Sunday, July 21, 2013
If any sparkers were fortunate enough to grow up bilingual, I hope you hang onto that skill forever. Traveling through Europe I was amazed at how easily our guides and those in the hospitality industry slipped from one language to another.
Next month DH & I will spend a month in Slovakia studying “Slovak Language and Culture” and I’m preparing with some self study. As a child I was able to understand the conversations between my grandmother and her bilingual children. I could speak “broken Slovak” well enough to communicate with her too.
That was 50 years ago and a distant memory. Now I’ve got a book and CD, but there’s a difference between working on grammar exercises or reading dialogues and actually “thinking” in the language.
The phrase “jak (yak) na thrutz” is a loose translation of what my Slovak(Rusyn) grandmother would say when something interfered with her plans – “just like for spite”
Perhaps she was caught in the rain when walking to town.
Maybe the wind blew her clean laundry off the line.
I’ve begun saying that to myself when confronted with things that cut my run/walk short or make me adjust my route.
A black bear was reported on the road ahead.
I heard gunfire in the distance.
Loose dogs were in my path.
Last week I hit the trifecta. I planned quarter miles (out and back) for a time trial and I have several directions to accomplish this.
In front of one house there were a group of people smoking on the sidewalk. I’m glad they weren’t smoking inside near children, but running through a cloud of smoke every few minutes is not a good idea for me.
In another direction there were several trucks, all with their motors running. I assume they were making deliveries and keeping the cabs cool. It is HOT here, but the fumes were not conduciveto healthy lungs either.
On my 3rd route a crew of landscapers were mowing grass right along the road. I’m very allergic to grass.
All of these people had a right to be doing just what they were doing and I thought “jak na thrutz.” My solution – drive to the gym.
That phrase was only for annoying things. If something serious happened, Grandma would break into impromptu prayers. I learned those too.
Note: In the USA most of us study some language in school, but when we don’t use it, facility disappears. While traveling on our own in Eastern Europe, we learned that English isn’t as universal as it seemed when with an organized group or in facilities that cater to westerners. Those who were in school during the domination of the Soviet Union were discouraged from studying English. After 1992 English study was popular, but continual practice is necessary. Otherwise, it’s like our facility with our high school French.