Word of the week – das Knie

Wolfi’s word of the week: das Knie    [das k-nee]

Das Knie is the word of the week because we have recently been learning about parts of the body. I was wondering how I could bring this topic to life when I remembered that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Der Grüffelo (The Gruffalo) is his knotige Knie (knobbly knees). So we looked at the book together and discovered that he also has schreckliche Zähne (terrible teeth), feurige Augen (fiery eyes) and of course, a giftige Warze (poisonous wart) on the end of his Nase (nose). So, a great book for learning about the various bits of our body, not to mention colours (because of his orange eyes, green wart, black tongue and purple prickles!)

Now, a small note on pronunciation. You actually say the ‘K’ at the beginning of the German word Knie, unlike the silent ‘k’ in knee or, say, knight. We used to pronounce the ‘k’ sound, back when Old English was spoken in these Isles. This might explain why French knights, in the time of King Arthur, said ‘k-nigget’ instead of ‘knight’ …*

Anyway, I digress. Naturally the song ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ also comes to mind when teaching parts of the body. In German it goes as follows:

Kopf, Schultern, Knie und Zeh’n, Knie und Zeh’n
Kopf, Schultern, Knie und Zeh’n, Knie und Zeh’n
Augen, Ohren, Nase und Mund**
Kopf, Schultern, Knie und Zeh’n, Knie und Zeh’n.

So to finish, as it’s Valentine’s Day today, here’s hoping someone makes you go weak at the knees (weiche Knie bekommen) 🙂

*“I blow my nose on you, so-called Arthur-king, you and your silly English K…k-niggets!”
**The words for nose and mouth are swapped around to better fit the tune


Word of the week – die Farbe

Wolfi’s word of the week: die Farbe    [dee FARber]*

As it’s cold, rainy and grey outside, we wanted to brighten things up a bit. So in our German class this week, Wolfi has been introducing us to the words for different colours, such as rot (red), blau (blue) und grün (green). Die Farbe is the German word for colour but it can also mean paint. In Berlin we used to go to a painting class where the lady who ran the session instructed us to dip our paintbrushes ‘ins Wasser und dann in die Farbe‘ (‘into the water and then into the paint’). Doing this certainly fixed the meaning of die Farbe in our heads. I would love to get our pre-school children painting too, but I think it could get a little messy (and I’m not the one who has to do the tidying up)! So we have been learning about die Farben (colours) using felt-tip pens and colouring pencils instead 🙂

*This is only a guide to pronunciation. How to pronounce the German ‘r’ will be tackled in a different post 🙂