Juva-j pulju?

Trekut av nuškât, ma, ne previše ånj, de kând av ur din Žejân odlučit ke va aråta, sire ši åljc, ke Brseč nu mora fi više mera de lok če-j jåko departe, ka ši kum av betâri Žejånci užåjt ziče. Ma tot štim ke ku iskustva ši besęde de betâri nu se urta, pak â ši-j av čela za svaki slučaj aflåt fętina ân Dråga. Deset kilometri maj mânje fost av dosti de pure skupa ši ljubav ši čela običaju nepisęjt. Čela din Žejân av fost ašå zadovoljân ke kum ke av čå tot opravit, pak n-av vred ni mes za tim ke atresu juva bivę nu-j već ân selište sup pičore de Šija, već o četåtice „pod Uškun" juva-s „kućice bele".

Ma seglih, nu va rabi spuravęj previše ke s-av, zičem, „majnaredna mera de kåle" sakile kråj de ćedân nanovo merit. Maj majånće jelj doj ânš, hmålim, ši atrejile ku jelj, derupoj ân vetura. Virer ân sus, dumireka ân žos, trekavęjt av ča vetura čå ista kåle prende av nesričân Ćić lu Gervais ažutåt a sev åsiru ân sus porivuj pljir voz de kârbur. Čire va šti, se av ča zi, za razliku de Ćić, nono „Barkefaren" ku gospoda avut maj više sriče.

Turnåm na akmo a čela miku ân vetura. Kând av vetura trekut čåle mušåte „zvonejske njivi" kåre l-av såka vota lasåt fara såpa, je n-av ni štivut ke dupa zådnja kâsljånska selište je nu-j više „mići Frlanov" već av postanit „čela miku lu Ovčarić".

Putę ręm spure ke sta štorije nuj niš drugåča de čuda slične „kråj de ćedân migracije", ši avę ręm pråvo. Ma lasåm neka čela miku vire ân kåsa juva bives nona ši nono. Ušile se raskljidu e dupa če-l nona vlaje an mâre, šutka-l ši l-ântręba: "Juva-j pulju?", e čela mik aråta ân vrh de vetrina ân kuhinje kâtra gåjba. Miku nu ânzelęže če-j čå „pulju" ma štije se aråta ku mâra kâtra vrhu de vetrina ke vor toc pošni pljeskęj - lu čela miku čå-j dosta atunče. Je av akacåt a sa någrada: Toc âlj pljeskes ši je-j akmo centâr de tot če se ân kåsa dogajvę.

„Juva-j pulju?" fost av a męle prve besęde če pametes de limba de kåra astez kuvintåm.

Ku cåjt, pre vrhu de vetrina n-av fost više gåjba ni pulju ân jå, ni jo n-åm fost ašå mik ke-m mores toc pjeskęj. Samo o stvar ân čå kåsa la nona ši nono av ramås jednåka - limba kåra s-av ân jå kuvintåt.

E če ku „Juva-j pulju"? Če s-av dogodit ku čåle doj, trej besęde? Jåle s-av pljerdut ân čuda de čåle nove, ka ši doj, trej pęne ân čå måra lipa „lu Bažeja", juva s-av ân vęra de sęra skupljujt čelji dela „Turčić".

Pošnit am ânzelęže ke ašå nu se kuvinta samo ân a nostra kåsa; ašå kuvintu ši a nostri susezi. Ašå av kuvintåt ši Ǻne kåra av såka domaręca adus hlebu le none din butiga; ašå av kuvintåt ši betâru Tone „lu Tuhtan", čela mårle om č-av ašå pomalo âmnåt, korak po korak; ši Jivina „lu Mihålj" kårle av užęjt ćikęj ântruše la šterna. Ku čå limba pozdravljęt av Kåtina le Gržinke Stipina kând s-av turnåt ku våčile din påše, ši ânka pljira kolona de omir, čuda de jelj če nu-s više ku noj, ali lu mik fečor atunče interesantni din razlog če samo je štije.

Ma ku tot češći litråti de omir ši de štorije a lor, če s-av ku štajonele minjęjt ân kråj de ćedân o ân vręme de ferije de šula ântre a mę mika pozornice - Ulica „la Sânkovci" o ân kåsa le none - fost am ka ši ku zidu de stâkla odvojit de tot če se dogajvę ko de mire.

Ku mire av kuvintåt „po kâsljånski", „materinjen zajike na ken san zgojen", ši tot ręš čåsta vlę ka ši za gotovo se n-av o muljåra pošnit ugnivuj čela zid de stâkla. Fost am već ân doba, če putem ziče, kând se kuvinta de ânvecavęj žejånski, de ji ân „večernja šula", e noj åm komać pošnit: Nu šću ni kum ni zija kând, jå, stârpljiva šumåjštarica, e jo pljir de fome de ânvecavęj. Depårte av ča šula fost de tote šule de limbe de ća če astez konuštem. Jå n-av avut raspored, fost av fara pitanja: kât, kând; fost av ši fara ocjene. Dupa jå nu s-av akacåt certifikat de Oxford. Ânvecavęjt s-av e nu s-av moręjt. Jednostavno limba s-av živit, ma skrivši - j-av fost samo a nostra, le none ši a mę.

Kum av akmo fost drugåče čåle iste štorije kåre am månće ašå čuda vote avzit. Fosta av akmo maj tåre besęde lu čaja Matina kând av fost jådân ke-v doznęjt ke lji s-av unuki igręjt ku pipa de porcelan, čå dråga uspomena de zile kând av ku čelji din Mune vindavęjt ocet preste Pemsko. Potut s-av avzi zadovoljstvo de filju a luj, Jože, če s-av turnåt din Merika, kând s-av nazirujt kâtra a så novofakuta kåsa - dvajset let de življenje maj aprope de Kina nego selišta,  juva av a selj lasåt, ši mladost kåra av trekut akmo s-av splatit. Potut s-av ši kręde kum av  „am voj pure doj kârbure, k-am uroki dela oklji" ažutåt le sutle de ozdravi ke l-av kåpu dorut, kum s-av ši pohvalit le prijåtelice kând s-av ânkârâkåte ku brentele de åpa turnavęjt dela fântâra.

Rupoj, tot je čåsta fino, ma nu-j limba čå če na rabę de tremęte informacije ântre omir, e nu la rabi samo kând na turnavęjm ân a nostre uspomene?

Rabit av položi zadnjile ispit de a mę „večernja šula" e čå n-av fost lâhko. Atunče ręš maj råd fåče ka ši betâra maja Ǻnica dela „Lukićevi" din Mune. Jå, nevęsta ân Žejân, o vuota av odlučit za vâk: Jå nu va kuvintå po žejånski ke l-av fost frika „da joj se ki van hiže ne bi rugav." „Razumin vas, stara mama, ma jo voj provęj!" - odlučit am.

Fost av såkako: Fino s-av iznenadit, pohvalit m-av, odgovarujt mj-av po kâsljånski, ârs mi s-av, ârs m-am ši jo, fost av jådni pre mire, ši jo am fost jådân pre mire ši pre jelj, ma na kråju jo-m položit! Hvåla va toc kårlji ac kuvintåt ku mire ši ânka vec, e cije, nona, hvåla maj više!

De čå vręme a mę žejånska limba ši jo živim a nostru odnos zija dupa zija: O zi avem na råd, åta nu na želim druži ni ân minut. O zi kuvintåm ku vrur din Žejân ân Korzo ši ręm råd neka na ši åljc avdu, åta zi m-je rušire ân istile lok ši ku istile om. E dupa ča, ku jå spuraves maj dimboč želje ali tåjne, kåre samo ašå spuse akåcu pljira vrednost.

Astez, minjes se ân mire zadovoljstva, ponos ši zahvalnost ke mj-av sudbina, Domnu, sriče, kum god vec kljemå čå če odrajvę a nostra življenja, dåt prilike k-am putut vlå de o pårte de mire ši sta limba ši tot če åre ân sire spravito ka ši dota.

Tot čå fakut m-av, zaspråve, bogåt om.

Translation

Several years went by, but not too many, since one Žejanan man decided to prove it to himself as well as others that Brseč need not be a measure of great distance, as old Žejanans used to say. Considering that, as we all know, it is not desirable to put up fights with the experience and wisdom of old people, the man found a girl in Draga, just to be on the safe side. Ten kilometers less sufficed to resolve the conflict between love and this unwritten law. The Žejanan man was so pleased with his undertaking that he barely noticed his home address changed from the village at the foot of Šija to the little town „under Učka“ where „all the little houses are white.“

I don't need to tell you, though, that this, so to speak, rather „acceptable“ distance got measured all over again every weekend. First, it was just the two of them, but, soon, there was a third person on the back seat of the car. Up the mountain on Friday, down on Sunday, their car took the same road on which the miserable Ćić, described by Gervais, helped his donkey pull the little wagon filled with charcoal. Who knows if grandpa „Barkefaren“ had better luck with the rich gentlemen down by the coast?!

But let us return to the little kid in the car. As the car passed by the beautiful fields of Zvoneće, which left him breathless each time all over again, he didn't even know that after the last village of Kastavština he was not „Frlan's kid“ anymore, but „čela miku lu Ovčarić“ (Ovčarić's kid).

You could say that this story is no different from the myriad of other similar „weekend migrations“—and you'd be right. But let's allow the kid to enter his grandma's and grandpa's home. The door opens and after his grandma takes him into her arms and kisses him, she askes, „Juva-j pulju?“ (Where is the bird?), and the little guy points toward the cupboard which has a bird cage on top of it. The kid doesn't understand what this word „pulju“ is, but he knows that, if he points his finger toward the cupboard, all those present will clap—and that is all the kid needs. He's got his prize: Everyone is clapping and he is the center of everything taking place in the house.

„Juva-j pulju?“ are the first words that I remember in the language we are talking about today.

Time passed and the cage and the bird disappeared from the cupboard and I wasn't a little kid, waiting for everyone to clap to him, anymore. Only one thing stayed the same in grandma's and grandpa's house—the language spoken in it.

What happened to „Juva-j pulju?“? What happened to these two or three words? They got lost in the multitude of new ones, just like two or three leaves do within the top of the tall linden tree „lu Bažeja“ under which, at the summer dusk, the Turčići's would gather.

I started understanding that this not how you speak in our house only, but how our neighbors speak too. This is how Ane spoke, who every morning brought bread to my grandma from the store; this is how the old Tone „lu Tuhtan,“ a tall man with short steps, spoke; and the old Ive „lu Mihålj,“ who used to chew tabacco on the „šterna.“ Kate „le Gržinke“ greeted Stipe in this language as he was returning his cattle home from pasture, in addition to the whole procession of people, some of whom are not with us any more, but were so intriguing to the little child then, for reasons only he could understand.

In spite of all these images of people and their stories, which presented themselves on my little theater stage—the „la Sânkovci“ street and my granma's and granpa's home—along with the different seasons, over the weekends and during schoold holidays, I remained separated from everything taking place around me with a glass wall. People spoke to me in Chakavian [Croatian], „in the mother tongue I was brought up in,“ and I would be taking all this for granted now had one person not begun to move the glass wall away for me. I was at an age, if I can put it that way, when I could have been a candidate for an „evening course“ in Žejanski, but the two of us were only starting our adventure: I don’t know exactly when or how, she was the patient teacher and I was eager to learn. This was different from all the foreign language schools we are all familiar with. This school had no schedule and there were questions—when, how much; it had no grades. There was no certificate of completion at the end recognized by Oxford. You’d learn, but you didn’t have to. Simply, the language was lived, but secretly—it was only ours, my grandma’s and mine.

How differently now sounded those old stories I heard so many times before! The angry words of „čåja“ Matine—when he complained about his grandchildren were playing with his porcelain pipe, a cherished memory of the times when he sold vinegar with people from Mune in Czech lands—sounded so much more forceful. You could really feel the contentment of his son Josip, when after returning home from America, he stood in front of his newly built house—twenty years of life closer to China than to his native village where he left his family and bygone youth finally paid off. You could even believe that saying „Âm voj pure doj kârbure, k-am uroki dela oklji“ (I'll throw two pieces of charchoal [into the water], because I was cursed by an evil eye) helped Godmother get rid of her headache, as she bragged it did to her neighbor, when they walked home from the wellspring carrying heavy loads of water.

This is all well and good but isn't language a tool for communicating information among people and don't we use it for more than for retrieving our memories?

So, I had to pass the final exam in my „evening course,“ and that wasn't easy. At that point, I would have preferred to do like old grandma Anica „Lukićeva“ from Mune did. She, a Žejanan bride, decided once and for all that she wouldn’t speak Žejanski, afraid that „someone outside of the home might make fun of me,“ and she stuck to her decision for the rest of her life. „I understand you, dear grandma, ma jo voj provęj“ (...but I will try!), I decided.

All kinds of things happened: They were pleasantly suprised, they praised me, they answered in Chakavian [Croatian], they laughed at me, I laughed at myself, they got angry with me, I got angry with myself and with them, but I passed my exam at the end! Thank you all who spoke Žejanski with me and still do today, and to you, grandma, thank you the most!

Since then, my Žejanski and I take our relationship from one day to another: One day we like each other, the next day we do not want to hang out together even for a minute. One day, I use it to speak to a Žejanan in the middle of Korzo and I want everyone to hear us, but on the next day, I'll be embarassed to do it on the same spot with the same person. Then, right after, I utter in it my deepest wishes and secrets, because they get their full force when expressed in it.

Today, I am filled with pleasure, pride and gratitude that destiny, God, luck, or whatever you want to name that which determines our lives, presented me with the opportunity to built this language into myself with all that, like a dowry, it brings within it.

It truly makes me a richer person.

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