Tuesday 24 June 2008

Of slugs and snails

The sun was out yesterday afternoon, not too early! BD (Babel Dad) had a go at mowing the lawn, or should I say the jungle. BK was helping him, putting grass in a bucket. She called me, panicky to show me "un escargot" (a snail). I said to take it out of the bucket and put it on the ground so it can go home (haha!).

She then called me, slightly distressed and showed me the snail. The snail was no more. She had stepped on it. I was not happy. I said I did not like what she did because now "l'escargot est mort! Met!" (the snail is dead, dead (arabic)).
It turns out she saw our next door neighbour kill snails this afternoon, while doing some gardening with her.

She then showed the snail to her father, who did not witness the scene, and said: "Die Schnecke ist tot" (the snail is dead). BD wondered if she knew what dead meant. I think she does. She knew the german word for "mort". Because we do not translate, I feel that if she knows the words in different languages for the same thing, then she must surely know what that thing is. I mean, we do not translate words, we convey ideas in different languages.

On the subject of snails, I was not happy she killed the snail. I don't know why I don't mind killing slugs though. Both are garden nuisance. But I am partial to snails. It must be because I never caught a snail red-handed, whereas I have witnessed slugs massacring my broad beans and my mint.


  1. Hi Souad, she may know what "dead" is in an abstract sense,(and clearly she knows the word in three languages.)but I think children are usually 5 or even 6 when they finally comprehend which things around them are living and can then die.
    It's even part of the school curriculum in year 1. (key stage 1)

  2. Exactly the same thing with Nancy at the garden centre :-(, who told ne that the birds would eat it, which is true I suppose. I too don't like the snail killing, but have no such compassion for slugs!
    Liz x

  3. Interesting Jeannette, thanks for the info regarding the school curriculum. You are probably right. She definitely knows the words and their meanings, but probably not the meaning of life and death. Need to show some Monty Python movies :-)


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