Monday, May 3, 2010

Visiting Prague, multi-purpose words and good manners

This is the third full day of our trip to Prague. As if in honor of the occasion, before we had even left the airport when we landed K had come up with two new Slovak words, one new English word, and a grammatically acceptable two-word Slovak phrase (ísť von – go outside). In the two days since then we noticed a significant increase in the percentage of Slovak she is speaking. It’s all things she already passively knows in Slovak, but I guess hearing Czech spoken around her inspires her to actively use her Slovak words over the English ones. I wonder how far her language spurt will take her before we leave in a couple of weeks!


Yesterday K was reading books with her new best friend (our friend who lives in our place when we’re away) and Apo came over to see what they were up to. K thought he was going to spoil their fun, though, because she said something about books and reading with her friend and then

“Go away!”

Apo: “No prosím???” [Excuse me, what did you just say???]

K: “Prosím!!” [PLEASE go away!]

“Prosím” has several meanings, see, the main one being please but others include excuse me, you’re welcome, pardon me, here you go… I guess the only one K knows is please, though, because she mistook her father’s righteous indignation for a request to be politely told to get lost. Let no one say she doesn't say please and thank you!

She got in trouble but we were laughing on the inside. Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is keeping that laughter from getting out, though!


  1. It's so great that your daughter is picking up her 2nd language so rapidly. I find it amazing how much of the language they absorb -- nuances, expressions -- before actually being able to vocalize it for themselves. Then they blurt out an expression all of a sudden for the first time that is spot on. lol. And yes, keeping that straight face is very hard...!

  2. She's been speaking more Slovak the last few months, but it's still a distant second to English. I think it's hard for her hearing it only from the one person - now that she hears other people speaking similarly, she has more of a motivation to pick up the tempo! I think it will be easier for me to reinforce English when we live here permanently than for her to learn good Slovak from a few hours a day with her father living abroad. We'll see I guess :)

  3. Isn't all this fun and fascinating?!

    It thrills me when Griffin says "please" and "thank you"--in either language--especially when unprompted! It also reassures people around us that he's learning social niceties along with the two languages.

    In regards to your previous post, K. sounds a lot like Griffin! Sometimes his words are a combination of English and French, and other times I have to conclude that his mystery words are just his own invention. Other times my husband will ask me to translate something Griffin says--but it turns out it was in English to begin with, just pronounced a la two-year-old!

  4. K says "thank you" very consistently for everything for at least a year now, and "please" mostly when she really wants something and is being as sweet as possible. She is also very big on "sorry" and concerned questions like "Are you ok?" This sort of thing thrills me to pieces, because it makes her seem really well-mannered and nice. Which she is, mostly. More often than not...

    Yes, deciphering the language of a two-year-old. And they're all different, too! The language combination mid-word really cracks me up. I like the mixed sentences pretty well too, which is why I picked one as the blog title. Mixing languages is what we're all about, might as well be up front about it!



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