Tuesday, 16 June 2009

When does one dine?

I was observing a year 7 German class today as an introduction to me doing some voluntary work. The Lernziel was 'to be able to say what I do to help at home'. The pupils were keen and enthusiastic. However they do need repetition (as does everyone) to remember the vocabulary and the simple grammar.

The vocabulary included sentences like Ich gehe einkaufen, ich mache das Bett and ich koche das Abendessen. You may already know the words for 'I am going shopping'. You can almost guess the words for making the bed and I am cooking dinner. Hoever it matters whether you dine in the evening or dine at midday because in German you would have to say das Mittagessen for the midday meal and das Abendessen for the evening meal.

The good thing about learning a foreign language, apart from the obvious benefit of knowing that language, is that it helps you learn about your native language. I come from Manchester and dinner time is midday, but I also know that 'one dines in the evening'. The important thing in any language is to communicate, so as long as the person you are talking to knows what you mean then you have succeeded in communicating. Mittagessen and Abendessen are obvious in German. In English you need to make sure that you are understood when you say 'dinner'.

Bis bald

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