I’m losing control again!

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Welcome to SoundCzech RPs Czech language course in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is sung by Helena Vondráčková – it is called “Thanks for being you" and the phrase, or rather the two phrases, to listen out for are: “Já v tom plavu, já v tom lítám” – “I’m swimming in it, I’m flying in it”.

Although verbs denoting motion generally have a positive connotation such as in “ten jede” which means “watch him go”, you can turn their meaning around completely by inserting the phrase “v tom” meaning “in it”. So for instance, “Já plavu” means “I am swimming” “Já v tom plavu” literally translates as “I’m swimming in it” – but actually means “I’m out of my depth” or “I’m not in control”. If a Czech teacher tells you that your son is swimming in math – he means he is very bad at math and needs help.

The same applies to the phrase referring to flight. “Já v tom lítám” or “I’m flying in it” means the person is in some sort of trouble, be it love or debt. “Já v tom zase lítam”– means “I am out of control again” and often refers to some form of addiction – alcohol, drugs or gambling.

As I already said “ten jede” means “watch him go” and is entirely positive. On the other hand “on v tom jede” or “he is in on it” or “he is in on that ride” suggests that someone or other is involved in some activity, often illegal. “On jede v drogách”– indicates that the person is in the drugs business. And before I go – a final word of warning – be careful of the phrase “to be in it” If you say “I am in it” – or “jsem v tom” - in Czech you are actually saying you are pregnant. The phrase is presumably a short version of “Jsem v jiném stavu”– literally “I am in a different state” – the Czech word for pregnant. So the abbreviation is something akin to “I am in it – in you know what”. We will have more language intricacies for you same time next week in the meantime – nashledanou!