Travel at Home Tip #15

Travel at Home New Language German Sesame Street Sesamstraat HitParade

“Travel at Home” by hearing old favourites in new languages.


Sky Up High

Anything in the sky is “moon” and the concept of “up eye up eye up eye” is very appealing to my two little guys lately. We’ve had fluffy clouds, clear blues, bright sunshine and they’re discovering new words to describe these delights.

Sky High Stella Denalis Illustration Clouds

There is a lot of language happening in our house now. Learning, creating, evolving. Playing with words was a shared interest that my husband and I identified when we first met (and it continues… he texted me a new word today: “irrelephant,” which sounds like a sad, forgotten creature).

Sky High Stella Danalis Book Illustration Collage Art Elephant

Now we have the pleasure of seeing our children enjoying wordplay too. Of course, they’re just learning and that’s why they feel so free to have fun.

Tricky-to-say phrases are sort of telescoped into short words. So a bunny rabbit is a badit. A face washer is a fasher. Some words are attempts that have stuck, such as “woollet” for water, and others seem to have come out of nowhere, like “koo” for drink. Words are repeated and sung as in “jump jump jump!” and “go go go!” (I particularly enjoy the response to a sneeze, which is a sing song repetition of “achoo achoo achoo!”).

Sky Up High What Knows Stella Danalist

It is such a joy to understand them and begin to know what their interests are. While drawing big green circles with a crayon, one of the boys started roaring and saying “soars” (dinosaurs).

And the other, while gazing out the window at the sky, suddenly cried “bird!”.

Sky High What Knows Nike Bourke Book Children

(I intended to show you the beautiful collage illustrations in this book called What the Sky Knows and I got sidetracked… The book was written by Nike Bourke and the pictures were created by Stella Danalis).

Voices from the Caribbean: Umalali

When I hear “Caribbean” I visualise glamorous holidays, palm trees and cruise ships but there’s so much more to it. Today we have been enjoying some music from this part of the world, specifically women of Garifuna heritage.

The history of these people is extraordinary — they’re descended from shipwrecked African slaves — but the culture is at risk due to economic pressures and an oral tradition. The language, dance, and music of the Garifuna has been named by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize.

Garifuna Umalali Women Project Belize Stonetree

Umalali (which means “voice” in the Garifuna language) was initiated by Ivan Duran of Stonetree Records. The Garifuna Women’s Project sought to capture some of the unique sounds of this matrilocal society by working with its cultural caretakers: the women.

You can hear the many influences in this music and feel the emotion behind the voices, as many of these songs speak of hardship and a precarious existence.

(The photographs in the CD booklet shown above were taken by Katia Paradis and Sarah Weeden).