September 15, 2013 | Review Period
I Love Learning Fruits and Vegetables in Foreign Languages
In which I study carrots and lettuce and apples.
I don’t care for the term “foodie”; my eating life is very simple. Maybe that’s why I don’t like when language books try to teach me fancy food names—but I do love learning the basic fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables at the New York French American Charter School
I think there’s a nostalgia about learning things like “apple” and “banana.” When you take language classes as a little kid, produce tends to figure prominently in your studies. A few years ago when I visited the New York French American Charter School on 120th Street, for example, there were vegetables on the wall.
Yesterday my mother sent me an impressive picture of a zucchini from her garden in Montana. Then by coincidence this morning I came across a list of fruits and vegetables in Sue Tyson-Ward’s previously mentioned Practice Makes Perfect: Beginning Portuguese with Two Audio CDs. I got a kick out of the vocabulary list, especially since I had forgotten most of those foods between the time I stopped studying Portuguese last year and now.
I decided this confluence of vegetable moments called for a six-language food table.
|potato||batata||papa||patata||pomme de terre||Kartoffel|
If you see any mistakes, please let me know; all those garlics made me dizzy. (Doesn’t German look impertinent at the very end, by the way, with that Knoblauch?)
A Montana Zucchini, Courtesy of Sue Tester, My Mom
Complicating the food-collection process is that some of this produce may have different names depending on where exactly in the world you are when you are alluding to your fruits and vegetables.
I was thinking of adding “zucchini” or at least “squash” to my list, in honor of my mother’s impressive garden yield, but this is not a term I have typically acquired in my language-learning life and I was quickly overwhelmed by the choices and my unfamiliarity with most of the words.
Ah, the complexity of the squash world! Another time perhaps.
It is interesting to compare apples and oranges. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)