A few dry berries in my pocket


Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech Radio Prague’s Czech language course in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is by Lucie Bílá, it is called Requiem and the phrase to listen out for is “v kapse pár suchých jeřabin”.

“V kapse pár suchých jeřabin” translates as “a few dry rowan berries in my pocket” – in other words no credit cards, no money, no possessions. The most frequently used description of someone who is poor is “jedna kapsa prázdná a druhá vysypaná”– one pocket empty, the other emptied out. Also popular is “má hluboko do kapsy”– meaning he has to reach far down into his pocket to fish out some money. When someone finds it hard to make ends meet you can say – “žije z ruky do úst”– he lives from his hand to his mouth. Have another listen

You will come across the word kapsa–or pocket – in other contexts as well – kapsář– is the Czech word for pick-pocket and Kapsa is also the name of a special police unit fighting pocket-theft in Prague. If you hear someone say “ten ho strčí do kapsy”– he can put that man in his pocket – they are refereeing to the fact that someone can easily out-do someone else – that they are in a different league financially or intellectually.

The expression “u mě se peníze nezahřejou”– meaning money has no time to warm up in my possession also refers to pockets – coins have no time to warm up in my pockets because I spend money as fast as I get it. The expression “provětrat kapsu” or “provětrat peněženku”– means she made a draft in her pockets or purse. “Naditá peněženka” is a bulging purse. But – be careful not to confuse plná kapsa– a full pocket with “plněná kapsa” filled pocket. The latter refers to a dish that is present on most Czech restaurant menus – and will get you a meat pocket stuffed with some kind of filling. This is Daniela Lazarová saying thanks for learning Czech with me – and na shledanou.