All five together

07-03-2009

Hello and welcome to this edition of SoundCzech, Radio Prague’s very own language programme where you can learn some interesting phrases, and enjoy some interesting music. Today, we’ll hear the song “5 policajtů”, or Five Policemen by the band Jablkoň. The song was featured on their 1999 album Bláznivá. The phrase to listen for is “mít všech pět pohromadě”.

In this song, the phrase runs “já mám v hlavě pohromadě všech pět” which translates as I have all five together in my head. The most usual form, however, is “nemá všech pět pohromadě” – he/she hasn’t got all five together. The expression is used to suggest that the person is somewhat short of a picnic, or the lights are on but nobody’s home – in short, a person who is not necessarily dim-witted but a little strange all the same.

The phrase is quite frequently used in everyday Czech although perhaps only few people realize the origin of the expression. The phrase “mít všech pět pohromadě”, to have all five together, refers to the five senses of the human body. The band, Jablkoň, in fact employs the phrase in its original context, referring to them as the five policemen. They add another on top of that – the brain, which they call a customs officer.

If you want to say that someone has got all five together, that is, “nemá všech pět pohromadě”, you can also note that he’s missing a few screws - or má o kolečko míň, literally he’s got a cogwheel less. Or you might want to observe that he’s wired up wrong – “má dlouhé vedení”, although the Czech phrase in fact says that his wires are too long.

The song by Jablkoň is about a man who the five policemen would not leave alone. In the end, the song says, they bring him to reason or knock some sense into him – “přivedou ho k rozumu”. And that’s it for this edition of SoundCzech. I hope that wherever you are, you’ve got all five together.

07-03-2009