Thursday, March 19, 2009

Animals and their babies - how many do you know?

I can't believe the French language (the language we have chosen to speak at home and teach Emma) is so complicated!

Emma is really into animals at the moment, both in real life and into naming them when she spots them in whatever form (pictures or drawings in books, stuffed animals in shop windows, etc.).
Anyhow, we saw a bambi sticker on the wall of a kid's café/shop and I couldn't remember the name of the beast for the life of me. So, I googled it this morning and came up with the below list in French and then tried to recall the names in English. Woah! Not good.
Am I the only one?

  1. un chien, une chienne et un chiot ; dog, bitch, puppy
  2. un chat, une chatte et un chaton ; cat, cat, kitten
  3. un dauphin, une dauphine et un dauphineau ; dolphin, dolphin and baby dolphin?
  4. un éléphant, une éléphant et un éléphanteau ; elephant, elephant and baby elephant?
  5. un lapin, une lapine et un lapereau ; rabbit, female rabbit, baby rabbit?
  6. un lion, une lionne et un lionceau ; lion, lion, lion cub
  7. un loup, une louve et un louveteau ; I'm guessing wolf, no idea, wolf cub
  8. un ours, une ourse et un ourson ; bear, bear, bear cub
  9. un renard, une renarde et un renardeau ; fox, vixen baby fox
  10. une souris, une souris et un souriceau ; seriously? a mouse
  11. un tigre, une tigresse et un tigron ;
  12. un zèbre, une zèbresse et un zébreau ; I give up!
  13. un bélier, une brebis et un agneau ;
  14. un bouc, une chèvre et un chevreau ;
  15. un cerf, une biche et un daim ; ummm bambi?
  16. un cheval, une jument et un poulain ; stallion, mare, pony turns out a baby horse is either a foal (m) or a filly (f)
  17. un homme, une femme et un enfant ; oh! I know this one! a man, a woman, a child
  18. un lièvre, une hase et un levraut ; buck, doe, leveret (I had to look this one up!)
  19. un porc, une truie et un porcelet ; boar, sow, piglet
(source of the French ones: Journal de Cooker: Tergiversations psychoquantiques)

Initially I was thinking the English equivalents were pretty easy ,
"elephant, elephant, baby elephant" right? and for the more complex ones dog, bitch, puppy...
but I started going down the list and decided I needed to look it up and it turns out English is not only more complex than I thought - although who the hell uses this terminology outside of a biology class or a farm? - but also very confusing... For example, did you know that a cow could also be a female elephant and a cub the baby tiger, baby lion or baby bear?
Ahh! this is just another humbling moment when you know you're just not going to know the answer to the questions your kids ask so start getting used to it. Plus, there are more important things to teach in life, right?
Still, I better get cracking before we hit the zoo as soon as it stops snowing!!! (yes, snowing on March 20th people when is spring coming to Vienna?!

If you are as clueless as I was on the list above, check out the site by Enchanted learning where you can also download animals for coloring and games for your kids (or you) where you can pair up the adult animals with their babies.

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