Don't push your luck!


Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech, in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. The song we’ll be listening to is called Pořekadla – or “sayings” and as the title rightly suggests, the song is packed with them! But before we listen out for the first one, let me tell you that the voice you’re about to hear belongs to the popular Czech folk singer Wabi Daněk.

“Tak dlouho se džbánem, až ucho upadne” is a short version of the proverb that goes “chodit tak dlouho se džbánem pro vodu, až se ucho utrhne”, or “to keep going for water with a jug until the handle falls off” – which can best be compared to the English saying “to push your luck”. For example a husband who’s been unfaithful for 100 times and got away with it should not be surprised when she files for divorce after he’s done it for 101st time – because that’s when the handle fell off.

You already know the meaning of the proverb „Jablko od stromu daleko nepadne“– the apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree, typically used to describe parents and kids. Like, when the father is an excellent surgeon it hardly comes as a surprise that the son is doing well at medical school. Naturally - because the apple does not fall far from the tree.

“Než holub na střeše, líp vrabec v hrsti” -or as the English saying goes „a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush“. But in Czech we are more specific: we say that „Holding a sparrow in your hand is preferable to a pigeon sitting on the roof“. Why so? Well, the pigeon is certainly bigger than the sparrow, but it can fly away at any time and leave you empty-handed. But if you already have a little sparrow firmly in your grasp why not be content with that? As we also say in Czech „it’s better to have at least something, than nothing.“

And here is our final phrase for today - when something is or goes „against your hair“ or „proti strsti“ than you certainly don’t like it – it is something you disagree with and feel uncomfortable about. Just as a dog does, I guess, when you stroke it against its hair. Well, I certainly hope that today’s SoundCzech did not go against your hair, but my time is up. This is Iva Vokurková saying goodbye and thanks for listening!