Achtung Baby Or Better Say Bum!

18/03/2011 19:13 | Updated 22 May 2015

You may or may not be aware of a frequently employed German phrase used to express compassion or understanding of a situation. "Ach so" can be translated as "Oh I see" or "Ah, got yer now Luv" depending on your dialect.

As with most German words containing "ch" or sch", when pronounced correctly there is a tendency to sound as though you are simultaneously gurgling milk. Or Milch.

I am reliably and flatteringly informed that my German accent is very good (obviously not ze von I use to take ze meekey out of my huzband!). I take heart from this fact, being aware that the contrary applies regarding my use of their nightmarish grammar rules.

Finje of course, gurgles and umlauts her way through life effortlessly. She still sounds like an extra from "Allo Allo" when she deigns to appease me with a scattering of English but her German is spot on. She does occasionally mispronounce which, much to her chagrin, provides us with no end of entertainment.

Last week she came indoors, informing us that she and her friend had built a trap for the "naughty" teenagers in the playground. The German word for teenagers is Jugendlicher. Finje struggles with this word and calls them noodle-lickers.

When it comes to "Ach so", she has is down and doesn't use it sparingly. Whilst fine here in Germany, back in Blighty people must think she suffers with tourettes. You see, said quickly enough it does sound a bit like arse hole! Which is bad.

The fact that this had not occurred to me is an indication of my continuing Germanification. As my students charmingly used to say, "Frau Nowak you are becoming more like a Germ every day!"

On our last visit to the UK whilst enjoying the pleasures of a decent supermarket I was nudged back to Britishness.

Finje's weariness after late nights visiting relatives, manifested as recalcitrance as she asked question after question. Trying to avoid mumfail in public I answered with only the merest hint of impatience. With each answer came the inevitable, "Ach so!"

The little lad behind us in the 10 items or less queue (there's only so many tea bags one can fit in hand-luggage) could take it no longer and took it upon himself to inform my daughter of the error of her ways.

"You shouldn't say arse it's bad. You can say bum-hole though"

I couldn't meet his mother's eyes!


Achtung Baby
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