Michael L. SIMKO, generálny manažér pre Výskum a vývoj USSE
This week's question comes from someone who heard an American colleague (no names, no pack drill) utter the expression "Jiminy Cricket", and wants to know what it means. The first thing is that it
has nothing to do with the original English bat and ball game. A lot of people know it as the name of the personification of Pinocchio's conscience in Walt Disney's classic 1940 cartoon film
(cricket meaning "svrček"). In fact, though, it's a way for polite people to swear (zahrešiť, zakliať) without taking the name of Jesus Christ in vain. There are many expressions of this kind in
English as a result of puritan Protestant indignation: "cor" or "gor" instead of "God"; "jeez" or "jeepers" instead of "Jesus"; "cripes" or "crikey" instead of "Christ"; "bloody" instead of "by Our
Tricky Words in this week's OVI
There are special tricks in English grammar for expressing remarkable numbers or amounts of things, or remarkable lengths of time. I say "remarkable" (značné) rather than "large" or "long", because
the specific number, amount or length is less important than the speaker's (writer's) intention to impress the listeners (readers), the aim of getting the reaction "fíha". So instead of saying that
25 000 kilometers of pipes HAVE been produced, you can say that that length HAS been produced, or that the amount (weight) of 3.7 million tons HAS been produced, i.e. you express the figure as one
remarkable length or amount.
Remarkable lengths of time are expressed in Slovak with the present tense (pracujem tu už / bývame tu už 20 rokov, čakám tu už 20 minút), and in English with the present perfect with -ED: I have
worked here / we have lived here for 20 years, I've waited here for 20 minutes. The Slovak idea is "tak dlho a ešte stále"; the English idea is "dosiahlo to už značnú dobu".