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Before we hear from Pavel, let's go over two words that are easily confused in Czech. The first is the word or expression rather for cheers - na zdraví. The second word is that for station, as in bus or train station - nádra¾í. Can you hear the similarities in these two words: na zdraví - nádra¾í. These words really need to be broken down to make sense.
The word for health in Czech is zdraví, so the Czech expression for cheers - na zdraví, literally means 'to health.' The word station - nádra¾í is connected to the Czech word for dráha, which means route or way. And station - nádra¾í literally means 'on the route or on the way.' If you have visited Prague you may know the name of the main train station Hlavní nádra¾í, which is also a stop on the Prague metro.
Let's hear from Pavel...
Pavel:"Well my name is Paul, Pavel Linhart. I'm from Scotland."
Heather:"Do you have any funny stories about learning Czech"
Pavel: "Well my father's Scottish and he's been coming here for the past twenty, twenty-five years, and he doesn't like speaking because my mother always corrects him. And there was one time where he had a little too much to drink and instead of saying na zdraví as in cheers, he went nádra¾í. So ever since then we always toss nádra¾í, and then when we get really drunk it's Hlavní nádra¾í. And so when my friends came to Dobru¹ka, they saw that all the students here are sittin' in the pub goin' nádra¾í!Nádra¾í! And everybody is lookin' at them like you know, they're foreigners, so they don't know how to say it properly, fine. But they do know how to say it properly."
That certainly is a funny story! But more than that what can we learn from it? Well first, the expression for cheers in Czech is actually - na zdraví and when you are catching a train in Prague, you will need to find the main train station is - Hlavní nádra¾í. And if you are visiting the Czech Republic and you hear a group of students raising their glasses to nádra¾í - the train station, they're probably just being silly.
Until next time, take care - mìjte se and nádra¾í! Oops, I mean to your health - na zdraví!
See also Living Czech.