This post could well be entitled Bloopers I have made, #1. It concerns vocabulary…
Just occasionally (ok, often) during lessons with my teacher Mateja (at SpeakCro Online Language School) I make a horrible blunder that causes her to break into laughter – with me, of course, and not at me..
One day she came up on my screen at the start of a lesson sporting a new hairdo. I was impressed, and exclaimed “Joj! Sviđa mi se tvoja koza”. After an initial look of puzzlement, she laughed her head off.
I came to realize that, while I had intended “I like your hair”, I had actually said “I like your goat”!
Well perhaps she does have a goat that appeals to me? OK, so I should have said “Sviđa mi se tvoja kosa”.
Kosa, koza – Is the difference so significant? [Well yes it is]
Sviđaju mi se Matejine koze. I kosa je lijepa također, zar ne?
I like Mateja’s goats. And her hair is nice too, isn’t it?
Mateja does not own goats: this picture was captured in Corvara in the Italian alps, when she was there with friends.
The trouble is that I will probably make the same mistake again. Or perhaps I’d even say “Sviđa mi se tvoja koža”! (I like your skin.)
Wow …na slici možemo vidjeti njezinu kosu, njezine koze i njezinu kožu! In the picture, we can see her hair, her goats, and her skin.
Croatian language 101, Test 1:
Here are three photos - one of kosa, one of koza and one of koža. Which word goes with which photo?
I console myself with the thought that I’m sure I am not the only one who gets confused. Am I?
And I’m certainly not the only one who avoids saying “I am writing…” in Croatian. Naravno, I would say “Pišem”, wouldn't I? Or have I just made that dreaded mistake!? You know what I mean...
Answer to Test 1:
Just in case you are not sure (and to remind myself)…
kosa is hair
koza is a goat
koža is skin, or leather
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