Rose-tinted glasses


Welcome to this week’s edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague’s Czech language programme in which you can learn interesting phrases through song lyrics. Today we will hear a 1986 song “Brejle” by the pioneer Prague new wave band Hudba Praha. The phrase to listen for is “růžový brejle”.

The phrase “růžový brejle” translates as “rose glasses”. In this song, the listener is told that the rose-tinted glasses he has been wearing have fallen off their face. They have fallen somewhere, and he must have sat on them. The English equivalent of the expression is rose-tinted glasses, with the very same meaning. Please note the form of the word “brejle”– “glasses”. The word in its base form, and in proper Czech, is “brýle”. In colloquial Czech, however, many speakers change the vowel “y” into a diphthong “ej”, pronounced as [ei].

In this 1986 song, the band – having been harassed by the authorities and forced into changing its name to be able to perform publicly – expresses feelings of disillusionment, shared by their peers in the audience. The glasses had already broken anyway, they say in another part of the song. Another way of saying that someone sees something through a pair of rose-tinted glasses in Czech is “vidí to růžově”– literally “he sees it in pink”. The opposite, meaning a pessimistic prediction or forecast then is “vidí to černě”, or “he sees it black”.

That is all for this week’s – and this year’s – SoundCzech. In the coming year, let me say that I hope you don’t look at the world through rose-tinted glasses – we don’t here at Radio Prague – but I hope you won’t see things black either. Šťastný nový rok!