One day you're up, the next you're down

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You're listening to SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn Czech idioms through song lyrics. Today we'll be listening to a song from the 1930s called "Život je jen náhoda" or "Life is but chance" by the comedians and playwrights Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec, with music by Jaroslav Ježek. Today's featured phrase is "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře".

The phrase "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře" means one day you're up, the next you're down; in literal translation "one time you're up, one time down". The word jednou is derived from the numeral jeden - one. Jsi is the second person singular of the verb být - to be and it means "you are". Dole means down and nahoře is up. Everything should now be clear, so let's listen out for "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře".

Life is but chance, one day you're up, the next you're down - "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře", life flows away like water and death is like a sea, the lyrics go and continue: Everybody will reach the sea sooner or later, but those who love, don't lose hope. So even if you feel that "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře" - one day you're up, the next you're down, there is always hope with love, the lyricists Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec say in their song.

Today we have learnt the phrase "jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře" - one day you're up, the next you're down, just like on a seesaw. It is a phrase that can be combined with an idiom we introduced recently in SoundCzech: "Hoď to za hlavu!" - Forget about it! So to comfort a friend who is worried or upset, you can say: "Hoď to za hlavu, jednou jsi dole, jednou nahoře".

Thanks for listening today and if you'd like to practice today's phrase some more, you can find this episode as well as all our previous lessons on Radio Prague's website www.radio.cz/english. Now, a few more bars of "Život je jen náhoda".