To je pro mě španělská vesnice / It is all Greek to me

To je pro mě španělská vesnice / It is all Greek to me

The Czechs „travel“ to abroad sometimes when they speak Czech. They use „geographic“ phrases: To je pro mě španělská vesnice. Objevil jsi Ameriku. Zmizím po anglicku. Have you heard them? Do you understand them?

1. To je pro mě španělská vesnice.

When a Czech says „To je pro mě španělská vesnice“ („It is a Spanish village to me“), it means he/she can´t understand it. E.g. I don´t understand maths. So I can say that maths is „španělská vesnice“ to me. Or you don´t understant IT and your friend-programmer is explaining a complicated IT project to you. You can say to him that programming is „španělská vesnice“ to you.

When the Spaniards can´t understand something they say: „It sounds like Chinese to me.“ (Eso me suena a chino.) Also the Russians say: „It´s Chinese grammar to me.“ (Это для меня китайская грамота.) And the French: „It´s Chinese to me.“ (C’est du chinois.) But the Turkish show at the French. (Fransız kaldım.) And the English say: „It´s all Greek to me.“

And the best at the end. When the Polish can´t understand something they say: „It´s a Czech film to me.“ (Dla mnie to jest czeski film.) And the Germans: „It´s a Czech village to me.“ (Das sind böhmische Dörfer für mich.

2. Objevit Ameriku

When you find out something everybody knows, the Czechs say „objevil jsi Ameriku“ („you have discovered America“). E.g. your colleague is telling you he has discover a new app which is fantastic. You and other people have been using this app for a year. You tell him: „Objevil jsi Ameriku!“

The America has been discovered also by the Russians (открыть Америку), the Spaniards (Ha descubierto América.) and the Polish (odkryć  Amerykę). But the English say: „You haven´t reinvented the wheel.“

3. Zmizet po anglicku

You are at the party and wanna go home silently, not to be seen by anybody and without saying goodbye. It means that you „zmizíte po anglicku“ („you leave in an English way“).

The Russians (уйти по-английски) and the Polish (zniknąć po angielsku) also leave „in an English way“. But the English leave „in a French way“ (to take French leave).

It is not easy to understand phrases in a foreign language. Try to learn these three and use them in every suitable situation. You will see how much the Czechs will be surprised! And you´ll be able to understand them better.

Which „geographic“ phrases do you use in your language?

27th March 2018

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Jitka Pourová administrator

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