I know it like the back of my hand!

14-11-2004

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Ahoj and welcome to ABC of Czech. In today's programme, we're taking up the Czech equivalent of the English expression: 'I know it like the back of my hand' which in Czech is: znám to jako své boty. This expression tranlastes literally as 'I know it like my own shoes'. So on the theme of knowing shoes, let's get to some Czech shoes - èeské boty.

If you've ever been a guest in a Czech home, you know that shortly after stepping in the door and often even before a proper greeting, you will be expected to change your shoes - pøezout se and put on house shoes - baèkory. Your kids on the other hand will be offered baèkorky or baèkùrky - little house shoes.

Czechs have a tradition of inside or house shoes, which aren't to be confused with our notion of slippers, as I have yet to see pink fluffy house shoes. Czech house shoes baèkory can be slip-ons - pantofle - from the French "pantouffles" or simply sandály - sandals. Papuèe are warm slippers, the most reminiscent of our notion of slippers generally a plaid or corduroy fabric with hard rubber soles. Trepky are light slippers and often simply resemble a pair of short socks. Døeváky are wooden shoes or clogs derived from the Czech word for wood - døevo. Døeváky is also the word, which refers to the traditional shoes worn in the Netherlands. No matter which kind of inside shoes Czechs wear, they are always worn and usually worn with socks.

The phenomena of changing shoes is not limited to guests. In a Czech house, it is not uncommon to find baèkory by the stairs to the first floor - první patro as well as by the stairs to the basement - suterén, not to mention by the door to a terrace or garden - zahrádka. And in an apartment there will even be baèkory by the door to the balcony - balkon.

But there is still more changing shoes. When students go to school they wear baèkory too. Little kids aren't usually allowed to wear pantofle or trepky because the teachers say they might run and slip or step on each other's shoes. Everybody has to wear shoes with some kind of a sole, so they get enough foot support.

I hope you've enjoyed today's lesson and u¾ znáte èeské boty jako své boty - you now know Czech shoes like the back of your hand or literally you now know Czech shoes as your own. Until next time! Na shledanou!

 

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