Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton


The other day, Amy and I went to the playground together.

She rode her bike and I walked… or sometimes jogged or ran to keep up with her; she’s getting pretty good at riding the bike. (And she says I need the exercise.)

At the playground, there was already a little girl playing in the sand; her grandmother sat on the bench and watched.

I played with Amy a little, then I went and sat on the bench and started to speak to the woman. Turned out she was Czech, from Prague. She had come to Germany about 45 years ago, together with her husband, who was ethnic German (Sudetendeutscher). Her daughter (the child’s mother) was also born in Prague but was eight when the family moved to Germany.

Both the mother and the grandmother spoke Czech to the child, with the result that she’s bilingual (though, since she seemed a bit shy, perhaps also “speechless in two languages”).

After a bit of warming up to each other, Amy and Laska (the little girl) hit it off together, and spent a lot of time together on the playground—probably fun for both of them!

And I talked quite a bit to the grandmother, about all sorts of things.

Including, me being me, about the Czech language. Though she seemed happy enough to talk about it; for example, that there are seven cases, and giving examples of a declination. And one of them is a vocative, yay! I love the vocative case. So she didn’t call her daughter “Laska!” but rather “Lasko!”.

Apparently, Laska means love—or perhaps something more along the lines of charity?

When I told her that Amy’s name is similar in meaning (“beloved”) and said that her second name, Nadine, is from Russian Надежда Nadezhda “hope”, and asked what that word would be in Czech: something similar?

She came up with a quite different word first (which I don’t remember), but then remembered the triplet vera—nadeje–laska (spelling probably off; this is from ear) “faith, hope, and charity”.

Incidentally, Laska’s second name is Victoria, making her name something like “Love is victorious” :) (Apparently, this was deliberate.)

In unrelated news, this reminds me of reading, in German translation, a story by an American writer; one of the characters in the group of (American) protagonists was originally from Czechoslovakia, and his nickname was “der Gummi-Tscheche”. I mused that that particular joke probably made more sense in the original :)

After googling a bit, the girl’s name was probably Láska, with an accent (at least in Czech! In German, possibly without), and the triplet is víra–naděje–láska. And the other word for hope she mentioned was something based on doufat, which is the verb.

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