Songs and story for Petits Perroquets, Monday 15/05/2017

After a great first week, we are very excited about our next meeting! Petits Perroquets runs on Mondays from 11 – 12 at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell.

This week, playgroup leader and French tutor Lucy will be introducing Va t’en, Grand Monstre Vert! (Go away, Big Green Monster!). As well as being a great, imaginative picture book it is fantastic for learning colours and parts of the body. Take a look here for a preview:

We’ll be revisiting some of the nursery rhymes we looked at in the last session (especially Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds) and learning some new tunes around the theme of colours. You can get familiar with them here, and songsheets will of course be available on the day too:

These two are a nice simple intro to the colours

This one is completely barmy, which is great – the barmier the context, the more likely you are to remember and recall vocabulary!

Skip to 1.20 for the start of the song

If you have any suggestions or feedback, we would love to hear from you  – we are always seeking to improve! You can leave a comment below or drop us a line on enquiries@struckfluent.com.

A Lundi, tout le monde!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Petits Perroquets: songs from our first session!

We had a grand old time at the launch of our French-speaking playgroup Petits Perroquets this Monday.

The group is especially aimed at English speakers, perhaps with a rusty GCSE/A-Level in their back pocket that they’re keen to dust off whilst introducing their little ones to French in a friendly, relaxed environment.  We had a great turnout for songs, stories, free play, friendly chat and gallons of lovely coffee.

Take a look at the videos below for a taste what playgroup leader and French tutor Lucy covered in the session. Songsheets were also provided, and parents can sign up to the Whatsapp group each week to get the coming week’s songs and lyrics straight to their phones. Otherwise, you can find them on here!

 

Hope to see you at our next group! We’ll be welcoming parents and children aged 0 – 4 every Monday from 11 – 12 at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell.

A la prochaine!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Songs for Kleine Katzen this week (10/05/2017)

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

This week, Alice will be introducing songs about the weather. Song sheets will also be available on the day. Hope to see you there!

 

Bis Morgen, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Announcing our French playgroup Petits Perroquets!

After the success of our German-speaking playgroup Kleine, Katzen, we are very pleased to announce the launch of a brand-spanking new French playgroup!

Petits Perroquets (named for the chatty nature of the group but also in honour of Catford’s friendly neighbourhood green parrots!) will meet every Monday from 8th May,  11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell.

Petits Perroquets ad social media photo

We’ll be welcoming parents and small ones with all levels of French, and the group is particularly aimed at first-language English speakers keen to give new lease of life that proud British tradition, the rusty French GCSE. As such, the group will be a friendly, stress-free introduction to French songs and stories with a dollop of free play and the option to chat to other French speakers of the same level with support from playgroup leader and Struck Fluent French tutor Lucy if needed. Songs and lyrics around a weekly theme will be uploaded to our blog ahead of time, and songsheets will be available on the day.

We also encourage further chat along with consumption of coffee, cake and lunch items in the uber-child-friendly cafe afterwards!

The session is £5 for adults with a child aged 0 – 4, and £2.50 for each additional child.

Hope to see you there, les grands et les petits!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Songs for Kleine Katzen: 26/04/2017

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

This week, we’re singing well-known English nursery rhymes in German – take a look below for some classics that Alice will be introducing. Song sheets will also be available on the day. Hope to see you soon!

 

Bis Mittwoch, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Songs, Lyrics and Vocab for Kleine Katzen (Weds 19th April): Part One.

Our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen meets every Wednesday from 11am – 12 noon at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell. Parents and small ones with all levels of German are welcome!

Following some great feedback from parents at our last meeting, we’ll be putting lyrics for the week’s songs up here ahead of time, with key vocab and interesting language points highlighted. We’ll also be supplying songsheets in German and English at the group. We hope this can help you all join in and feel confident!

This week, German tutor and playgroup leader Alice will be introducing four popular children’s songs to do with animals. Take a look at the YouTube videos and lyrics below for some pre-sessional practice!

  1. Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen (Fox, you have stolen the goose)

NB: Like all the best nursery rhymes, this one gets a bit dark in the middle…I think of it as kind of a more explicit version of ‘Run Rabbit Run’…

Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen,
Gib sie wieder her! 
Gib sie wieder her!
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen
Mit dem Schießgewehr,
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen
Mit dem Schießgewehr.

Seine große, lange Flinte,
Schießt auf dich den Schrot,
Schießt auf dich den Schrot,
Daß dich färbt die rote Tinte,
Und dann bist du tot.
Daß dich färbt die rote Tinte,
Und dann bist du tot.

Liebes Füchslein, laß dir raten:
Sei doch nur kein Dieb,
Sei doch nur kein Dieb,
Nimm, du brauchst nicht Gänsebraten,
Mit der Maus vorlieb.
Nimm, du brauchst nicht Gänsebraten,
Mit der Maus vorlieb.

  1. Ein Fuchs – Fox
  2. Eine Gans – Goose
  3. Geben […] wieder her – Give […] back again
  4. Ein Jäger – Hunter
  5. Schießgewehr – Gun
  6. Flinte – Gun
  7. Schießen auf […] den Schrot- Shoot shot (ie the small pellets of shot) at […]
  8. Tot – Dead
  9. Ein Dieb – A thief
  10. Eine Maus

2. Alle Meine Entchen (All my Little Ducklings)

This one is a bit less deathy…

Alle meine Entchen
Schwimmen auf dem See,
Schwimmen auf dem See,
Köpfchen in das Wasser,
Schwänzchen in die Höh.

Alle meine Täubchen 
Sitzen auf dem Dach,
Sitzen auf dem Dach;
Klipper, klapper, klapp, klapp,
Fliegen übers Dach.

Alle meine Hühner
Scharren in dem Stroh,
Scharren in dem Stroh,
Finden sie ein Körnchen,
Sind sie alle froh.

Alle meine Gänschen
Watscheln durch den Grund,
Watscheln durch den Grund,
Suchen in dem Tümpel,
Werden kugelrund.

  1. Die Entchen – Ducklings
  2. Die Köpfchen – Little heads
  3. Die Schwänzchen – Little tails
  4. Die Täubchen – Little doves
  5. Das Dach – The roof
  6. Die Hühner – Chickens
  7. Scharren – To scratch
  8. Das Stroh – The straw
  9. Froh – Happy
  10. Die Gänschen – Goslings
  11. Watscheln – To waddle
  12. Der Tümpel – The pond
  13. Kugelrund – Round like a ball

Entchen, Koepfchen, Schwanzchen…notice a pattern? Stick –chen onto the end of any noun and it makes it a diminutive. It works for literal meanings, like when Gans (goose) becomes Gänschen (goslings – literally ‘little geese’), but it also works to make nouns a bit cuter, hence Schwänzchen for ‘little tails’. Imagine going ‘awwww your little taaaail!’ in English and you’ll get the gist.

Check back in tomorrow for two more classic German kids’ tunes and language pointers!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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On the politics of English names in China

Roughly 12 hours after landing in China, fresh off the back of a messy break-up and fresh out of Europe for the first time in my life, I staggered up to the Reception desk of my new school and introduced myself as coherently as I could manage as the new English teacher.

“You need Fish and Shopping”, the receptionist announced.

“I’m sorry?” I replied, my neural synapses fizzling around vague notions of an Omega-3-and-retail-therapy-based jet lag cure.

“Fish. And Shopping. The HR managers. This way please”

Hang around any group of ESL teachers in the Middle Kingdom for more than five minutes and the subject of their students’ English names will come up. Some are convenient Anglicisations of names or surnames (I taught a lot of Lees and Lynnes); others choose favourite fictional characters (High School classes were rarely without at least one Harry Potter namesake, Draco and Severus included) whilst still others opt for any noun they feel affinity with (my personal fave: the gym aficionado named Muscle).

And to be fair, there is undeniable humour to be found in hearing yourself yell ‘Muscle, Challenge!’ during a heated game of ‘Just a Minute’ with a roomful of teenagers.

But. But. I always felt slightly itchy about not knowing my students’ real names. The standard reason given for the practice of taking English names is that foreigners can’t remember them, or that they’re too tough for us to pronounce. In fact, my school didn’t even list students’ Chinese names on the register. And sure, Chinese names are different to European ones. But…isn’t that kind of par for the course when you go and work in, er, China? It felt disrespectful for me as a teacher to be ‘renaming’ my students for me own convenience. There’s also a particularly nasty history associated with the ‘giving’ of European names by white people to people of colour, which made referring to Xiu Ying as ‘Tina’ especially uncomfortable.

When I approached this topic with my students, their answers surprised me. There was only one who refused to take an English name, reasoning that his two syllables – one of which had more or less the same pronunciation as ‘way’ – would not be beyond the reach of even the most hapless of foreigners. ‘And anyway’, he said, ‘it’s my name. It’s who I am. Foreigners don’t take Chinese names, so why should I change mine?’

His classmates, though, found his attachment to his name as a marker of identity a bit odd, and in fact paradoxically foreign, citing the many times Chinese people have traditionally changed their names to mark a new stage of life. For many of them, an English name was also a handy way of opting out of the finickity etiquette around forms of address: first names are only used for those on the same or a lower social level, otherwise an honourific title must be used. The advantages of bypassing this system – particularly in a business context – were clear.

I was interested to learn that it was my own Eurocentric conception of identity that had contributed to my unease around name-changing. However, the nagging feeling that the practice was part of an unbalanced relationship remained. As my student had said, surely if Chinese names are so hard to remember the difficulty is reciprocated so why wasn’t I ever encouraged to become Liu Xi?

There were to be many more dents in my Eurocentrism by the time I left China, and many more questions than I could hope to explore around the imbalance between the Western world and our expectations of everyone else. But the politics of names and name-changing remains a fascination and I always love to hear views on the topic! Please comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Lucy McCormick is Head of Client Services at Struck Fluent, a community of tutors specialising in Modern Foreign Languages and ESL. She has extensive experience as a teacher and tutor of French and ESL in the UK, China, Korea, Vietnam and India. When not teaching or language geeking, you can generally find her in the company of a book, a gin or (preferably) both.

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KLEINE KATZEN: SONGS FOR OUR GERMAN-SPEAKING PLAYGROUP THIS WEEK!

 

Come on down to our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen, every Wednesday 11am – 12.30pm at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell!

With Easter just round the corner, we’re all about Ostern this week. German tutor and playgroup leader Alice will be introducing these funky Osterleider for you and your small ones:

 

Bis Mittwoch, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Kleine Katzen: Songs for our German-speaking playgroup this week!

 

Come on down to our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen, every Wednesday 11am – 12.30pm at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell!

This week it’s all about the ABCs and 123s. German tutor and plagroup leader Alice  has hand-picked these sterling musical gems to get your wee ones up to speed with German letters and numbers:

 

Bis Mittwoch, Eltern und Kinder!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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Kleine Katzen: Songs for our German-speaking playgroup this week!

Come on down to our German-speaking playgroup Kleine Katzen, every Wednesday 11am – 12.30pm at Good Hope Cafe, Ladywell!

This week our theme is ‘All About Me’: Playgroup leader and all-round all-star German tutor Alice will be introducing these three fun songs to sing with your little ones. If your German is feeling rusty, or if you’re just keen for some new singalong fodder, here they are to try out before Wednesday:

  1. Das Lied über mich selbst

2. Das Lied über mich

3. Wo ist der Daumen?

Hope to see you there – bis Mittwoch!

From the team at Struck Fluent, playgroup wizards and tutors of Modern Foreign Languages and ESL in London. Need a language tutor? Get in touch here.

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