Don't throw your rifle in the rye!
A new tune has announced a brand new Czech-language course which for the next eight weeks will discuss Czech idioms about everything that grows on a farm: fruit, vegetables, nuts and flowers. Today we start with grain crops.
The Czech word for all types of grain crops is obilí . In some other Slavonic languages the word means "plenty" - it only signifies the importance of cereal crops for humans.
"Living like a pig in rye" - žít si jako prase v žitě - that's how Czechs describe a life of plenty and pleasure. Staying with rye: to "throw one's rifle in the rye" - hodit flintu do žita - means to give up, to throw in the towel. And finally, to be beaten like rye - bitý jako žito - means to get a good beating - the way the harvest is threshed to produce grains.
Staying with the image: mlátit prázdnou slámu - "to thresh empty straw" - means to beat the air, to flog a dead horse.
Not only pigs but geese as well, are fond of grains, according to Czech idioms, and they can't wait for them to be ripe and reaped. Impatient people, especially children, are often told dočkej času jako husa klasu, word by word: "bide your time just like a goose waits for ears of corn".
Today, combine harvesters do all the work, but in the past, after the ears of grain were threshed with a flail, people still had to winnow the grains, to separate the wheat from the chaff or oddělit zrno od plev - an expression which in Czech, too, has a metaphoric meaning - to separate the good from the bad.
And finally, if you say about someone that he is člověk hrubého zrna - a "man of a coarse grain", you want to say that the person is vulgar and rude.
And that is all for today's lesson but please join us next time if you can. Until then na shledanou.