The wrong words

When I was little, I was fascinated by the idea of different languages.  One of my kindergarten (pre-school) teachers knew some Maori, and I have a very clear memory of sitting next to her in the sunshine, on a big blue gym mat, demanding to know the Maori word for everything I could think of.  She was very patient with me!

One of Pearl’s birthday presents, intended for the whole family, was a book of the “first 1,000 words” in Japanese – a picture book, with labels in both kana and the Roman alphabet.  We thought it would be a fun thing for all of us to share.

Tonight, Babess chose it as her “story” before bed.  “Great!” I said, “We can learn some Japanese words together!  Let’s pick a page.”

“Yeah!” she enthused, clapping her hands.  “I want the horsey one.”

“Ok… here’s the farm page.  Nojo.  And horse is uma.”

She frowned.  “Let’s play I-spy, Mummy.  I find things.”  We have some other books where you have to find things in the pictures.

“Yes, let’s do that.  Here’s the first one to find – a haystack!  See the little picture here?  Can you find the big one?  In Japanese it’s called, um, hoshikusa no yama.”

She shoved the book away and said, “No! You not doing that! You keep saying the wrong words!”  She was very very cross.  This was apparently not what she had expected at all.  She stormed off into her room and returned with Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers.  “You read dis one.  And you no say da wrong words!”

So fierce.  Perhaps we’ll leave the Japanese for a little while…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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