Re:       Re: Kolache (1896)

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 10 19:19:23 UTC 2002

In a message dated 12/10/02 10:40:59 AM, stevekl at PANIX.COM writes:

> kolac (length mark over a, hacek over c) is the singular in Czech; kolace
> (ditto) would be the plural.
> However, like practically every word in Czech, it is also commonly
> known in the diminutive, kolacky (plural, I am assuming of the
> diminuitive kolacek, which I've never actually heard of). (Again, length
> marks over the a's and hacky over the c's.)
> Even though I didn't learn Czech at home, this is one item (along with
> some other food terms, swears, and the phrase "come here") that is
> completely native for me. My grandmother makes excellent ones; and in my
> Michigan hometown, until very recently, there was a sausage dance each
> year, where they made sausages (jitrnice) and kolacky and ate and danced.
> Almost all of the foreign-born Czechs are dead there, now, and very few
> first-generation (my grandma's 85) ones are left. I got to witness an
> immense amount of the cultural aspect of this when I was a kid though.
> The 'ch' spelling (which I've never seen -- then again I would have only
> seen it written out in Czech) is the anglicization of the c-hacek.
> They're very delicious.
> -- Steve

Like Steve, I spent part of my childhood in a Czech neighborhood (though my
ancestors were not Czech). This particular pastry was very popular, though
people of my generation never said /kolaki/ nor /kolace/: the vernacular
singular was always /kolac/ and the plural was /kolaciz/--the /i/ was usually
tense/long, like the /i/ of "gasoline" (I'm using /c/ here to represent the
alveopalatal fricative that is usually spelled <ch>). Bakeries and grocery
stores spelled the word <kolache>, plural <kolaches>.

> I never heard of jitrnice; other words that I associate with that period of
> my life as Czechisms are KHOLRABI (a kind of vegetable that we ate
> raw--tasted like a turnip), BUBBY 'grandmother' and JETTA 'grandfather'.
> There was also a swear phrase which we learned as YUCKY DUMB POOPEK--I have
> no idea what it meant, but we were told it was pretty bad.
I guess it was quite a different world--when stealing and eating raw kohlrabi
from Jetta's garden and shouting YUCKY DUMB POOPEK at each other were major
ways to be a bad boy.

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