Do you remember the lists of funny literal translations of Slovak phrases into English, maybe called “How to Unlearn English in 30 Minutes”? Recently I was asked how to say these idioms in proper Engish. For example, „mám to na háku“ is not “I have that on a hook”, but “I don't give a toss about that”; „pre mňa za mňa“ is not “for me behind me”, but “for all I care”; „totálna nestihačka“ is not “a complete non-fighter-plane”, but “to be run off your feet”; „dajte mi pokoj“ is not “give me a room”, but “leave me alone”; „drž hubu“ is not “hold that mushroom” or even “grasp that sponge”, but “keep your gob shut”; and of course „koľko máte hodín, prosím Vás?“ is not “how many clocks do you have, please?”, but “excuse me, what time is it, please?”
Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI:
The word “virtual” has gone through interesting development in English. It all started wth the Latin word vir, meaning man (muž), and then manly character was called virtus. This developed into manly quality, worth and merit, and then moral quality and ultimately perfection. Rather like the word “idea” developed into “ideal”, so virtue started as a real quality and ended up as an abstract concept (pojem – cnosť). When enough people started considering this concept as unreal, the original adjective “virtuous” continued to mean „cnostný/á“, but the new form “virtual” got the sense of “apparent”, “almost real” or “potential”. A concert may be virtually sold out (takmer úplne vypredaný) on the first day of ticket sales. The most modern sense is of course “virtual reality”.