24 Aug 2019


Our Friday prompt for "Stream of Consciousness Saturday" is “preposition” Start your post with any preposition. Bonus points if you end with one too. Enjoy! (That I doubt) !

Despite the fact that when I was tested for what I was talented, I was told  : for everything (or nearly) except languages. And they were probably right, I would never have learnt English, French and Italian if I had to deal with grammar ! When I read the word "preposition" I thought I have heard that already somewhere. Indeed it was the same word in German and the other languages another "left over" from the Roman language.

Thanks to this theme, I learnt after 60 years that simple prepositions are words like at, for, in, off, on, over, and under. These common prepositions can be used to describe a location, time or place. Some examples of common prepositions used in sentences are: He sat on the chair or she turned the light on (or off ?) I have always used these words without knowing that they are prepositions ! A British or American citizen when he or she started to speak English they were probably 2 years old and I am sure that the parents didn't talk about prepositions when they said : don't climb on the tree, you will fall down !

My whole working life I have translated, spoken or chatted in English, French and Italian. I was probably born speaking German, because when I started school I spoke it already. Grammar I learnt later, but as I didn't see any sense in learning grammar, I slept during German classes. Only when I had to write stories I woke up because I had a lot of phantasy and loved to write.

English I had learned in school with vocabulary and grammar and maybe I could write, but not speak and my pronunciation was awful I had learned grammar but with that nobody understands you. I said a vaze instead of vase and an ool instead of an owl. I really learned it when I started to work and had to translate French into English or German into English as I worked for American companies.

French also I learned without grammar and even without learning vocabulary. My father put me in a French business school, where the first year I didn't understand a thing, but learned it quickly because I had to otherwise I would have been deaf and dump and I wanted to have friends and go out with them. After a year I spoke French without any problem. Of course I made some funny mistakes, when I translated something literally from German into French. The worst what I had done, was when I suggested to my boss to repaper the showroom with gays instead of wall paper, because in German a wallpaper was "Tapete" and in French "Tap├Ęte" means a homosexual ! Of course I didn't understand why everybody laughed.

The best way to learn a language is when you are still a toddler, then you don't even realise that you speak different languages. You know instinctively that mum talks like this and Dad talks like that.
No preposition and other grammar needed.

I push a sigh of relieve that I didn't have to learn pages and pages of vocabulary and no grammar at all and can write in these languages too.  Anyway even an adult should first learn to speak and then to write and not the other way around. Babies start first to speak and then learn to write at school, why should it be different with adults. If you have a picture of a tree and you pronounce "Tree" I suppose you will learn the word "tree" for tree ! BTW "for" is also a preposition, unfortunately I don't finish the sentence with "for", it stands before the tree !


  1. I was fascinated to read about how you learned to speak several languages. All the hours I spent at school learning french and spanish grammar was a waste of time. We should just have had conversation classes.

  2. Thank you for the education about prepositions. I didn't really know.

    Vaze is a legitimate pronunciation for vase, but I am not sure in which country. Maybe the US.

    Toby will speak fluent Dutch, perhaps French and English too. It amazes me how people can speak different languages and you are correct, learn when you are very young. I guess your son can too, maybe he can speak Italian too!

    From blog reading you are probably improving your English skills.

    This French wallpaper must now sleep.

  3. I picked up French in school, but it's rough from lack of use.

  4. When I went to school, grammar was most important and we had to be really good at it to get high scores for exams. But we didn’t speak so we could not! I look back and do appreciate that I had opportunities to learn both grammar and speaking :-)

  5. It is hard to learn a language other than English when you live in Australia. It is a big country surrounded by water and a long way from other different speaking countries. So we don't have much contact with other languages. I learnt a Swiss german when I lived in Switzerland and I was amazed at how there are four languages spoken in Switzerland 5 counting English. The country id so small and surrounded by other countries speaking different languages. Since returning to Australia I only remember a few words od Swiss German. Languages are taught in schools mostly japanese and Chinese as they are the trading languages in our country. You are lucky and clever to be fluent in so many languages.

  6. I wish I could speak even one another language fluently . I do not wish I knew grammar rules , just how to talk to people (and understand them).


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