Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gaunyack... when children misbehave

The g is silent, a-u-n is pronounced, as a hard u -n hard  - yack is pronounced ah..and then a hard k. Comes out sounding like ha-un-yack or in English, honyahk  

A polish slang term that has been used for many year's when children misbehave. 

For many years, while we were growing up, my father would point his finger at us, and we would here that word. We knew we were in trouble. 

As we got older we would ask dad what it meant, and he said his father, who was born under the Russian Czar, Nicolas II; used it on them as children. My Grandfather was polish, and later married my grand mother who was from Romania. 

Altogether, Grandpa and Grandma raised 14 children, one having passed when he was 3, and another, during WWII. While growing up, dad would often here that term come from his father's mouth. He was never told what it meant, nor were his brother's and sister's. 

In later years, while I was in college, I had a polish landlord, and I asked him what it meant. He either did not understand the slang, did not know or would not tell me. He would get an impish look and just smile. I was using it on my daughter by then and so although I think he knew, he didn't want me to know. I continued to use it on all my children when they were not suppose to be doing something, or not doing chores and playing around. 

What was the big deal? We all thought that of course it had to be something really terrible, since it was only used when a parent was dealing with a child who was misbehaving. 

Yesterday, I had an interview in Bellevue. The lady who interviewed me, wanted back ground. She wanted to know what led me to where I was and why. In the course of the conversation, I had showed her pictures of my children, and grandchildren. My oldest son is 1/2 Egyptian, 1/2 white. My two middle son's have German heritage, and my granddaughter is Native American. We got to talking about heritage and I asked where she was from. Belarus, she said and she still has family there. Dating back to the stone age, Belarus was later settled by East Slavic tribes. Most of the descendants speaking a mixture of Polish, Bolshevik, and a smattering of English. 

I laughed and told her a bit about my father and grandfather. I asked her what the term meant. She said I was correct, it was slang, and there is no English translation, but basically meaning, poo... she was almost hysterical with laughter at this point, and had me laughing. By the time, she got out her description, I said so in other words, Little shit. Yes! Yes! She says.... 

I have been trying to call my father since then. Him and his remaining brother's and sisters, still do not know the meaning, although I'm sure they suspected as I did, it was not nice. Dad was born in 1928. He is 85.  It will have taken him 85 years to learn this term, and I can't wait to get a hold of him. 

Post a Comment