Is it worth it?

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Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague’s Czech language course in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is by the band Žlutý Pes or Yellow Dog and it is called Harašení – Harassment. The phrase to listen out for today is “vzpomínáme na starý časy, kdy svět jěště za něco stál”. This translates as “we remember the good old days when the world was a better place” or, literally, when the world was still worth something.

If you want to ask the price of something in Czech you say “Co to stojí?”– meaning “What does it cost?” If the answer is Nestojí to nic– you are being told that the object of your interest does not cost anything – “nic” means nothing. You will hear Czechs use the expression “stojí” quite a lot. If you ask someone how they are doing you may well hear the response “nestojí to za nic”– which means “it is not worth anything”, or “my life at present is worth nothing”.

There are many colloquial ways of saying that. For instance you could say “stojí to za starou belu” - “stará bela” meaning old currency – or money that has no value in the present day. You can also say “stojí to za houby” literally meaning it is worth mushrooms –or nothing much. And a vulgar way of saying the same thing is “stojí to za prd” meaning it is worth a fart.

On the other hand, if you hear someone say “stojí to mailand” it means that something costs an arm and a leg. The expression mailand most likely comes from the German mein land – in other words it is as expensive and your whole country. Finally, there are two more phrases that could come in useful – the expressions “stojí to za to” and the negative “nestojí to za to”– meaning “something is worth it” and “something is not worth it”. I hope that this lesson “stála za to”– “was worth it”. This is Daniela Lazarová saying thanks for learning Czech with me and naschledanou.