SoundCzech - As happy as a flea

04-11-2006

Hello and welcome to SoundCzech - the first edition of our new Czech lesson in which you'll learn idioms and phrases through song lyrics. This week, the Czech equivalent to the saying "as happy as a clam"!

The first phrase, or rather idiom, that we have for you is from a band called Satelit Kanibal:

Have you guessed it yet? The phrase is: "šťastný jako blecha".

To be "šťastný jako blecha" literally translates into "as happy as a flea". Now, there are several equivalents that we use in the English language - to be as happy as a lark, as happy as a clam, as happy as the day is long, or to be over the moon. Why Czechs think that it's the flea that's the happiest beats me. Probably because it loves to live on its host or because it's known for jumping from place to place - get your magnifying glass and see for yourself. Here's the Czech phrase for you again...

Now, have you noticed a slight difference between the way I say the phrase and how the singer says it? With Czech song lyrics, we have to be careful as they are often sung in slang. The singer says "šťastnej jako blecha", I say "šťastný jako blecha" and that's how you should keep it in mind. It's the correct, grammatical form. In informal Czech it's common for masculine adjectives to end in "-ej". So for instance, "dobrý" - good - becomes "dobrej". Another thing you should be careful of is the gender. A man is "šťastný", a woman is "šťastná". Here's the phrase again in song:

And that's the end of this edition of SoundCzech. We'll be back next week with a new phrase. Until then, learn the idiom "to be as happy as a flea" by reviewing the programme on our website - www.radio.cz/english. And, in case you're just about to go to bed, then it's "dobrou noc, ať tě blechy štípou celou noc" - good night and (don't) let the bed bugs, or rather fleas, bite!

04-11-2006