"I am a good person to the very bones"


You are listening to SoundCzech - Radio Prague's new Czech language series in which you can learn useful phrases through song lyrics. Today we'll be using a song by the group Chinaski - called Jsem dobrák od kosti.

And, yes - today's phrase is the name of the song itself. "Jsem dobrák od kosti" literally translates as "I am a good person to the very bones" - in other words I am a good person through and through. You can also hear the abbreviated version of this "Jsem dobrák" or "I'm a good guy".

There are a number of other ways to express the exact same sentiment in Czech. Another way of saying "Jsem dobrák od kosti" or "jsem dobrák" is to say "mám srdce ze zlata" - the precise equivalent of the English saying - "I have a heart of gold". And yet another phrase which has pretty much the same meaning is "Na mně se dá dříví štípat" - literally - "you can use me as a chopping block" - meaning I am so good and patient I will not protest. "Na něm se dá dříví štípat" is a phrase that women will say about a man who is henpecked by his wife and goes about her bidding without protest. While the latter suggests you are so good as to be a fool - "jsem dobrák od kosti" is wholly positive. So let's listen to the phrase again:

And that brings today's Czech lesson to an end. I am sure that there are plenty of you out there who could truthfully say "Jsem dobrák od kosti" - but remember there can be too much of a good thing and there's a thin line between being a "dobrák od kosti" and someone's fool. So be a "dobrák" by all means but don't let people use you as a chopping block. Until next time - goodbye.