I know coming back to the blog was lucky, because just when I finished my first new post, Facebook shared the memory of buying my Step by Step “Czextbook” with me. It’s a sign!
Anyway, IDIOMS! When you get to a certain level in language-learning, it’s great to start learning them. They make language colorful and fun.
Plus, I love to watch people’s faces turn to shock when I use them. 🙂
Without any further ado, here are my favorite Czech phrases and idioms! I’m adding the (American) pronunciation for any English speakers, because I know I love
pretending I can speak foreign languages saying exotic words in my head.
My o vlku, a vlk za dveřmi.
Pronunciation? Mee oh vl-ku* ah vlk za dvezh-mee**. Translation? We’re talking about the wolf, and the wolf is behind the door (often changed to say where the “wolf” actually is). English equivalent? Speak of the devil.
Koukat do blba.
Pronunciation? Kohh-kat doh bll-ba. Stress the ohhh there. Translation? Staring into stupid. English equivalent? Something like zoning out, but way funnier.
Pronunciation? Drzhet** pahl-tseh. Translation? To hold one’s thumbs. English equivalent? To cross one’s fingers (in hopes that something good will happen).
Personally, I like to cross my fingers and hold my thumbs at the same time. It’s double the luck.
Pronunciation? Zlohm vahz. Translation? Break your neck! English equivalent? Break a leg! (If I even imagined our idiom could get any worse…)
Pronunciation? Jezh-ko-vee** vo-chee. Translation? Hedgehog’s eyes. English equivalent? My understanding is that it’s a mashup of Oh my god! and Fiddlesticks! It’s used informally as an exclamation when something is surprising or mildly problematic. But I’m still figuring it out.
BONUS: Ach jo. 🙂
Pronunciation? ACH YO. Be really dramatic about it. English equivalent? *Deep sigh.*
I love Ach jo. It just contains all meanings, frustrations and disappointments.
*Yep, consonant clusters, I feel you, but that’s exactly how it sounds, as if you squeezed all the vowel out.
**zh is like the G in Gigi.
[…] always on the hunt for idioms. Every language has them, and they always add color and culture to the way people express […]
[…] like many other languages – has some very nice phrases for referring to cultural oddities. Some Czechspressions, for […]
Ježkovi voči – based on the poor eyesight of a renown czech composer Jaroslav Ježek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaroslav_Je%C5%BEek_(composer)).
wow! thanks for that!
[…] Czech idiom alert! I love how the word “buchty” (plural of buchta) is slang for “abs” based on the way they look together on the pan. […]
[…] and Americans have different ways of expressing meaning 1. In Czech we “hold our thumbs,” in English we “cross our […]