He’s the guy with the antlers

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Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech – Radio Prague’s Czech language course in which you can pick up useful phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is by the group Wanastovi Vjecy and is called Velkej první letní den “that great first day of summer”. The phrase to listen out for is “láska bez paroží”.

Láska bez paroží translates as love without antlers. This requires a little explanation. The Czech word for a cuckold is “paroháč”– or “a man with antlers”. A man whose wife or girlfriend sleeps around grows a pair of antlers which everyone can see but the poor besotted cuckold. In Czech you will also hear the expression “nasadila mu parohy” meaning “she crowned him with antlers” and apart from being whispered the expression is easily mimed – behind the person’s back – usually at the pub. A nightmare for any man, as you can imagine. Not surprisingly the singer is singing about love without antlers – láska bez paroží.

There are several other ways of saying that someone is unfaithful. The most common is “on jí zahnul” or ona mu zahnula”– in other words he or she “swerved off the straight path”. If you hear someone saying “Zahněte doleva” they are giving someone directions and saying “turn left”. But if they say “Zahnula jsi mi?” in other words “did you swerve?” you can almost certainly expect a stormy argument. In our song the singer is singing about that heady, first day of summer when birds sing, girls flout their beauty and he smells estrogen in the air. Love without antlers seems a very unlikely prospect – but as the guy says he is discreet and a gentleman.

Guys or girls who are inclined “to swerve” “chodí na zálety”– in other words they are flighty. And a rather vulgar expression you might hear about a woman is “ona mu zanáší” which is derived from female birds – originally hens – laying their eggs elsewhere, which inevitably means that her guy will grow a fine pair of antlers. And of course there’s a big risk of that happening on the very first day of summer when estrogen is in the air and girls flout their beauty.

But, not to worry. It’s mid-December and everyone is bundled up and if the worst comes to the worst, antlers really are invisible. Thanks for learning Czech with me and nashledanou!