Dalmacija: Being and speaking Dalmatian #002
Eleven Dalmatian commandments
Jedanaest dalmatinskih zapovijedi
People everywhere make fun of themselves. And if they don’t (or even if they do) others will make fun of them anyway.
One common way that this is done, regardless of where in the world people live, is through a list of “commandments” that stereotype their behaviour. Of course, stereotypes are subject to more or less error, for a variety of reasons.
Below is a list of 10 such commandments that are supposed to represent the typical level of laziness of Dalmatians.
This is not an original list. You can find it on many websites, such as that at RomWell. These “commandments" have been in circulation for so long that nobody seems to know their origin.
But first of all, here is a preliminary commandment for you, my reader: You may laugh gently at these exhortions, but even if you are Dalmatian, you may not be offended or become angry.
You will notice that these commandments are not expressed in standard Croatian. They are, naturally, in Dalmatian dialect (or is it Dalmatian language?).
I have taken the liberty of making slight modifications to the translations from other sites.
10 dalmatinskih zapovijedi
1. Čovik se rodi umoran i živi da se odmori.
Man is born tired and lives to rest.
2. Ljubi posteju svoju ka samoga sebe.
Love thy bed as thyself.
3. Odmaraj se danju, da noću možeš spavat.
Rest during the day so that you may sleep well at night.
4. Ne radi – rad ubija!
Don't work, work kills!
5. Kad vidiš nekog da se odmara – pomozi mu!
When you see someone resting, help them!
6. Ne čini danas ono što možeš sutra.
Do not do today what you can do tomorrow.
There is work to be done ….... tomorrow.
May tomorrow never come!
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
7. Radi manje nego što možeš, a ono što moreš prebaci na drugoga.
Work less than you can, and off-load what you can to somebody else.
8. U ladu je spas, od odmaranja niko nije umra.
In the shade is salvation, nobody dies from resting.
9. Rad donosi bolest – ne umri mlad!
Work brings illness - do not die young!
10. Kad poželiš radit, ne brini – sjedni i pričekaj, proći će te.
When you feel like working, don’t worry – sit and wait a bit, it will pass.
Furthermore, arising out of my experiences, and particularly out of my own self-awareness, I would like to add another commandment to the list of ten above (making it jedanaest dalmatinskih zapovijedi):
11. Koliko god dobar bio savjet koji primite, ostanite tvrdoglavi i odbijte ga!
Regardless of the advice that you receive, remain stubborn and reject it!
Before I am expelled from Dalmatia, let me assure you that I don’t accept at all the sentiments expressed in these commandments – not just because I am myself a Dalmatinac, but because I have seen at first hand the amazing work ethic of my parents and their friends who came to Australia to start a new life for their families.
In fact, I really should develop another set of “commandments” that express exactly the opposite: perhaps something like .........
When you are so tired working the land that you feel that you cannot do any more today, just work for two more hours.
Or one for women ……
When you have made lunch, fed the workers and cleaned up, and are absolutely entitled to have a rest before doing it all again for the evening meal, go out and help the workers to pick the grapes.
To counter the 11 dalmatinskih zapovijedi that make fun of Dalamtians, I could tell stories that Dalmatians tell about people of other (unidentified) ethnicities ….
Marija sees Ivan walking his snail along the riva.
Marija: Ivan, is that the same snail that I saw you walking yesterday?
Ivan: No, that one ran away from me.
Ante (on the phone): Mum! Mum! Do you still have any of that snake anti-venom?
Mum: Ante! Why!? Have you been bitten by a snake!?
Ante: No, but there is one making its way toward me!
A digression: A matter of grammar
For those of us who are learning Croatian ....
While working on this post, I couldn’t help thinking about the grammatical correctness of the title "10 dalmatinskih zapovijedi". Something seemed wrong.
The Croatian word for (one) commandment is zapovijed, and the word for "ice cream" is sladoled - with similar endings.
I pondered upon how we would say in Croatian “10 dalmatian ice creams”.
Well, Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sladoled) tells me that sladoled is declined as you would expect for any regular masculine noun:
And so, “10 Dalmatian ice creams” is 10 dalmatinskih sladoleda (that is, with sladoleda in genitive plural).
OK, then why isn’t “10 Dalmatian commandments” in Croatian the corresponding 10 dalmatinskih zapovijeda?
I had to go to my teacher Mateja at SpeakCro to get the answer.
In case you are not sure, I have posted an answer below …..
A matter of grammar: An answer
The simple answer, not visible to a novice learning Croatian, is that the word zapovijed is not a regular masculine noun. In fact, zapovijed is a feminine noun!
And now you know …. zapovijed is one of those feminine i-nouns!
And its declination, copied here from Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zapovijed), is just what you would expect for a feminine i-noun:
So “10 Dalmatian commandments” in Croatian is 10 dalmintskih zapovijedi. Obvious!
How are we supposed to know that the noun zapovijed declines in this way?
How do we know the colours of our favourite football team? How do we know that the sun rises over there (in the east)? How do we know the name of the street in which we live?
Yes, it is all about familiarity. Somehow, very young Croatian children know to say 10 dalmatinskih zapovijedi, probably long before they have ever been told about i-nouns.
There are some things (no, .... many things!) that those of us learning Croatian just have to come to know, without logical deduction. Što je, tu je!
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