Wednesday 21 May 2008

German Grammar Strikes Back

Just when I thought English grammar had taken over (and posted about it), Lilia surprised me.

She wanted to go outside and help me throw the paper and cardboard garbage into the bin, so I told her to put on her shoes and her coat. I then went off to fetch something.

Soon after I heard her struggle and cry, so I asked what was going on. She said: "Meine Jacke... ich kann das nicht reachen!" ("My coat... I cannot reach it!")

Note the word "reach": she used what would be the German infinitive form (if it was a German word, that is). Pretty amazing.

Again this is something Souad and I do a lot ourselves. I even sometimes do it when I speak German to other Germans. I need to pay attention, I think.

1 comment:

  1. What a great example of how children absorb the morphology of the language without ever having to articulate the rules or even understand the parts of speech!

    I used to be pleased (and often amused) when my students invented those types of words in French--while it indicated that they hadn't bothered to use a dictionary, it did show that they were understanding patterns and grammar in their foreign language.


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