Well, I guess I can’t disappoint my vast army of eager fans, salivating at the need to read more Fred’s Czech Mate. Here’s another feeble attempt at explaining my flawed and ineffective learnings from the Czech language….
Mothers-in-law get a bad deal here. There is an old Czech joke that I first heard in 1990. I ran across it again when googling “czech mother in law”.
— Daddy, why is mother-in-law running so fast?
— Be quiet, son, and reload the gun.
According to my bargain basement Czech/English dictionary, “tchán” is father-in-law and “tchýně” is mother-in-law. “Tchoř” is pole-cat. All of these words are hard to pronounce. That “t” and “ch” combination is deadly. So “tchan” ends up sounding like “tucan”, which leads people to think I’m talking about a tropical bird .
I consider learning Czech to be not only a linguistic excercise, but also a sociological examination of the local culture. So when I see the word for daughter-in-law, “snacha“, my ingrained English makes me want to say “snatch uh”, which is close to a mildly pejorative term for female genitalia. Than I reflect that a tucan is a bird (for you English readers, “pták”, is a similarly vulgar Czech term for male genitalia) and I wonder just what goes on behind closed doors between fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law here. Since the father-in-law’s spouse has just been gunned down by his son-in-law and grandson (zeť and vnuk: see joke above), who’ll presumably have to spend at least a few years in jail, this leaves both the bereaved older man and the suddenly single but still youthful woman both in need of support and companionship, right?
Slovo dne readers, (and I mean YOU Naomi) after careful consideration and long reflection, I strongly recommend that you never allow your children to marry. The consequences are dire. Better to encourage them to have endless affairs (preferable with handsome foreigners like me) so that you never become a “tchýně“. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be married to a tucan who’s gonna seduce his snacha after you’ve been slaughtered by the zeť and vnuk, would you?