There are certain German nouns that truly please me. The word Glühbirne for example for light bulb literally means "glowing pear". It requires no elaboration and never fails to bring a smile to my face (I'm easily pleased). Similarly, Dudelsack (wonderfully pronounced doodle sack) directly translates as tooting bag, a most splendidly descriptive word for bagpipes. Although, on second thoughts, a thousand screeching tomcats sack may have been more accurate. Be that as it may, these nouns and many others are perfect examples of the Germans doing what they do best and saying it as it is.
My concerns over Finje's lack of English input were somewhat repressed with one of these beauties last week whilst visiting friends in Kiel. Having arrived just before lunch we decided to stop off at the local market and buy some provisions for our planned brunch. Strawberries (or earth-berries, not bad either), an absolute favourite of Finje, took pride of place in the basket and were designated strictly off limits until a time specified by me. It may sound a tad mean but a past experience involving vomit, albeit a rather delicate shade of pink, and my best white pullover has forced me into a cruel but kind approach where this particular fruit is concerned.
Arrival at our destination was followed by the customary kissing and hugging (the Germans went all Mediterranean some time ago preferring the double cheeked kiss to the stiff somewhat British style handshake of their forefathers). The goodies were then unpacked, washed and placed on a table already groaning under the weight of various cheeses and hams and, much to Finje's delight, it was time to dig in.
She hadn't taken her eyes off the previously forbidden fruit for a second and following an affirming nod from me, out shot the hand. By happy chance, just before the succulent berry disappeared never to be seen again (hopefully), Finje took it upon herself to examine the object of her desire. Slowly a huge grin began to radiate over her little face.
"Look Mama, it's a snail without clothes. Can I keep it?"
Yes, you guessed it. Snail without clothes = naked snail. Naked snail or Nacktschnecke = SLUG.
It's genius. Well in my little world that counts as genius anyway.
But, more notable and substantially more monumental, my daughter had directly translated a German word into English. No mean feat, nay a mini triumph for which she received, though somewhat bemused as to why, permission to scoff away and damn the consequences.
I later regretted that decision, but what the heck, my baby is TRANSLATING!