SoundCzech As quiet as foam

08-08-2015 02:01 | Ruth Fraňková

Hello and welcome to a fresh edition of Sound Czech, in which you can learn interesting Czech idioms with the help of song lyrics. Today's song is by the Czech singer song writer Karel Plíhal and it is called Kde jsou or Where Are They. The phrase to listen out for is tiše jako pěna.

Photo: Kristýna MakováPhoto: Kristýna Maková The phrase tiše jako pěna literally means as quiet as foam. Its closest English equivalent would probably be as quiet as a mouse, tichý jako myška, which is also used in Czech. The singer is addressing his partner, saying that while she is sitting quietly in the corner, their lives are fading out, or, as he says, žijem svůj život do ztracena.

The singer then continues by asking himself: kde jsou naše velkolepý plány or where have our big plans gone and answers his question by saying: na hřbitově zakopány – they are buried at the cemetery, in other words, they are gone.

Czech language has of course other nice ways of saying that someone is quiet. One of them is ani nemuknout or neříct ani muk. The rather unusual verb nemuknout is derived from the interjection muk and is only used in this particular phrase. You could hear it for instance at school, where a teacher would tell the kids: už ani muk – I don't want to hear a single word. Another similar phrase is ani nedutat. Again, the verb nedutat is used only in this particular phrase.

And I am afraid that's all we have time for in today's edition of Sound Czech. I hope you haven't been quiet as foams and practiced today's idioms along with the singer Karel Plíhal. Thank you for listening and until next time, na shledanou.

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