Christmas Edition


You're listening to a Christmas edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you'll learn useful phrases through song lyrics. Today we chose a popular Christmas song for you, called "Vánoce přicházejí" or "Christmas is coming" which pokes fun at the fretful atmosphere and nervous chaos in the house when Christmas is drawing close.

Today's phrase is: "Nedat si říct."

You could hear it in the first stanza "Proč jen děda říct si nedá, tluče o stůl v předsíni." It says roughly: "There is no convincing grandpa, he still keeps hitting the table in the hall." The lyrics refer to the custom of killing the Christmas carp - the traditional Christmas Eve dinner - at home. The lyrics continue: "Alas, now grandpa is looking for the carp underneath the cupboard with no luck."

If you say about somebody "nedá si říct" it means he or she will not listen, they will do what they want, there is no convincing them. In this song, there is probably no convincing grandpa that he should buy his carp killed and gutted, so he wouldn't have to be looking for the slippery fish on the floor. Let's listen once again...

This song "Vánoce přicházejí" has become one of the symbols of modern day Czech Christmas. Everybody knows the tune and associates it with the holidays that most people love but some also dread because of the hassle and last minute preparations. And that fact is quite wittily expressed in our song today. But back to our phrase, "nedat si říct" or "not to be willing to listen to other people's advice, having made up one's own mind". Have another listen:

And that's it for our Christmas edition of SoundCzech. Until our next lesson you can practice today's idiom by listening back on our website. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!