Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yesterday, Marta was playing in a sandbox with a 4-year-old girl. I told her to ask the girl's name, and she said, "Devochka, adın ne?" - which is a lovely mix of Russian and Turkish. The girl gave Marta a funny look, I intervened, and that's how we found out that the girl's name was Zhenia.

Marta's Turkish vocabulary is not large - a few dozen words at most, and zero grammar. At one point, she asked me what 'inshaallah' meant, and I'm very proud of the explanation I gave her: "Well, basically, Marta, it means that everything will turn out to be great."

Every once in a while, thanks to Marta, I get a chance to hear what Russian strangers think of Ukraine. The most recent episode took place some ten days ago in the park: Marta was eating ice cream / morozhenoye / dondurma / morozyvo, and the Ukrainian word that Marta kept repeating along with the other three eventually led a middle-aged woman sitting next to us to mention that Ukrainians have always been very unfriendly to Russians. Earlier this summer, another middle-aged woman asked me whether things were really bad for the Russian-speaking folks in Ukraine, after Marta unexpectedly chose to recite her bedtime mantra: spokoinoy nochi / na dobranich / iyi geceler / good night.

Today, Marta was chatting about "kiwi v Kiyeve" ("kiwi in Kyiv"), as I was buying fruit and veggies from a young Azeri street vendor next to our house. The guy always gives Marta a free banana, and she always says sağol ('thanks') to him, and today he has taught her how to say '100 rubles' in Azeri: yüz manat.

Also today, Marta seems to have learned the notion of hate. An evil magician in today's Dora the Explorer was flying around, saying stuff like, "I hate elephants, I hate zebras, etc." When Marta woke up from her afternoon nap, she announced that she hated dogs. As we were waiting for the elevator, she said she hated it, too. She was very cheerful about it, of course. I tried to explain to her that it's not good to hate things, but that only added fuel to the fire (Marta is really great at dissent, as they all are, perhaps, at this age). In the end, we agreed that she hated meat and soup - and even though it's silly to hate this stuff, at least it doesn't hurt anyone's feelings.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to point out that soup-hating is a bad strategy for a vegetarian. :)

    I love you defintion of inshallah.