inner anti Americanisation, bowler hatted British personality surfaced. Apparently in the German dubbing of Fireman Sam, you have to call 911 to get him to come and save you. My argument was basically ‘it’s 999. I’m from England so…’ But as the kids were gathering their things to go back to school, the guy came over and was like ‘I didn’t realise you were English – your German is so good. Have all of the things ever.’ So now I have a magazine about fire stations aimed at kids, a kids activity book about fire, certificates saying I’ve achieved bronze, silver and gold level fire prevention knowledge and badges to go with them. Which is actually pretty cool.


Pro tip: Tell people you’re English and you get given stuff.

Saturday I made the two hour trip to Jena in order to some serious shopping. Items purchased include ‘The Shadowhunter’s Codex’ by Cassandra Clare because it was pretty, a copy of ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ which I finished on the train and socks that declare my love of partying.


You know it’s serious when you find it on socks.

And Sunday was spent not doing a fat lot, other than redying my hair. I’m back to tomato soup levels of ginger. All is well with the world.


Grundschule Vocab List

Here is a list of words and phrases you’ll need to know working in a German primary school aka the vocab list I wish I’d had back in September. It is by no means comprehensive and spelling may be dodgy as I’ve only ever heard some of them, but it is alphabetical, so that’s something.

Du brauchst mich nicht
Means ‘you don’t need me’. For when the kids keep calling you over despite being perfectly capable of doing the work themselves.

Halt deine/eure Klappe
Means ‘shut your mouth’, though is slightly more acceptable to say to kids in German. Use sparingly and only when at the end of your tether.
Hör zu
Means ‘listen’. Will be said several times over the course of one lesson, most oftentimes with little to no avail.
Ich glaube
Meaning ‘I believe’, it is an excellent addition to any sentence where you’re not entirely sure what you’re talking about.
In die Reihe
Means ‘in the line’, as in ‘walking in a line’. A state of affairs which never happens as the kids aren’t too bothered about the fact that the road is for cars.
Keine Ahnung
Meaning ‘no idea’, it will be used liberally by kids and by you when faced with German vocab that however many years of study didn’t cover.
Means ‘quiet’ or ‘quietly’. Is often said, but cannot often be used to describe the children.
Must be said with great exasperation. Literally means ‘people’ but can be more accurately be translated as ‘children, c’mon. Pay attention, be quiet and give me a break.’
An exclamation of exasperation.
Mund zu
Means ‘mouths closed’. Often combined with ‘Hör zu’, and if ignored, may later by followed by ‘Halt euere Klappe’
Setzt dich/euch
Means ‘sit down’. Will need to be said at least three times for anything to happen
The trend which has all the kids enthralled at the minute. Tiny plastic figures with big eyes that stick to things. Makes one long for pogs or pokemon cards.
Was denkst du?
Means ‘what do you think?’ Gives you time to work out the answer to the maths problem a child has presented you with.


Of Wild Animals and Elephant Songs

As ever, Monday was spent preparing for tutoring, which mainly involved making lists of animals and creating worksheets, including one about what sounds different animals make.

Tuesday, of course, I was at work. In my first class, I taught the kids the elephant song that I translated last week. This meant singing. Alone. In front of people. That’s not a thing that I do. But the kids applauded, so I think that’s a good sign. Then they continued with the endless worksheets about house and home.

In my second lesson, the kids were learning about the seasons still, and to be honest, there’s not a fat lot for me to do when they’re mainly colouring in. And then in my third lesson, I brought out my pictures of wild animals again, and got into an argument about whether the snake was a rattlesnake. (Answer: No, it was a boa constrictor.)

On Wednesday my first two lessons were about wild animals. The first was with 1/2b who wanted to know what my favourite animal is and I panicked, so my official favourite animal in Germany is the lion. (I’ve been talking to too many Gryffindors, obvs.) For reference, my current favourite animal is actually the bison. Or baby sloths. In the second with 4d/e, they just wanted to know if I’d taken the photos. Which I had. Apparently having gone to a zoo with a camera makes me cool.

My fourth class had been split up because there were so many teachers ill, so I ended up helping out with maths in 1/2b. Maths with the 1/2 classes is so much easier than maths with the 3/4 classes. I wonder why… And my final class was cancelled because the English teacher was ill, so I got to go home early.

At tutoring we were doing about animals, which was lots of fun, especially as Luka has a stack of animal books. And as some of them were in Serbian I got to attempt to speak Serbian. Eastern European languages, man. They look and sound so pretty. The kids also got very jealous when they discovered I go to McDonalds on a Wednesday after tutoring and wanted me to take them with me. Which seeing as one of the servers now always speaks to me in English could, technically, be classed as part of English tutoring…

Thursday I had German on the computers with 3/4c. I had to explain what vowels were about eight times. And one of them got all giggly because a word they had to find in the wordsearch was ‘doof’ (stupid). And I told the teacher I’m not having one the kids in the computer room again, because she never does any work.

My first class on Friday was dealing with wild animals again and how to describe them. It turns out I know nothing about where animals live. Did you know ostriches aren’t Australian? I was genuinely shocked.

My second class involved singing the elephant song a record six times, telling one of the boys that yes, they could draw a secret lab in their dream house but only if they labelled it in English, and admitting to one of the girls that I had no idea how to spell latte macchiato. She was unconvinced by my reasoning that it was probably the same in German and English because it’s a loan word.

My third class was cancelled because, again, the teacher was ill, so early weekend for me. Because I am a true party animal, I went home and marathoned season three of True Blood.

On Saturday I was up at 7.30 because I was being picked up at 8.30 for a trip to Jena with one of my colleagues and her husband. 7.30 is not a time I often see on a Saturday. But we went to Jena and to the planetarium, which was pretty cool, except for the part where I fell asleep and missed a few minutes of the presentation… But, it was all fine. We then went to a shopping centre that I want to go back to. My colleague asked if we had such big shopping centres in England, and I was like, the Bullring is so much bigger than this.

Then we met up with one of her cousins, who gave us a short tour of Jena and a crash course in the Romantics and philosophers of Jena, which was really interesting though a little confusing. Basics, Goethe and Schiller are important people. Despite them never ever ever being mentioned in any lectures I’ve ever been in ever. I kinds feel like this is the equivalent of doing an English Lit degree and Shakespeare never being mentioned. Which is possible.

We were invited back to her cousins house, where he thoroughly he embarrassed his son by trying to get him to talk to me in English. Adults of the world: don’t do this to your kids. Just don’t. If we’re confident enough in our other language to attempt it, we will. And if we’re not, then you telling us to speak it will just make us blush.

After so much German and such an early start, I ended up going to bed at like half nine. Which worried my colleague and her husband a little (I was staying over at theirs), despite the fact that I’d explained several time that nonstop German was super tiring. Ah well.

Next day we went swimming and to a Chinese restaurant, which was all kinds of good. Never actually been to a Chinese restaurant before. New experiences, yay. Then they took me home, and I spent the rest of the day mentally making a list of all the things I should be doing and actually finishing of season three of True Blood. I’m so good at this being an adult thing.


Revolutionising Fairy Tales

University of Nottingham has a German language newspaper called Die Nottinghamer Rundschau, which recently held a competition, asking for modernised fairy tales. I am a sucker for fairy tales and I study German at Nottingham so I had a crack at it. I didn’t win – probably would have helped if I’d written it in German – but I’m still quite proud of my entry, so I thought I’d share it with you. Thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism are all welcome in the comments box.

Sleeping Beauty

Rose’s godmother wasn’t psychic. There was no such thing as psychics. Any prophecy she spouted wasn’t an actual prophecy, it was just the ramblings of a woman who’d watched too much bad television. Which was why it was fine for Rose to be walking through the park this late at night a week before her twenty first birthday. Because her godmother’s prophecy wasn’t real. That was what she was telling herself even when the hand clamped over her mouth.


“She’s in a coma.” The doctor looked tired, as though she had been on her feet for far too long. “At the moment, it’s too early to say whether she’ll come out of it. If she does, it could be days, weeks, possibly even months.”

Rose’s mother started crying, burying her face in her hands. How had this happened? Why had Rose even been there? She knew what her godmother had always warned of. Maybe she didn’t believe it, but her mother had always thought she wouldn’t be stupid enough to test it. No, not stupid. This wasn’t Rose’s fault. This was the fault of whoever had attacked her beautiful daughter. The police had better get him, otherwise there would be hell to pay.


Days went by, becoming weeks which passed, eventually turning slowly into months. The weather brightened, the sun shining through into Rose’s hospital ward. It was late afternoon when the dark haired girl gently sat down in one of the hard plastic chairs. “Hey Rose,” she said quietly. “It’s Philippa. Long time, no see.”

Rose slept on, not even stirring as Philippa took her hand. “I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner. They didn’t tell me. Not for an age.” Her voice shook, as her thumb traced Rose’s knuckles. “I thought you were breaking up with me.” Either a sob or a laugh escaped her –  it was difficult to tell. “Then when your Mum bothered to let me know, I had to try and get back. Japan’s a long way away you know. You couldn’t have waited till I was back in the country to pull a stunt like this, could you? No, no that’d be too simple.” She angrily pushed away tears that were gathering in her eyes. 6000 miles, three planes, two trains and a bus. She hadn’t cried during any of that, why was she crying now? Even when she’d had to sell most of her things to afford the journey home, even when her passport had been stolen during a layover, even when Rose’s mum had tried to stop her coming onto the ward. There had been no tears then and she refused to start now. “I know you’re still in there. They said you’ve got brain activity. Always thinking away. So just wake up. Just…wake up.”

Nothing. Philippa’s face crumpled as she fought against the tears. “Look, I came back from the other side of the world,” she almost snapped. “The least you could do is wake up to say hello. I’m the selfish one. Not you. So wake up. C’mon.” Her voice broke on the last word. “Please, Rose. Don’t leave me.”

“I’m sorry, visiting hours are over.” A nurse had appeared at the end of the bed, his glasses badly in need of cleaning. “If you could make your way out…”

Philippa nodded, biting her lip. “I’ll come back,” she promised to Rose, bending to press a kiss to her lips. “Don’t go anywhere.”

“Like I could.”

“Rose, Rose, you…” Philippa was pushed to one side, as the nurse began to check Rose over. “You woke up!”

“You came all the way from Japan,” Rose smiled at her girlfriend. “It would have been rude not to.”


I’m English. Honest.

So my week starts on Sunday, because I blogged about my trip to Suhl already. Sunday was mainly spent either asleep or at the BC Café. There were board games, including one based on Bruges which I, more through luck than judgement, came second in. Later we played Werewolf, both in English and German, and I suck at Werewolf in both languages. Werewolf, for those of you who don’t know, is a game in which basically, you’re trying to stay alive, while by night, werewolves prowl the village, and by day, the villagers pick someone to lynch. I got lynched, despite being a good honest citizen. Up until the lynching part, it was fun. And to be honest, saying I told you so after they killed me was pretty fun too.

The weather on Monday was beautiful and I braved the sunshine in a skirt with no tights. And got a ton of disapproving looks. Which was fairly disheartening but hey, I wasn’t overheating, like if I’d worn my jeans. I also managed to forget my memory card so I couldn’t print off photos, which was the whole reason I’d gone into town. Well done me.

Tuesday I didn’t have to start till 12, because my first lesson wasn’t happening. Sadly, I forgot this and rocked up at school at 10. Whoops. In the classes I actually had, the kids were going over months and seasons again. They were pretty good, but some of the months have the same spelling in both German and English – it’s only the pronunciation that separates them –  and that tripped them up a bit.

Wednesday was a sport competition day. So I went along to the gym ready to take down points and stuff, but it turned out as the school currently has four, yes four, people on placement, they were at capacity for people to do menial tasks, so I spent a couple of hours catching up on the internet. While I‘m on the subject of placement people, they’re not allowed keys to the school. I think it’s because they’re only here for a month, but they’re not allowed keys. This means people older than me are not allowed keys, whereas I am. And the keys are important! Unlocks the computer room, the staff toilets, the staff room… Also, in the hierarchy of teachers according to the kids, I am no longer bottom. That’s right – I rank higher than placement people. The power’s going to my head.

After my free couple of hours, I had English with class 1/2b, talking about wild animals. Lions, tigers and bears, they already knew. Meerkats and hyenas, not so much. This led to Michael demanding to know how I knew it was called a hyena, to which Janek replied with ‘because she’s English!’. That is the correct answer. I am glad Janek answered for me though, because my answer was ‘Because I’ve seen the Lion King.’ Doing well.
Two hours before tutoring, I realised I had messed up making word searches. I’d put the answers to find in, but hadn’t filled out the other boxes with letters… So I ended up making them by hand. Thankfully the kids thought that was awesome. We did about sport and I almost managed not to mention Quidditch. Almost. I also had to disabuse Luka of the idea that girls can’t like football.


Handmade wordsearches. I spoil those kids, I really do.

Thursday I was doing maths on computers with class 3/4c again. Was relatively painfree, though they struggle to multiply anything by ten. Or at least, as soon as you give them a number bigger than ten they can’t multiply by ten, while I’m sitting there, willing them to just add a zero at the end.

In the afternoon one of the teachers took my shopping for a swimming costume as an early birthday present (don’t ask, long story) and then that evening the majority of the staff went out for a meal at an Indian restaurant, to celebrate International Women’s Day which was last week. It was very odd being one of the few who actually understood the menu. And not having anyone take the mick because I ordered what I always order.


These were adorable. And I want one.

In my first class on Friday, I failed at knowing the English names of spring flowers and then explained two worksheets about wild animals. It was a very easy going lesson considering the class I was with are usually at least a little disruptive.

My second class was about houses again. There was a myriad of worksheets for the kids to do and while they got on with that, I tried to translate a song I learnt from scouts, because it’s about an elephant and who doesn’t want to sing a song about an elephant? The upshot is I now have to sing in front of classes next week.


Behold. The pinnacle of my translation career to date.

In my third and final class I was tasked with conversation practice with a class that invariably doesn’t want to talk. However, all of them did and did it well, and I was very surprised. In a good way. Even Jonnilee, who never wants to take part did. Either they were just in a very good mood, or they like me better/find me less scary than their teacher. Who knows.

On Saturday, I finally went to the Goethe Museum. Ilmenau is very proud to call itself a Goethe town and thus I thought maybe I should see what the fuss is about. For those of you who don’t know, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, playwright and politican during the late 1700s and early 1800s. His most famous work is Faust. He visited Ilmenau several times during his life and wrote a poem entitled Ilmenau, the only of his poems to be titled with the name of the place it was inspired by. It is from this poem that the town takes its slogan of ‘himmelblau’.


Selfies with Goethe.

The museum was pretty interesting, helped by an audio guide in English and a lovely room steward who kept pointing things out to me and said I spoke very good German. The woman at the entrance was also surprised when I asked for the audio guide in English and checked that I was sure I’d rather have it in English.

I then spent the majority of Sunday in my pyjamas, sewing and watching films, because as I believe I have said once or twice, I am the coolest of kids.


Suhl’s Cool

In my last post, I mentioned that Suhl (a town in Thüringen) has a weapons museum. This is because Suhl was initially a base for metal processing, which led naturally into gunsmithing, armoury and cannon making. It was very important for the German weapon industry, which is a covert way of saying it was one of the centres of weapon production during World War Two. Nowadays, it has Germany’s only school for armourers and, I believe, still produces rifles etc for sport and hunting.

I’m a huge weapon fangirl. Not so much for the damage that they can cause, but the mechanics and intricacies of them. Swords, guns, crossbows. You name it, I’ve probably fangirled over it at some point. I think my parents took me to too many historical re-enactments as a kid. The main reason I want to go to New York is the Arms and Armour exhibit at The Met. (All contributions to my ‘Kat goes to New York’ fund are gratefully received.) So yes, me plus a weaponry museum equals kid in a sweet shop.

So to the weaponry museum. It cost me €5 for entry and the privilege of taking photos. The bottom floor is a display about the geology and history of Suhl, which basically explains how it makes perfect sense for Suhl to have been an industrial town based around metal working. I did not read most of it.


A pistol and knuckledusters. What more could you want?

The first floor is much more interesting. It’s a display of many different kinds of guns, from teeny tiny pistols to ones taller than me. They’re arranged by use, so there’s a section for hunting, a section for sporting activities including a subsection on the Olympics, and a section on war. There were a couple of other sections as well, but they weren’t as interesting.


Actual swords hidden in canes.

I spent most of my time skipping (not literally) from display to display case, getting weird looks from middle ages men and taking all of the photos. I also got to shoot an electronic rifle. There’s a tiny shooting range. You have the choice of two rifles and I naturally picked the biggest. It was super heavy, but I still managed to score fairly highly. The woman in charge thought I’d shot before. Which thinking about it, yes I have. But I sucked at clay pigeon shooting and that was…oooh, 7 years ago. So yeah. She also asked where I came from and said my German was good. I like people who tell me my German is good.


Guns from WW2. I have no wisecracks.

 After hitting up the weapons museum gift shop – no, I did not buy a gun, yes, I did by alcohol billed as weaponry oil – I met up with one of my colleagues and her husband, whose name I believe is Dettcliff. He’s a blacksmith in Suhl, and works at a forge, naturally enough. The forge has been there for at least 150 years, and the main part of it is now a museum. But I got to see the actual workshop as well. It was all kinds of cool, though trying to follow an explanation of the smithing process in German was super difficult.


My hosts – Maidlin and Dettcliff

Once we’d had the full tour, we headed to their house, for coffee and cake. Well, tea and cake in my case. I met their middle daughter who was all kinds of lovely, and we generally chatted and it was really nice.Then me, Maidlin and Dettcliff went on a walk up a frankly gigantic hill, to the ruin of celtic settlement. The sun was setting and the light was phenomenal. It was definitely worth the effort, though I haven’t climbed a hill that big since I finished Duke of Edinburgh.


Dat panorama.

To round off the day in a truly German fashion, we had bratwurst, beer and potato salad. Basically, it was a fantastic day. I can’t sum it up better than that. Yay for lovely people and decent places.


Of Fasching and Spaghetti Eis.

Monday I went on an adventure. And when I say I went on an adventure, I mean I got up before 9 am on my day off so I could take two trains and a taxi to the customs office in Suhl. Once I’d taken two trains and a taxi, I then accidentally queue jumped. After not having to pay customs for my package (no, I don’t understand either), I then decided to walk back to the train station, despite the fact that I’d never been to Suhl before, the customs office was technically in a village outside of Suhl and it had taken the taxi like twenty minutes to get there. It was not my best adventure ever. However, I was reacquainted with Sub Wayne and discovered that Suhl has a weapons museum. So that sorted my weekend plans.


My favourite fast food mascot.

On Tuesday it may have been Pancake day in the UK, but here it was Fasching. So I got up at 6, got pirated up and headed into school, not really sure what to expect. I keep calling Fasching German Halloween, and I still standby that description. The origins of Fasching are to do with chasing away the winter and the bad spirits associated with it, which is a little like how Halloween was supposedly the night where one could move from our world to the spirit world with ease or vice versa. So Fasching involves getting dressed up and noise. Lots of noise.


Red Riding Hood and me. 

After a fashion parade by 3/4c, Fasching related work sheets, and the Hokey Cokey auf Deutsch (which I think was my biggest culture shock to date) there were two hours of…I was going to say chaos. But it wasn’t chaos. There were different games in different classrooms and the kids got to run around doing whatever they wanted. Stations included singstar, mask making and musical chairs (called Stuhl Tanz). With regards to costume, there were a plethora of pirates, cowboys and indians. And Star Wars wise, there were two Darth Vaders, one storm trooper and Darth Maul. They teamed up against the cowboys and I would like Hollywood to know you ought to hire these kids and get them to write you a film. Because based on the covert operations going on round the school that I kept stumbling across, I would watch that film. I don’t even like Star Wars particularly.


Vampire and knight were popular choices of costume too.

The BC Cafe meeting was the last for a while, because exams have just finished over here, so they get time off. A whole month I think… But yeah, so I went, drank some free beer, made some friends, the usual. Also casually revealed that I’m English to people who thought I was German. Score one for my language confidence. I also ended up staying longer than I should have because it’s easy to forget that you have to get up at 6.20 when there’s free beer and good people.

Wednesday I helped in a German class for an hour. By which I mean I stood around uselessly as the kids did a test. They weren’t meant to ask for help and with a teacher and two teaching assistants as well as me, I seriously wasn’t needed. In my second lesson, the two classes that usually occur at the same time were conflated because one of the teachers was away at training. So as the kids learnt about numbers me and a work experience guy called Andreas did the worksheet in five minutes. Would have taken less time but we spent about four of those minutes trying to find a pencil.  My third lesson was cancelled because the teacher was, as just mentioned, away on training, so my fourth lesson was preceded by a free. The fourth lesson was spent doing the same as we did in the second lesson, so I am now very well up on English numbers.

At tutoring the kids were shocked to discover I’m a member of the public library, when I produced atlases. Side note: i spent a good fifteen minutes trying to find Serbia in these atlases and before thinking that maybe i should google when Serbia was reestablished as a country. Recently. The answer is recently. I will never again doubt my Grandma when she says they’ve moved countries since she was at school. We made coloured in maps of the world to show where we’ve been and where we want to go.

Thursday I was doing maths with 3/4c on the computers. I was called stupid by an eight year old, as I did mental multiplication along the lines of 8×53 in my second language. That was not fun. Thursday was redeemed by the fact that I discovered you can buy Spaghettti Eis from the supermarket. Spaghetti Eis is my favourite thing in the ice cream world. Even more than smurf flavoured ice cream. So Thursday started with angry Kat and ended with very happy Kat.


Spaghetti Eis, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Friday I talked to a class about wild animals, though it took them about five minutes to figure out what ‘last weekend I went to the zoo in Erfurt’ meant. They went all round the Wrekin with ‘I would like to go to the zoo’, ‘did you know there’s a zoo in Erfurt’ and ‘when was the last time you were at the zoo in Erfurt?’. But they got there eventually, with a little help. It turns out it was the ‘last weekend’ that was tripping them up. I had pictures of the animals and we went through what they’re called in German and English. I also went through parts of animals, such as ‘mane’, ‘trunk’ and ‘feathers’.

In my second lesson, we repeated the names of furniture, sang a song about furniture and then the kids had to match the names of furniture to pictures of the furniture. The best thing about this was them trying really hard to get the w sound in ‘wardrobe’ which led to them sounding a little like Mr Tumnus asking Lucy about the land of Spare Oom and War Drobe. They did really well though, despite a couple of them thinking I would just tell them the answers without them putting any effort in.

My third and final lesson was cancelled, which I was happy about because last week the kids were awful in that lesson. Whereas this week it ended on a high note. Which is always lovely.


Cockadoodledoo vs Üüürüü

At tutoring we’ve been doing about languages and countries, and today we coloured in maps to represent which countries we’ve been to and where we’d like to go. Because I was well aware this was going to result in questions along the lines of “where’s this country?” and because my geography is appalling, I raided the library for atlases. One book I borrowed is called ‘Ich lebe in Europa’ (I live in Europe) which I thought would be perfect seeing as the kids I tutor have never left the continent. What I didn’t bank on was the fact that the book was published in 1998, and a lot has changed since then. For one thing Yugoslavia doesn’t exist anymore.

But non-existent countries aside, it’s a pretty awesome book. It tells you how big the countries are in km2, the main language of each country, the currency, the main religion, the population and the capital city. There’s also other information but I’m not gonna go into that right now. What this book does tell you though, is what a cockerel says in each language. As in cockadoodledoo in different languages*. Which, personally, I am very excited about. So behold, a list for you to peruse, arranged by language groups, because I am a huge geek.

Germanic Languages

English – Cockadoodledoo

Flemish – Cocoricoo

German  – Kikeriki

Danish –  Kykeliky

Swedish – Kykeliky

Norwegian – Kykeliky

Dutch – Kukeluku

Icelandic – Gagaglagu

Romance Languages

Moldavian (Romanian) – Kukareku

Romanian – Kakareku

French – Cocorico

Spanish – Cocoroco

Portuguese – Cocorocâ

Italian – Chicchirichi

Slavic Languages

Slovakian – Kikiriki

Slovenian – Kikiriki

Serbian – Kukuriku

Croatian – Kukuriku

Polish – Kukuriku

Bulgarian – Kukurigu

Russian – Kukareku

Czech – Kykyryky

Finnic Languages

Finnish – Kukkokiekuu

Estonian – Kukeleegu

Baltic Languages

Latvian – Kikeregu

Lithuaian – Kakarieku

Ugric Languages

Hungarian – Kukuriku

Hellenic Languages

Greek – Kikiriku

Albanian Languages

Albanian – Kikikiii

Turkic Languages

Turkish – Üüürüü

Arabic Languages

Maltese – Iquaqui


* These are taken from a German book (‘Ich lebe in Europa’ by H. Brosche, A. Rösel and C. Ruoß [1998: Ravensburger Verlag, Germany]) so all spellings are German phonetics.


School kids and other animals.

The weather was beautiful on Monday. So I went on a wander round the outskirts of town, which resulted in me wandering along a road in the woods, getting odd looks from passing Germans because I wasn’t dressed for hiking.


In my defence, I didn’t intend to end up walking as far as I did.

When I finally wound up back in town, I had found a bookshop I’d never noticed before and had ice cream, because yes, it was that warm. I then spent the evening watching the entirety of Sherlock series 3, because the lovely Manda lent me the DVDs. So I now understand everyone’s references. Two months later.

Tuesday I was back at work. My timetable has changed, which means instead of starting at 12 on Tuesdays, I now start at 10. It’s a hard life. My first lesson was spent talking about animals. Many of the kids didn’t believe me when I said Panda was panda in English, and then I confused myself between ostrich and Österreich (Austria). I also had to explain that a polar bear was called a polar bear and not an ice bear.

In my second class, we headed to the library to watch a video, but the DVD player was mysteriously missing. This led to one of the girls squaring up to me and yelling at me when I said we had to go back to class. I honestly think the kids think they’re scary. I’m sure I would have been much more scared if I could have understood any of what she was saying… Ah well.

In my third and final class of the day, I did nothing. They were learning about directions, and I sat and observed. But after school, I headed to Subway. If you remember in this blog post, my last visit to Subway didn’t go so well. But this time I was prepared for them to think I was weird and I like to think it went pretty well despite a conversation that went:

Me: I only want cucumber

Subway person: So no tomatoes?

Me: No, I only want cucumber

SP: Should I put the lettuce on first?

Me: No, I only want cucumber

SP: You don’t want any other salad?

Me: No, I just want cucumber

SP: …

Me: …

SP: Sorry, that’s really unusual.

As I said, my timetable’s changed, so first on Wednesday I had English with 1/2a, where I did conversation practice about clothes with the kids. Most notable event was me saying ‘jumper’ and one of the boys thought I said ‘Schlampe’ (whore) which are slightly different words…

Then I had a lesson with 4d/e where I watched them do a play about Snow White for the fifty millionth time. They’re quite good at it now, though they do care more about the acting than saying the English properly.

I then thought I was meant to be with 1/2a during third period and duly went. We did English and the kids fought over who got to sit next to me. Then it turned out that they normally have music in third period and English in fourth, so from next week I’ll have fourth period with them and third period free. Ah confusion, my old friend.

Finally I was with 1/2c where they were drawing pictures of Fasching costumes. As far as I can make out, Fasching is essentially German Halloween, but every adult I ask about it appears to hate Fasching, so my understanding of it is a little patchy.

At tutoring, the kids were super excited that I brought Guess Who with me again. They were less excited about learning about nationalities, and I can’t say I blame them. In English sometimes the same word is used for languages and nationalities but sometimes not. In German there are almost always separate words, and the kids found it very confusing trying to get to grips with the English.

Thursday I still only have two lessons, but they’re now with the infamous 3/4c. That would be the class of terrors I used to be with on Wednesdays, if you’ve forgotten. I was supervising them in the computer room, doing exercises on the Subjekt and Prädikat, which would have been far easier if I knew what the Prädikat was. I also almost got into an argument with the teacher about a maths question. That was odd.

Friday first period I did conversation practice with five kids, four of which are the worst behaved in the school. That was…interesting. They decided they were going to swear and my immediate response was to correct their pronunciation. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Just fixed them with a death glare and moved on.

In the fourth period, I was teaching a class about the different types of houses e.g. detached, bungalow, terraced etc. I also showed them pictures of my living room in England and was asked where the Schrankwand (cupboard wall) was. Apparently, it’s fairly standard to have a huge cupboard in one’s living room with books and ornaments and stuff on it. The most difficult room for them to get their tongues round was ‘dining room’, as it’s typical to eat in the kitchen in Germany, and ‘wardrobe’ was the most difficult piece of furniture for them to remember what it meant.

All hell broke loose in my last class of the day. Well, I say all hell. It wasn’t the worst class I’ve ever been in, but any class where I’m left alone to supervise the kids who then decide they’re not going to do their work isn’t great…

Saturday, I went on a jaunt to the Thuringer Zoopark. I got very over excited because there were a ton of baby animals. I got an owl’s attention by saying Hedwig, quoted the Lion King at hyenas, and ate ice cream while watching the lions being fed, so it was feeding time for all the cats. (Cats? Kats? Yes, terrible pun. Sorry.) I also got many disapproving/disbelieving looks, because I braved the sunshine with bare legs. There was me, in a dress and a leather jacket and there was everyone else, in massive coats and knitwear. Is obviously my northern blood. Although Germans are Vikings so why they thought it was cold I will never know.


Bison are my new favourite animals.

On Sunday I helped tidy up after a brunch at the BC Café and spent a lot of it wishing I spoke Spanish. The three guys I was working with all spoke Spanish. I had no idea what was being said. At all.

A highlight of my Sunday was skyping my grandparents, though they were most disappointed that I hadn’t blogged. So here is my blog of the week. Thank my grandparents. Otherwise I might have forgotten… (Joking, I would never. Mainly because how else would my friends know all about my life while I’m so far away?)