Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stinky Feet

As I watch my daughter become bilingual at a year and a half, I realize that I learned Portuguese in much the same way--through a series of event specific vocabulary. And as the events pile up (from supermarket outings to home renovations to pregnancy) your vocabulary grows. And, boom, one day you are fluent--or almost. Because there is always something new--like nursery rhymes.

Those little kiddie tunes have turned my household inside out. I don't know the Brazilian ones. And even though my Brazilian husband may have learned some great street slang when he lived in NYC (won't repeat th0se gems) in his twenties, thirties and fatherhood present new challenges. Hot Cross Buns are not cute derrieres, darling. Naturally, we both know that as Georgia grows, she is going to expect her parents to be walking dictionaries. So we are learning.

And today I owe a big thanks to my student, Ana. Before class, she presented Georgia with a classic book of Brazilian nursery rhymes (Quem canta seus males espanta). And tonight after the bath, G and I practiced.

O sapo não lava o pé
Não lava porque não quer
Ele mora lá na lagoa
Não lava o pe
Porque não quer
Mas que chulé!

And the translation:

The Frog doesn't wash his feet
He doesn't wash them because he doesn't want to
He lives there in the lake
Doesn't wash his feet
Doesn't want to
And what.....Chulé (huh?)

As I said I am always learning. Chulé is a new vocabulary word. It is a charming slang for that very special stinky feet smell. You can imagine how much Georgia adores this song and the feet smelling and laughing that goes along with shouting chulé.

Thanks Ana!

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