One step at a time.
Today’s phrase of the day is definitely “Prominte, nerozumím Česky,” which literally means “I’m sorry, I don’t understand Czech.” On the one hand, I kept having to admit to not being Czech and having no idea what was going on around me. On the other hand, I can say that phrase as well as an actual Czech person can (if an actual Czech person ever had to use it). It takes the prize for two reasons:
1. I used it easily a half dozen times while out today. People kept asking me for directions, or at least, I think they were asking me for directions. I know for sure that someone asked me on a tram about the direction. I’m think she was trying to get to a specific stop and wanted to know if this was the right tram, but I honestly had no idea what she was saying. One guy asked me something as I was leaving school, but I had literally no clue what he was asking. And someone came up to our door when I was home with a flyer for an internet service. In all the situations, I could have said something else (I realized after the internet guy that I could have said “Prominte, nebydlim tady,” which means “I’m sorry, I don’t live here.” But that would have been a lie…). Nonetheless, apparently I look like I know where I am and where I’m going, and I’m approachable enough. But still, I don’t know enough Czech for that.
2. Emma kept asking me questions, all evening, and at some point I started ignoring her (I was doing my homework!) and saying I didn’t understand. When I finished my homework, though, the game continued. She asked me if I knew about this, or that. “Rozumiš ___” was her phrase of the day, for sure. I’m pretty sure I answered about a thousand questions this evening, but it was good fun. My favorite was when she asked me something and I said “nevím,” which means “I don’t know.” She would always ask “rozumiš?” because she always wanted to know if I didn’t know the answer, or if I didn’t understand the question. I’ve been here for slightly more than two weeks now, and Emma has definitely warmed up to me (Jachym too! He even sat on my lap willingly tonight!). We were playing all sorts of games, including our favorite – English/Czech words. Tonight, Emma had lots of fun with “Co to je, what?,” which could be literally translated into “What does it mean, what?”. So I would answer “Co.” (“What.”) And she would ask again, because “Co?” is used as “What?” is in English – “Please repeat.” After the third or fourth time, she clearly recognized that Co = What, but then it was just a fun question to ask for the next five minutes. And it was fun.
It was really nice to share some laughs with both the kids, and actually feel like we were on the same page. Not unlike the change with Anna’s mom over the weekend, I feel like I’m starting to really be able to communicate with Emma and Jachym, especially now that I know simple verbs and their conjugations (I can say more than “I understand” and “I know”). Next step – giving and receiving directions in Czech. Or those seven noun forms…