Getting things mixed up


Welcome to SoundCzech – Radio Prague’s Czech-language course which helps you learn Czech idioms through song lyrics. Today the 1950s and 60s Czech pop idol Richard Adam will teach us a few useful phrases from his hit song “Páni kluci“. The title literally translates as “Gentlemen Boys” but the idiom means just the opposite of the English “boys will be boys”. It refers to small boys but gives them the respect reserved to grown up men. Strangely enough, “Páni kluci” is actually a love song. The boys playing in the street are witnesses to a romance between the singer and his beloved. Here comes the first phrase: “páté přes deváté”.

The amorous singer says that boys are known to always get things mixed up “rádi spletou páté přes deváté”, they find out about everything but he is still wondering why they are writing his name and the name of his beloved all over the walls. “Plést páté přes deváté” is an idiom which translated word for word means “to mix the fifth over the ninth”. Don’t ask me why specifically these numbers but the meaning of the phrase is “to get things mixed up” or even “talk nonsense”.

Boys also usually make great plans – “velké plány potají spřádají” or literally “spin great plans on the sly”. “Spřádat plány” is “to devise plans” or even “to scheme”. The singer also notes the boys have no respect for anything, nothing is sacred to them anymore – “nic už jim není svaté”.

So the recap: “plést páté přes deváté” is “to get things mixed up”, “spřádat plány” is “to devise plans” and the phrase “není mu nic svaté” means “nothing is sacred to him”. Thanks for listening today and all today’s phrases can be found as usual on Na shledanou.