That's really strong coffee!


Welcome to another edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you can learn useful phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today's song is one we've heard before - it is by a group called Chinaski and it is called Jsem dobrák od kosti. The song is packed with idioms and the phrase to listen out for today is "je to vážně silná káva":

"Je to vážně silná kava" or the simpler phrase "To je silná káva" literally translates as "that's strong coffee" - and it is the Czech way of saying "that's rich". The expression that something or other is pretty strong stuff is used frequently but there are many more ways of saying it and the expression you would be most likely to hear from a given person depends on their age. More on that in just a moment - first have another listen to "je to vážně silná káva":

"To je silná kavá" - is an expression that you'd be most likely to hear from people in their thirties, forties or fifties. A man over sixty might use the expression "to je silný tabák" - or "that's pretty strong tobacco" - obviously an expression dating back to the days when men snuffed tobacco. A young person using the expression would sound a bit odd. Now here's Chinaski again with "je to vážně silná kava":

On the other hand a teenager would use neither coffee nor tobacco to express the same sentiment. Teenagers have a variety of slang phrases for this purpose among them "to je hustý" - literally "that's thick", or "to je pecka" - "that's a blast", "to je bomba" - "that's a bomb", "to je maso" - "that's meat", "to je síla" - "that's powerful" and "to je drsný" - "that's rough". All of those expressions are more or less synonymous with "to je silná kava" but unless you are in your teens don't use them.

And finally if you want to express the opposite sentiment - that something is "no big deal" or "nothing much really" you can say "to je slabý čajíček", or "slabý odvar" - "that's weak tea" or "a weak brew". So remember - when you are speaking Czech coffee is strong and tea is weak - even if you like it the other way around. This is Daniela Lazarova saying thanks for learning Czech with me and Nashledanou!