Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's language series in which you can learn useful phrases through song lyrics. Today's selection is a popular 1960's song by the much-loved duo Jiří Suchý and Jiří Šlitr of the Semafor Theatre, who produced playful and lighthearted songs that were an instant hit with a public bored with so called "socialist realism".
The song is called "Babeta šla do světa" - or "Babeta went out into the world". And the phrase we'll be focusing on today is "krk za to dám" - literally - I will wager my neck or bet my life that this is so.
"Babeta has gone out into the world and left me all alone. But I'll bet my life she has no idea I can't do without her," Jiri Suchy sings. "Krk za to dám"- meaning that you are ready to put your neck on the line about something - is just one way of expressing certainty about a given state of affairs. You can also say - "za to dám hlavu na špalek" - I am ready to put my head on the block over this - and may it get chopped off if it is not so. But let's listen to the original phrase once again:
Other ways of expressing certainty about something are "na to vem jed" or "to je na beton.""Na to vem jed" means you can be as certain of the result as if you were to take poison - it is dead certain this will turn out in such a way. The phrase "na beton" refers to concrete - in other words it's a hard, rock-solid fact. And finally, if you are ready to vouch for someone then the expression to use is "dám za něj ruku do ohně" or "I am ready to put my hand in the fire for him or her". Now - here's Jiri Suchy once more with "krk za dám":
The singer's lament goes on throughout the song - as Suchý considers how long it may take his girl to tire of the world and come back to him. "Babeta has gone and left me all alone. But I know Babeta and I'm ready to wager my neck that she will be back home by the summer maybe in seven years, maybe in eight and maybe in fifty. No matter I will be here waiting " Jiří Suchý sings.
I certainly hope you are not left waiting for anything that long - least of all your next Czech lesson which is due in exactly one week's time. Until then, nashledanou...