The German word for snow is Schnee, when pronounced correctly rhymes with the English word, knee. When we lived in Germany I found it amusing that something so dreadful that could last for months on end had such a cute little name. It sounded like a petite sneeze. A sneeze is defined as a semi-autonomous, convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs through the mouth. No offense to the Germans, but that pretty much sums up the rest of the language. Not a series of sneezes, but convulsive expulsions. In the three years we were there, I learned a few words and could fake my way through a conversation. I knew when to nod and laugh. The Germans learn English in school and welcome the opportunity to show off their multi-language skills, therefore, I learned to speak English with a German accent.
The one phrase I had down was what kind of dog I had. This I had to recite to every passerby on our daily walks. After a while, I thought I get creative and add a little more to the phrase. My dog's name is Sienna. She is a mixture breed and she has no teeth. I said this phrase for the first two years and always felt so proud of myself. I was speaking German!
One day John was with me and I felt like showing off. Since he spoke perfect German and taught himself, well...whatever, he laughed and asked if I really knew what I was saying. Of course, I added," my dog is a mixture and she has no teeth". Except I had the two most important words wrong. The word for mixture is Gemisch and I was saying vegetable, which is Gemüse. The word for teeth is Zähne and I was saying cream, which is Sahne. Hello, this is my dog Sienna. She is a vegetable with no cream.
Now that we live in Ohio and it's sneezing outside for the first time this Winter, I wonder if the people in our little German village ever ask what happened to that woman who walked her dog that was a vegetable with no cream.