Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Swiss Survival Tip: Grocery Shopping

Once you get over feeling illiterate and dumb, you can relax and start enjoying yourself.  You will be able to relax after you have learned three languages and one form of Swiss German fluently.  It sounds daunting, but don't be discouraged.  For dialects, I would try Basel-Dootsch; it is peppered with French and English and the odd German word is re-cycled in it, so you will being doing something good for the environment by speaking it.  The other upside to learning Basel-Dootsch, unlike some Swiss dialects, is that people won't think you're choking on something.

Here is the fine print on feeling dumb all of the time.  It is required by law in CH (which stands for Concrete Hobby-horses and is the official name of this country) to sell products with three languages on them.  This is supposed to help you distinguish milk from orange juice.  I don't need to say this, but the label does come in handy if you like warm frothy orange juice in your coffee at breakfast-time.

However, the process of labeling products helps in distinguishing those which are even more alike.  In this lesson, you learn how to distinguish a bunch of roses from a bunch of parsley.  Here is the context for our first lesson: a common enough situation in which you have made a lover's faux-pas and need to make up ASAP.  You have found your way to the supermarket.   Now go to the section where you see flowers.  Good job!

On the package of roses it says Rosen, Roses, Rose, which sounds like a Latin declination exercise so you can feel great about yourself that you are actually learning four very useful languages.  We'll even throw in a dialect for the same price!  This is handy because up until this point you were feeling a bit in the dog house (remember what you had said in that state of intense agitation) and illiterate, which everyone knows is an awful place to be.   Luckily, you can still read my blog which is read by only the best dogs. 

Just in case you didn't get that it was a bouquet of roses and not a bouquet of parsley, you can check the parsley: Petersilie, Persil, etc..   Persil is also the name of a soap, I can't figure out why they named a washing detergent after parsley but I guess since it'z French it soundz better.   Everyone needs washing detergent, too, so don't feel too badly if the washing detergent makes it into the basket with the roses and the parsley;  as in learning any language you may make mistakes.  It's all part of the learning experience.  If you really want to sleep in your own bed and not use the dog as a hot water bottle, you could offer to do some laundry.  Laundry and roses speak volumes so forget about learning a practical language: try ze language ov luv and launderettes.

You'z wi'z a revard ca'd in 'and,
Madame Crocodile

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