Friday, February 08, 2008

Roll those rrrs

Drrrrnda, drrrrnda.
      Drda, drmda.
Again! Drrrrnda, drrrrnda.

Caroline and Lucie are practicing rolled rs in the living room while I work. There are plenty of kids who don’t have r down yet, but Lucie is heading to Asia for four months Monday (the life of a babysitter model), and wants C to get in some practice before she leaves. Lucie learned her rrrs on drnda, or chatterbox, and so Caroline does too.

Thanks to Lucie and her family, our babysitter family, C speaks fluently in Czech, with a Prague accent to boot. She speaks to Lucie in Czech automatically, but English is the language she pulls out when she meets strangers, and especially new children. Rumor has it that she tried to convert her kindergarten to English a few months ago but that the kids stuck to their native tongue. When I asked her about this, she said that she thought everyone should speak like us. She said it regretfully, as if she thought they were missing out and she was just trying to help. (I sometimes wonder what her kindergarten teachers make of C. Once every two weeks or so, they’ll send her home with a note that says she was awfully good and didn’t boss anyone around that day. It makes us wonder about the rest of her days.)

Luckily her idol worship of Lucie, home for the last two months from Singapore, has helped make Czech cool again, and she has pulled out her Czech children’s books and asked us to start reading them. She gets Will to read them in English, but she says she doesn’t mind if I read like Lucinka. The nursery rhymes are easiest for me to pronounce well, so that’s what I mostly stick with. Rhymes, plus I’ll read Czech kids’ magazines, pages beautifully full of pictures and activities with only a few words in between.

Tonight we played a game from one of her magazines, Méd'a Pusík, and I read the instructions, deciphering them together with C. Okay, take the kostky, that's dice, and if you land on the walrus you have to go back three ice flows because he was grumpy. Um, does that make sense?

We look at the picture of the walrus and decide it probably does. Then Caroline practices saying mrož, or walrus, a few times. She doesn’t quite get the r but that’s okay, and we roll the dice and keep playing.


Tommy Williams said...

I wish English had the trilled r. Spanish does and I enjoyed it immensely when I studied the language. It's fun to say the alphabet quickly in Spanish, since rr is treated as a separate letter from r: ...p q r rr s t u v... and you have to quickly switch from the r (ear-ay, more or less) to rr (earrrr-ay).

P.S. Nice picture on LinkedIn.

Julia said...

Rolling rs is fun for sure, it is one of the pleasures of Czech. The haceks now, that is another story.

A photographer snapped that pic at a conference when I was deep in chatty networking mode so I thought it perfect for LinkedIn ;-).