Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Song of the Sun (or Moon?)

It came to my attention yesterday that K's knowledge in Czech exceeds her English knowledge in at least one area. That's a first!

The area? She knows her months in Czech now, or rather, she sings a song that more or less resembles the months of the year, although she doesn't know what they signify I would say. I have mentioned individual months to her in English, like your birthday is in November, my birthday is in December, right now it is May, etc., but I haven't started teaching the months in order yet. I guess it's time now...

I realized this yesterday on the way home from preschool, listening to K sing a song she's never sung before: "červe, červe, červenec!"

I asked her, "Did you just say červenec?" (July)
"No, červená!!" (red) (first clue she doesn't understand the significance)

But then she sang it again and followed up with something like "srpy" (srpen = August), so I asked her, "And what about leden?" (January)

She instantly replied with the whole song! "leden, únor, březen, duben, květen, červen, červenec, srpen, září, říjen, listopad, prosi-prosi-prosinec"

Predictably, some of those were more recognizable than others, but if you knew what to listen for, they were all there. And if you look closely, you'll see that the initial "červe červe červenec" was actually "květen, červen, červenec"!

Then I asked her, "Do you know what those are?"
She answered, "Yes, the sun," and pointed outside. (second clue she's not totally in on what this means)

This is the fun part: I am almost certain that the sun is not a total non sequiteur in this conversation... The teacher must have told them that this song is the "měsíce" - months. The catch is that měsíc means both month and MOON, and K almost certainly knows only the second meaning. (She doesn't understand time enough to know what a "month" is in English, either, of course.) So she understood the teachers saying, this is about the moon - and then mixed up the moon and sun to tell me it's about the sun.

It's also possible they have pictures to illustrate seasons and months that involve the sun, but I'm thinking a confusion on the word měsíc is involved somehow.

The significant thing here, however, is that my daughter knows something in Czech that she doesn't yet know in English, which is an important milestone in her education. Also, it's surprising that she knew the song so completely the first time she sang it for me - usually she will sing fragments for a while before being able to produce the whole thing. Also, I totally have to figure out a song for "January, February..." to balance her knowledge out again!

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