Fredův dotaz dávám do placu a řikám si, že má Fred opravdu dobré styky…

Jiri, I have an idea, but don’t know if it will be at all funny…it’s to talk about my recent weekend with Berlusconi and his friends, especially my Czech friend who’s nickname is „Tupy“…he was there lounging by the pool with his „family“, including his very attractive „nieces“.

Would that be funny/understood? Or is it too late, already passed, not understandable.


Fredův příspěvek po delším odmlčení ukazuje na co myslí…
Uz Jsme Doma have a wonderful song called „Bila Hul“, which means „White cane“, the kind a blind man uses.

This is how the Czech word „huleni“ came to be. When you get „caned“ (alternative spelling „cained“), you become very confused and bewildered, as if you were under the influence of drugs.

So therefore, the word „huleni“ means „stoned“.

Ptáček Jarabáček

Ptáček Jarabáček je v mých představách něco jako pták Noh, nebo ptáček Noháček, prostě neidentifikovatelná ptačí obluda, opěvovaná komerčními hudebními tělesy. Náhodná návštěva webu postavila představy o Jarabáčkovi na hlavu. Nějaký úchyla pojmenoval svou gigolovskou agenturní činnost po nebohém Jarabáčkovi.


Fred se po delší odmlce ozval s jedním ze svých poklesků

Hi world wide Friends of Fred,
I need some help today.
Tomorrow I’m finalizing this song with Ingo Bellmann.

Ingo plays the music, and I mangle the lyrics. I’m trying to be somewhat accurate in my description of bees and flowers in this song, while also packing in the allusions to human relationships.

Please, give me some brutal feedback, since Ingo’s English isn’t perfect, and everyone I sing it to just says „oh Fred, that’s so cute“, which is flattering, but doesn’t really help me so much. Is there a great line I’m missing? Am I enamored with a clever phrase that’s actually just annoying?

So I want you guys to feel free to tell me where, why, and how it sucks, and make suggestions for improvement. Tell me what I don’t want to hear, but should.

With any luck, and a bit of organization, this should be recorded soon. When it’s a world-wide smash-hit and I’m riding around in my helicopter, I won’t forget you. Really. I promise.

Thanks for the feedback,


The Bumble Bee Song

Petals, stems and leaves and nettles
Pollen, I can hear you callin
Love you, hovering above you
Let me taste your nectar
Buzz, buzz, buzz!

Rumble, tumble, humble little bee will bumble
Rumble, tumble, humble little bee will fumble

When I first sight you ultra-violet light alights upon you
Dozens of eyes are blinded by your brilliant light
And as I settle nestle in amidst your nectared petals
All our hormones and pheromones just make it right

When I first met you I’d a sense that we were meant together
Whether for today or the rest of my life
Let’s stay wherever we can lay and play and be together
It’s now or never say forever be my wife

Rumble, tumble, humble little bee will bumble
Rumble, tumble, humble little bee will fumble

(zoom, zoom…zoom zoom zoom zoom….)

Springtime, time for us to entwine
Flower, got me in your power
Kiss you, making honey with you
I’ve got all your nectar
Buzz, buzz, buzz!

Thank you darlin
For your pollen
Nature’s callin
I must buzz away…

* Ingo Bellman hrával s Jablkoněm
** Belman se píše podle švédských předků Bellman s jedním n. Germánské double-n zavedl jeho otec, Ingo se chce vrátit k Single-n 🙂

Volno and Zdarma

When you’re searching for a parking spot, or a table for dinner, be careful. In English we have the word “free”, which can mean either “no-cost”, as in, “I’ll let you read slovodne free”; or it can mean “open” or “vacant”, as in “there is free space on slovodne, and Fred has to write something to fill it”.
Czech uses two words for this: Zdarma and Volno. Zdarma means something is without charge. Volno means something is vacant.
Unfortunately, this can be confusing for English speaking tourists. When you see a sign at the entrance to the parking garage that says “free”, you can be sure that you’ll be paying something for the privilege of parking your four wheels there. Similarly, “free rooms” at the hotel won’t be cheap.
When you are at the pub, and you want to share a table, you ask the occupants “je tu volno?”, or “is this free?” Usually, they’ll say yes and you can sit down. But if you ask, “je tu zdarma?”, they’ll just look at you funny…Czechs know that in this world nothing is free.
In the software world, there’s “free and open source”. This type of software isn’t free as in “free beer”, but free as in “free speech”. In Czech, there would be no confusion. This type of software is “volno” rather than “zdarma”.
In English, if you see an attractive potential mate and want to spend more time with them, you can ask, “are you free?” You can see that if you don’t translate this properly you’ll have troubles. Just last week, I again destroyed any chance I may have of lifelong contentment by asking a pretty woman, “ty jsi zdarma?” Apparently, not only wasn’t she “free”, she was insulted that I would proposition her in such a way.
So if there are any enthusiastic and attractive female Czech speakers out there reading slovodne who are actually “free”, perhaps you should get in contact and help me improve my language skills. I have a free mind (“volna hlava”?) and some free time (“zdarma cas”?) where we could meet to discuss freedom (“zdarmostnost”?) freely (“volny”?).


Fred je dnes trochu s křížkem po funuse, ale co jiného se dá od amíka očekávat 🙂

In addition to learning cestina, the language of Czechs, I’ve recently been studying “pestina”, the language of dogs. In California, dogs tend to say things like “ruff” and “bark”, with the occasional “bow wow” or “howl”. But here, the dogs only seem to say “huf”. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because Californian dogs watch more television. Interestingly, in English the verb “to huff”, (the noun is “huffing”), means inhaling noxious vapors like paint from a plastic bag to get intoxicated. So maybe the Czech dogs have such a limited vocabulary because they’ve all been sniffing glue…

Prašivý zavšivený pes

Mangy lousy dog. This new word was introduced to my vocabulary by the very attractive Miss Skinny, who, when I asked her what she thought of my work on slovo dne, told me that I am a “prasivej zavsivenej pes”. At first I thought this was a compliment to my high level of Czech knowledge, that I sat, shook her hand, rolled over, and played dead.


Being homeless is no fun. First, you have to sleep on the street, subject to all sorts of bad weather, crime, abusive cops, and abuse from strangers. Second, you have no money and neither do your friends. This means you have to spend most of your day walking up to tourists and saying, “Dej mi cigo”, while gesturing with two fingers toward your mouth.

But the worst part of being homeless is that you have to listen to young people describe you with new words, or “neologisms”. There are two relatively new terms in the Czech language describing these unfortunates. The first is a slangy shortening of “bezdomovci” to “bezdaci”. The second is a wonderful portmanteau, combining Czech and English together to make the mellifluous, “bezhomici”.

Still, no matter what you call them, and regardless of whether you give them a smoke, being homeless here or anywhere else is just no fun at all.

Technical Writer

Language guidelines we should all be aware of…
Fred Williams
Group Leader, Technical Writers Group


Sympaťák Fred

Linguistics has a name for foreign words that seem to be similar to known words, but are not; they’re called „false friends„.
In Czech, one of the major false friends is „Sympathetic„. The English word translates to, soucitný, or chapající. If I am sympathetic, I feel pity or fellowship with the afflicted individual.

The Czech term, Sympatický means something quite different. A person who is sympatický is just likable or pleasant to be around. But they’re not going to offer you a shoulder to cry on when you need one. Just like a false friend.

Poznámka: nemělo by to být … A person who is sympatická.. ?