Sunday, April 23, 2006

Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, usw.

Ich höre gerade nochmal diese Bücher an. Ich bin jetzt bei Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban. Es erstaunt mich, daß ich diese Audiobücher verstehen kann, ohne daß ich sie im Kopf zu übersetzen brauche.

And now I wonder: how can I listen to an audiobook in German without having to translate it in my mind. How does a brain get wired to understand another language? Does it devote an entire section to German or does it connect German words to sections of the brain that already have that concept established? How does the brain understand German idioms or words that have no direct translation into English (or whatever the mother tongue is)? Is there a limit to the number of words or languages that one person can learn? Does learning a bunch of languages crowd out learning other things?

And where in the world would I find answers to any of these questions? Google, I suppose. That seems to be my answer to many things these days. What did we do in the days before Google? Hmm. Maybe "think for ourselves" might be an appropriate answer.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Becoming Naomi Leon

I just finished Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan. It was a one day / two sitting read for me, meaning that it was good enough that I wanted to keep reading and not stop. I don't suppose I would consider it an all time classic, but it definitely has a good heart, good characters and a good, but realistic ending. And it introduces aspects of Mexican culture in positive, but again realistic ways. This is a good book to put into the hands of upper elementary kids.