Kitty cat the stunner


Welcome to this week’s edition of SoundCzech – Radio Prague’s language course where we help you learn new Czech phrases through the language of music. This week’s song is “Dokonalá kost” – “a perfect stunner”, by the Nahoru po schodišti dolů band. The word to be on the look out for is “kočička”, or “kitty cat”

“You’re the perfect bone, little kitty, but one year with you was long enough”, sings Martin Krajíček of the Nahoru po schodišti dolů band. I adore literal translation. The “kočička” or “kitty cat” to whom the singer’s song is sung is obviously a girlfriend, who he commends as “the perfect bone” – “dokonalá kost”– a right stunner, a real peach, a hot chick or what Jimi Hendrix’s contemporaries would have called a fox. Why a bone? I have no idea. But animal references to people in Czech can come in droves, and kočka, cat, or its diminutive “kočička” is one of the more common since it refers to an attractive female. And of course, if you’re speaking directly to the cat, kočička, then she becomes “kočičko”, as in the song. Have another listen.

While feline reference to a woman will win you kudos in Czech, be warned that addressing her as any kind of poultry, such as a hen (“slepice”) or goose (“husa”) will have the exact opposite effect! In fact, most animal references to people in Czech are not intended in a friendly way, and I suppose that’s to be expected. Foremost of course is the ubiquitous “vůl”, which means “ox”, and is used by some in utter informality as an interjection between every other word. A person responsible for some frustrating act of wanton stupidity however will likely be referred to as “tele”, a calf, or “osel”, a donkey. “Mezek”, a mule, or “beran”, a ram, is reserved for those who are overly stubborn, or “pigheaded”. And speaking of pigs, it will come as no surprise that someone who is dirty – in thought or deed – is a pig, or “prase” (unless he is an endearing, little pig, “prasátko”).

That’s all for this zoological edition of SoundCzech, so until next week, na shledanou!