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18-11-2019, 08:50 UTC
Living Czech

What is the weather like and what will it be like?

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Hello and welcome to the third in our series of programmes on the Czech language. I'm here with Olga Szantova, and our theme for today is the weather. This is possibly one of the most common themes of everyday conversation, perhaps in every society. How do Czechs talk about the weather, though?

Well, first off, here are some old Czech sayings about the weather at different times of the year: leden je král zimy, January is the king of the winter - únor bílý, pole sílí, February is white, strengthening the fields - Bøezen, za kamna vlezem, March, we'll go behind the stove, - Duben, je¹tì tam budem, April, we'll still be there - Máj, vy¾eneme kozy v háj, May, we'll drive the goats into the grove. These are old wives' tales that have become part of folklore.

In contemporary usage, Czech has special sayings for each season. In winter: Mrzne, a¾ pra¹tí, it's so cold it hits you. Je mráz jako samec, it's as cold as a stud, or a male, which is a bizarre saying for native English speakers to understand. Je zima (mráz), ¾e by psa nevyhnal, it's so cold, you wouldn't put a dog out. Je zima jako na severní toènì nebo na Sibiøi, as cold as the North Pole, or Siberia. Je pìkná kosa, it's as cold as a scythe.

For Spring and Autumn, which both have similar weather, you can have mlha jako mléko which fog as thick as milk, but most of time, it rains - when it pours down, the leje jako z konve, it pours down like from a kettle, or for really heavy downpours padají trakaøe, it's raining wheelbarrows, which is similar to the English equivalent of cats and dogs. If you are not careful, then you can zmoknout na kost, nebo promoknout na kù¾i, get soaked to the bone, or to the skin, which will leave you mokrý jako my¹, wet as a mouse, or jako slepice, as a chicken, or possibly nezùstane nit suchá, not one thread will remain dry.

In general, we say that bad weather is pod psa, or under the dog. What happened to man's best friend that makes us complain about dog weather, or a winter as bad as v psí boudì, in a dog's kennel?

The main expressions in summer are: teplo jako v lázni, v pokojíèku, v ráji, which mean as a warm as a bath, a cosy room, or even paradise. If the temperature gets really high, then we complain about vedro, which means stifling heat, hic na padnutí, hot enough to make you fall down, horko jako v peci, na Sahaøe, as hot as a kiln, or the Sahara.

Well, that's enough about the weather. Next week we will have a look at how Czechs address each other. So, until next time, take care, and beware of falling wheelbarrows.

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