I was going to write a post about a funny thing Emma said the other day, when she combined some Czech and some English into a single sentence. But as I started to write it, it wasn’t funny. When I told the story to Anna, she laughed, as did the CIEE staff and my Czech professor and even some of the people in my class. But they laughed because the sentence needed no explanation. As I was trying to write my post, I realized that the sentence needed to be explained to my friends and family who speak no Czech. And when spelled out, it isn’t funny anymore. Is there anything funny about a 6 year old saying “more apples, please”? No. The combination of Czech and English is both adorable and laughable, but only to those who understand the Czech.
And then I realized that I found it both adorable and laughable, because I understood both parts. When Emma first uttered her bilingual request, I didn’t translate either half. I understood what she was saying immediately, and only after a moment did I realize she had used two languages in one phrase. I’m sure the simplicity of the request helped – the Czech words were words I use on a daily basis. But still, I didn’t need to translate it and I understood instinctively. If that isn’t proof that I’m improving my Czech every single day, then I don’t know what it.
For those who are curious, Emma’s phrase was “Ješte apples, prosím.” She’s learning the names of fruits at school.