Wednesday, May 12, 2010


On crowded public transport:

K: Hi peoples! Hi everybodeee!

*crickets chirp as no one reacts*

Me: K, here you have to say ahoj lidi [hi people]
K: No, I want hi! Hi peoples!


On playground or in town, often:

K: Hi, I Katie. What you name?
*crickets chirp as no one reacts*

Why she has chosen now to call herself “Katie” (she usually calls herself “Katka”, the CZ/SK version of her name) I do not know. It must be conditioning from attending nursery in UK.


On the playground, climbing up stairs with friend:

K: Three, four six, three, four,!!!!

Friend repeats

Mother: Ty se učíš počítat anglicky, jo? [You're learning to count in English, are you?]
Me: Well, sort of...


Me: Excuse me miss, what is your name?
K: Katie.
Me: Really, I thought your name was Katka?
K: I Katka.
Me: Are you Katie or Katka?
K: I Katie a Katka.
Me: Yes, you are Katie and Katka.


K misbehaves, Apo counts to three in warning:

Apo: Raz, dva… [one, two…]
K: No three, Apo! No three!


Our apartment:

Repairman asks for a whisk broom. I can’t find one and ask what it is to make sure I’ve understood correctly what he wants (I have).

Later, repairman asks for an extension cord. I have to ask what he means, since I’ve never heard the word. (Vocabulary fail, I am suitably embarrassed.)

Repairman says he is Czechoslovak and what am I? I say American. He expresses surprise as he thought I was Slovak. I am even wearing Slovakia t-shirt.

So, is this a bilingual win or bilingual fail? Fail: my subpar Czech vocabulary made him ask where I’m from. But win! Up til then he thought I was Slovak! Which is not that far from Czech in fact.

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