03 February, 2005

Was suchst du in deimem Wörterbuch?

If you are caught looking up a word in your dictionary in my class, the teacher will ask "Was suchst du??" meaning, "What are you searching for?"  and when you tell her, she will make an attempt to convey the meaning of the word to you.  This is all good and well, but she doesn't speak any of our languages.  So the class quickly becomes an interesting game of charades.  It gets even worse when the other students who don't speak your language are the ones that understand the word, and they all start acting the word out. 

So for instance, let's say the word is Fußarzt.  The class quickly becomes a game of Catchphrase from Hell.  You have two options:  Wait till you understand the word (which is unlikely) or just say "Ach so!", look enlightened, and pretend to write the meaning of the word down in your notebook.  I usually choose the second, which sucks just as much, because the teacher will make you use the word in a sentence.  

But lets say, for once, I actually understand the meaning of the word.  Let's say it means "Water bottle."  I think this to myself to commit it to memory and I write it down for future reference.  I also must use the word in a sentence in class. "I drink the water bottle."  Note the lack of the preposition "from" as I do not yet know it in German.

At this point the class looks at me weird and I am saved by the noise of either an ambulance or a rooster.  The teacher never fails to point out the passing of a Krankenwagen, or the crowing of a Hahn.  She also goes around the class and makes the students "say" the noise that each makes in their home country.  You see, American roosters go "Cockadoodledooo!" Turkish roosters make a noise I can't spell, or even distinguish from their regular conversation.  And the German rooster by my dorm makes a noise like it's being beat with a stick.  The point is that each culture mimics the noise in their language differently.

Well, I say I was "saved" by the distracting noise because as it would turn out, Fußarzt does not, in fact, mean "water bottle."  It means "foot doctor." Yes.  Foot Doctor. So, in my infinite wisdom I exclaim to the class:  "I drink the foot doctor."

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