SoundCzech To be tongue-tied

06-02-2016 02:01 | Ruth Fraňková

Hello and welcome to a fresh edition of SoundCzech, in which you can learn interesting Czech idioms with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is by the singer and song writer Michal Prokop. It’s called Blues o spolykaných slovech or Blues about swallowed words and the phrase to listen out for is slova váznou na jazyku:

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Photo: Kristýna MakováPhoto: Kristýna Maková The song is a sort of declaration of love: I owe you a lot of nice words, the singer says, and I know them all by heart by now, but unfortunately, they are all stuck on my tongue - váznou mi na jazyku. In other words, the singer is tongue-tied and he is not able to express what he feels towards his loved one. Don’t confuse the phrase with mít něco na jazyku, which means to have the word on the tip of one’s tongue.

The singer apparently needs to loosen his tongue – or as we say in Czech rozvázat jazyk. Perhaps a glass of wine would help, but then he might end up having a heavy tongue – těžký jazyk and his speech might begin to slur. Another phrase that expresses the same is plete se mu jazyk, his tongue is twisted.

Some people have an opposite problem; they can’t keep quiet. In Czech we say nedokážou udržet jazyk na uzdě, which literally means they can’t keep their tongue on a leash. Or they have a sharp tongue – nabroušený jazyk. In that case, they should mind their language, dát si pozor na jazyk, or even keep their tongue behind their teeth – držet jazyk za zuby – in other words, keep their mouth shut. And if they can’t keep quiet, they should bite their own tongue - kousnout se do jazyka.

And I am afraid that’s all we have time for today. Thank you for listening and until next time, nashledanou.

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