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spires from Carfax

foreign languages at seven

Helen has only done a tiny bit with foreign languages - German and Latin - since my last update on this a year ago.

I had hoped to go through the Hueber Spielerisch Deutsch Lernen books with her at a page a day, but we're not even managing a page a month, so we're still on the "Vorschule" books (I suggest it regularly but never push). We also made it to one "Kinder Spass" session just before lockdown.

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But Helen loves listening to German songs - from the Hueber Lieder und Reime book and from "Sing mit mir - Kinderlieder" on Youtube - likes to count in German, draws rainbows with colour labels in German, and enjoys jokes about "German children always being kinder". And the other day she was trying to teach Camilla "Handtuch".

Learning Latin from the Minimus book never took off either, though I think that's a nicely put together text. On a hunch I got a copy of Getting Started with Latin, which is a slow moving but very traditional text, and we're thirty lessons into that. Helen can now be heard chanting "sum es est sumus estis sunt", though she's still bedding down the idea of verb conjugation

She thinks German is harder than Latin because of the noun genders — she's got as far as having to pick between "ein/mein/dein" and "eine/meine/deine" — so I had to confess to her that Latin has those too. So far she's only seen regular 1st declension nouns, in the nominative and accusative singular and plural. Some of the grammar involved with this she knows from school, but some of it is new. (Grammar was out of fashion when I was in primary school, so I learned almost all my traditional grammar from studying Latin.)


Meanwhile, partly because it was an old interest of mine as a teenager and partly as a model for Helen, I've started on The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit. Not sure how far I'll get, but I'm having fun learning the devanagari syllabary. And now that's got Helen trying a Sanskrit for Children booklet!


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