The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

For some­one who is mono­lin­gual with, as they used to say, a smat­ter­ing of school­boy French (mean­ing zilch in con­ver­sa­tion, but able to iden­tify a few words in sig­nage), there might be a tus­sle for own­er­ship of the new First Words book se­ries from Lonely Planet Kids. Say hola, bon­jour and hello to the first three lan­guages cov­ered, Span­ish, French and English.

There’s 100 words to be learned and pro­nounced cor­rectly, with the help of de­light­ful il­lus­tra­tions by Andy Mans­field and Se­bas­tian Iwohn. The colours are lol­lipop heaven and each sub­ject dealt with in a whim­si­cal way – you could frame ev­ery one of them. The words are in no dis­cernible or­der. After our ini­tial hello, the first word to mas­ter is ice cream, of course. That’s helado (eh-lah-doh) in Span­ish and glace (glas) in French. Toi­let makes it into the first half of the en­tries, but such mi­nor mat­ters`as pass­port (don’t pro­nounce the “t” in French and roll your tongue around pass-a-por-teh in Span­ish) and money are down the back of the book. They’re con­cepts bet­ter han­dled by par­ents. An as­so­ci­ated web­site as­sists with pro­nun­ci­a­tion.

What a great gift for kids about to em­bark on an over­seas hol­i­day (or not, why the ex­cuse?). Maybe we can foster a gen­er­a­tion that doesn’t just point at things they want in a for­eign land or speak man­nered and loud (very loud) English. I plead guilty to both.


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