Monday, 26 January 2015

The Things They Say (11) "You're a what?"

'You're a fucker!'

Now that's not something I've ever heard in a class of seven year-olds in the UK, so I'm pretty intrigued to know where they've picked up this sort of language here in my class en España. I hot-foot it towards the back of the class where a group are playing Headbandz.

It's a great game to build their vocabulary (as you can see). The children take turns to select a picture card (without peeking at it) and place it in a headband that they wear. The other children can see what the picture is but the child wearing the headband can't. This child then has to ask questions, 'Can you eat me?' 'Do I have any legs?' in order to guess what it is. If they fail to guess then the other children all shout together, 'You're a chicken!' or 'You're a bag of crisps!'

Or other things.

As I said, the cards only have pictures on them so the children can't read the answer, they have to know the word. What the-?

Alex is removing the headband. I slip the card out of its slot and put it behind my back.

'What did you say Alex was?' I ask in a traditional 'teacher' voice which tells them that I already know the answer so lies will be useless.

Luís is first off the mark. 'He's a fucker!' he says, all cherub rosy cheeks and gap-toothed smile. Mantequilla wouldn't melt; my niece, Betty, wanted to take him home last time she visited. The others are nodding all around him. Then a very strange thing happens. They all start to clap. Not a 'round-of-applause', but a steady, slappy little clap with wrists joined together.

'You're a fucker!' they chant and laugh.

'I'm a fucker!' Alex joins in.

We're all having such a jolly time. Well, some of us.

I sneak a look at the card in my hand. Then I fish my phone out of my pocket and pudge my way through to my English-Spanish dictionary and my Spanish vocabulary is increased by one word while my stress level decreases immeasurably.

'Seal', in Spanish, is 'Foca'.

What a bunch of little focas they are!

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