Like a pig in the rye


Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn Czech idioms through song lyrics. Today we'll be listening to a song written by a popular singer and songwriter Jaromír Nohavica, which is called Píseň spokojeného člověka - The contented man's song. The phrase to listen out for is: "jak prase v žitě".

The phrase "jak prase v žitě" literally means to live like a pig in the rye. Its actual meaning, as the title of the song suggests, is something between the |English phrases "like a pig in the mud" and "to roll in money". In this case, however, the phrase is used in a slightly ironic way as Nohavica describes the unassuming pleasures of a "socialist man": a flat with central heating, secure job and a TV. Now listen to the phrase again:

There are numerous phrases with the same meaning, such as "být v balíku" - literally to have a wad or "být ve vatě" - to live in cotton. If you are broke, on the other hand, you are "na mizině" or "na dně." Now listen to Jaromír Nohavica again.

Those of you who follow our programme regularly may remember the word rye from the - "neházet flintu do žita" - "don't throw the rifle in the rye." And finally, a few more bars of Píseň spokojeného člověka.