Tag Archives: code-switching

Cold cuts?!

Today in a conversation about preserving fish someone was searching for the word der Tiefkühlschrank and came up with the English word “freezer” /ˈfri:zəʳ/. Since the discussion was in German, I heard der Friseur /friˈzø:ɐ̯/ – “hairdresser.” Sometimes context just isn’t enough!

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Dance your way to fluency

I’ve just come back from my Irish Set Dance group. Set dances are called by someone and here in Hamburg we use a mix of English and German. The step names are mostly in English – I’m not sure that there any books that explain the steps in another language – but there are moves where German is used. So you might here »Ladies Chain und  dann umdrehen« meaning “Ladies Chain and then turn around” or »Ein halves House«  – “Half a House” –  which is particularly interesting because of the inflected form of the word halb to match the German word for “house” – das Haus. One also learns words like schwindelig – “dizzy” (from all of that umdrehen) – and die Pause – “the short break” – that aren’t dance specific.

But probably most importantly, I think that dancing acts a little like alcohol is meant to, it relaxes you and you are more willing to give German a try. It helps too that you laugh when steps get screwed up, at least in my wonderful group, because laughter is a great learning accelerator!

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