Sunday, November 21, 2010

Big Horse

The school principal came up to me after the monthly Parents' and Citizens' meeting the other night. (Notice how calmly I wrote that, when all I want to do is scream ''MONTHLY MEETING. MONTHLY MEETING.'' Oops, guess I shouted after all!)

She mentioned how well Andrew's teacher said he was doing in class. And then she laughed. Turns out he had diligently – and correctly, I believe – spelled the words 'big horse' when the word his teacher had been looking for – and trying to pronounce!- was 'because.'

''Having your kids around will force us to work on our pronunciation.'' she joked.

THEIR pronunciation?! Noone has noticed the kids' strong German accent because of their mild American one. If they DO notice something odd, they assume we are Canadian! And I realize that the most English the kids have heard comes from a mix of English, Irish, South Africans, Americans with one New Zealander thrown in for good measure. I think its the English who pronounce 'big horse' like the Australian 'because.' Bighorse it isn't the Americans!

We've had some other doozies as well. You've gotta see the look on some folks faces when we ask them to repeat basic English to native English speakers! Who knew learning your own language all over again could be so amusing?! The other day in the pool (!!!!!) the only other resident in our community so far asked how we were managing without a phone. (It's why I haven't called, honest!) When I told him that we had been to Telstra, the phone company, that morning, he suggested going with something else he called ''Wallace.'' Bighorse we couldn't wait for Telstra. Then he gave me a really dumb look – the same look I got when I didn't know what a 'nappy' was 8 years ago in France – when I asked him whether you spelled it ''Wallace'' or ''Wallis.'' Here I thought I was being clever. Here he is telling me to go with WIRELESS. Oh. Duh.

Spelling's a good one too. Should we tell them that they misspelled the billboard for their media centre?! How DOES one spell enrolment? And would I go somewhere to enquire or inquire about that?! As if reading German for 7 years wasn't enough to destroy my grasp of written English!

I'm still not sure how to pronounce '' Milo'' either. But I do know at least two different ways to prepare it – one with hot water to dissolve the Milo and one with cold milk only so that the chunks float on the milk – both methods having their proponents apparently. And I know now – after having people back away from me when I asked, as if whatever brain disease I had was catching – that it is NOT chocolate milk.

Right-o, mate.

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