Mommy diary #8: Czech police everywhere you look / Mamincin denik #8: Ceska policie vsude, kam se clovek podiva - CzechmatediaryMommy diary #8: Czech police everywhere you look / Mamincin denik #8: Ceska policie vsude, kam se clovek podiva - Czechmatediary
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Mommy diary #8: Czech police everywhere you look / Mamincin denik #8: Ceska policie vsude, kam se clovek podiva

photo-47I promised you I would give you an update on my girls’ bilingual progress every six months and I have a feeling I am way behind.

As you may know, Hahna is in 1st grade now and my younger girl Ava goes to preschool twice a week. Ava is 3 years old and she mixes Czech and English way more than Hahna but that’s because she is just now learning to speak fluently in full sentences in both languages.

Anyway, my good girl Hahna usually reminds her to speak Czech (when it is appropriate to speak Czech) which is just darling. Overall they are comfortable speaking English and Czech together when they are playing which is awesome.

When Ava plays by herself she ALWAYS does it in English which is interesting but I have a feeling that Hahna did the same thing when she was three.

What is new and super exciting is that Hanicka learned the Czech  ‘r’ and ř! I was ready for her to struggle with it much longer. I heard that some bilingual kids won’t learn it until they are 9 or 10 years old. Anyhow, how did it start? She just got curious herself and wanted to speak like mommy ever since she was about 5. Then her same-aged friend Kacenka (whose parents are both Czech but live in the US) started to show signs of the Czech ‘r’ when we saw them about 6 months ago and from then Hahna really put herself to work and was practicing all the time, mostly in bed when she was falling asleep :). And then one day, voila! She did it! Czech “r” followed short time after that. I think she feels like a total grown up now.

And then there is of course, our Czech school. Both girls are now attending it and they love it. They don’t necessarily need it but what they need is the sense of a Czech community – Czech friends, Czech teachers,…and Czech homework! They always proudly say: “Mommy, we got TWO schools, an English one and a Czech one!

They even had their first Christmas performance, singing into a real deal microphones. One of the songs all the kids were singing was a traditional Czech Christmas carol called “Narodil se Kristus Pan” (“Jesus Christ was born”). The three oldest kids (4 to 6 year old) had a solo which consisted of 1 sentence. But the sentence is in archaic Czech which made it a ‘bit’ harder on the kiddos. My daughter’s solo sounded like this: “Jenz prorokovan jest, radujme se, ten na svet poslan jest, veselme se”, which means “The predicted one, let us be happy, was sent to Earth, let us be merry”. Well, the word ‘poslan‘ (meaning ‘sent’) is really close to the word ‘posran‘ which means  ‘crapped on’ and that is what my totally innocent daughter sang instead. You can imagine how hilarious that was to the parents!

Hahna has a few Czech-American friends (kids of my Czech girlfriends living here) that she has play dates with. It is sooo fun and sooo rewarding to see them speaking Czech together but also very challenging since they tend to switch to English a lot. Hahna is usually my police/hound dog who tells her friends to speak Czech but sometimes she forgets and then it is up to us, Czech parents, keep our antennas on and whenever we hear them speak English we yell “CESKY!!!” (speak Czech!). Of course, it must be very fun for them to switch into this ‘forbidden’ language and to conspire against their crazy Czech mommas that way.

Now a story about Ava. Not so long ago I took the girls to the park. One of the parents attending was a Russian lady who spoke to her child in Russian. A 3-year-old Ava overheard it and said to her in Czech: “Ty mluvis cesky? (Do you speak Czech?)”. Or course, this unfriendly stone-faced woman says “Pardon me?” If it was me I would start sobbing and run into the bushes somewhere. But Ava persisted:”Ty jsi Ceska? (Are you Czech?)”. Then the Russian lady says they are Russians and that’s it. I was just amazed what a good ear she has at 3 years of age if she can recognize Russian as something similar to Czech!

OK, that’s it for today :). Here are my previous Mommy Diary post in case you are interested:

Mommy diary 5: Red, white and bilingual

Mommy diary 4: OPOL can kiss my shorts

Mommy diary 3: I got me a bilingual baby, baby!

Mommy diary 2: Bitter-sweet results so far

Mommy diary 1: The Beginnings


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5 comments… add one
  • Marica January 12, 2014, 3:51 pm

    First, I’d just like to say that I’ve recently started to follow your blog, and I really like it!

    I’ve read all your posts talking about raising your girls bilingually, and I’m so happy that it’s working so well for you!

    I’m 3/4 Slovak and 1/4 Croatian, with my family coming from Serbia, but my family speaks Slovak. My parents tried to raise me with both Slovak and English, but I wasn’t picking them both up and so they abandoned Slovak. They tried to teach me again when I was around 12 but I guess I was too scared and intimidated by my dad… I don’t know, but for whatever reason I never picked up Slovak again. It wasn’t until a semester abroad in Prague when I wished I had known Slovak, which could have helped me with Czech since they’re similar. I’ve been back to the Czech Republic two other times. While I don’t know much Czech, I still know more Czech than Slovak but it doesn’t mean much to my family. I wish my parents had been much more persistent with me in learning Slovak. Perhaps this year I can make it a goal to learn Slovak again with my mom (she’s the less intimidating teacher!). 🙂

    But I love your blog and I look forward to reading more! Have a nice week!

    – Marica

  • Tanja January 12, 2014, 9:06 pm

    Hi Marica!

    Thanks so much for your nice words!
    Yes, definitely learn Slovak with your mom :). Dads can be sometimes less patient and more intimidating. Also, check out the category “Slovakia”, which has more information that interests you.

  • Sean January 13, 2014, 12:23 am

    Maybe the woman was annoyed for getting tykated by a child. In which case she’s an idiot of course.

    I’m not surprised you daughter picked up on that, the similarities between the Slavic languages are pretty striking, even though Russian and Czech are probably the farthest apart in the group. My son who speaks Czech and English is always very curious when he hears someone speaking another language. I suspect bilingual kids are more sensitive to language differences in general.

  • Tanja January 13, 2014, 8:52 am

    I didn’t even think of that! She may have gotten offended by that. Oh,well. If she doesn’t think that’s cute then I don’t know what is.
    Awesome job with your kids by the way!

  • vlastimil January 14, 2014, 4:36 am

    Any Eastern European looks unfriendly to me… We are simply a product of unfriendly ‘hood..:)

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