Where have all the flowers gone


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Welcome to Radio Prague' special Czech language course which looks at idioms concerning wild flora. All that's left for today's lesson are flowers - kvìtiny.

About exceptional people, especially with outstanding moral qualities, Czechs say: vzácná kvìtina, a "rare flower" or vzácná bylina, a "rare herb". Staying with valued human qualities: the daisy is sometimes called chudobka in Czech, a name which is derived from the word chudý or poor. That's why we can say Je skromná jako chudobka - "she is as modest as a daisy".

The word kvítí means a multitude of flowers and in idioms the word symbolises plenty. If Czechs say bylo tam lidí jako kvítí - there were as many people as flowers, they mean there was a large crowd.

Staying with the word, there is one nice rhyming proverb: Pro jedno kvítí slunce nesvítí - "The sun does not shine for one flower". The saying is usually applied in order to console somebody whose love is not requited or who cannot get over a broken relationship. It is to say that the person in question is not the only potential object of affection in the world.

A similar word is kvítko. In some parts of the country, it simply means a flower. But if you apply it to a person it implies a certain roguishness. The saying usually goes On je pìkné kvítko - he is a little rascal. Or we can say: Je to èertovo kvítko, she is the devil's flower, she is a little devil.

In many languages, women are associated with flowers. They often get their first names after flowers, flowers are the most typical gifts for women, and last but not least, women and girls are sometimes likened to flowers. The Czech language is no exception in this respect. For example: Je to dìvèe jako kvìt - "the girl is like a flower" - that is a very flattering comparison. About young girls, we can say Dìvèe jako poupátko, a girl like a rosebud.

Women's eyes can be likened to a number of flowers in Czech, especially if they are blue. Oèi jako èekanky, eyes like chicory flowers. Oèi jako chrpy, eyes like bluebottles, jako fialky, like violets or jako pomnìnky, like forget-me-nots.

I'm afraid that's it for today's episode, which closes Radio Prague's Czech language series. Thank you very much for listening and don't forget you can find all the episodes in both sound and text on our website www.radio.cz. Now, it's time for us to say a final good-bye - na shledanou.


See also Living Czech.