I don't know which way and where

Чешский фильм «Ночь в Карлштейне»

You're listening to SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn useful phrases through song lyrics. Today we'll be learning from a love song from the 1973 musical film "Noc na Karlštejně" or "A Night at Karlstejn Castle". It is sung by popular singer Helena Vondráčková.

Today's phrase is: "Nevím kudy kam."

The literal translation is "I don't know which way and where". But the real meaning of the idiom is "I am helpless, I am clueless. I don't know what to do." The Czech verb vědět is to know and nevím is the first person singular of the negative form of the verb. Kudy means "which way". Kam means "where" as in "Where are you going." The Czech word for "where" as in the sentence "Where are you?" is kde. So just to recap: Kde jsi? - Where are you? Kam jdeš? - Where are you going? And Kudy se jde na nádraží? - "Which way to the train station?" But back to our today's featured phrase Nevím kudy kam, meaning I am clueless. Here's the phrase for you again in song...

If you're wondering what Helena Vondráčková is singing about, here is the gist of the lyrics for you. She sings the role of Elisabeth of Pomerania, the fourth wife of 14th century Emperor Charles IV, who feels neglected by her husband. She sings she had a dream in which the emperor said: My love, I am besotted, and for you I will give up the throne, all the jewels and cathedrals. Which he didn't say or do, of course. But at least it gives us the chance to learn the phrase Nevím kudy kam. Have another listen:

And that's it for today's edition of SoundCzech. We'll be back next week with a new expression and a new Czech song. Good bye!