Tuesday, August 02, 2005

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 - tak”

Caroline is counting everything she can find, from bricks on the wall to pieces of breadstick she’s partially eaten and then thoughtfully scattered across the carpet. She often counts the same thing twice, but she always gets to 10, now that she can. And then she says “tak.”

Czech dictionaries define tak as “so” or “thus.” Many people use it as a way of opening a sentence, or changing conversational gears and introducing something new. Our babysitter says tak when she finishes setting something straight for example, or succeeds in brushing Caroline's hair, and when she says it you know that she is happy with her results. C has picked up the habit too and it tickles me to hear her summon up a satisfied “tak” at the end of a counting game, or when a block fits well within her design of a Lego chair for dollies. It sounds so adult somehow, so careful, such an alien impulse in someone attracted to order as a means of demonstrating, yet again, the second law of thermodynamics.

2 comments:

Ellen said...

I remember "tak" being the most beloved word of our Russian hall mistress at University. My bet is that C says it sooo very often because it sounds sooo very grown-up. (I used to throw it in to every sentence I could as well)

Julia said...

That is funny, and I'll bet you're right. The other interesting thing to me is how so many Slavic languages have the word as part of their lexicon but with subtle differences. For instance, in Polish, tak means yes.