Episode 17: Quiet Water Edges Rips!

Cicha woda brzegi rwie.

English Phonemes: “CHEE-hah VOH-dah B[Ż]EH-gee rvyeh”

Literal Translation: Quiet water edges rips.
More elegant translation: Still waters tear at the water’s edge.
English equivalent saying: “Still waters run deep.”

This is a very popular saying in Polish. It has the same meaning as “still waters run deep”, meaning that if you look at the surface of a calm body of water, you don’t know how deep or powerful anything under the surface might be. Ah, sweet mystery!

Cicha = quiet, calm, still, silent [feminine singular adjective]
Woda = water, body of water [feminine noun, subject form]
Brzegi = edges, borders, coasts, riverbanks [masculine noun, plural object form]
Rwie = he/she/it rips, tears at [3rd person singular present tense]

There’s a very old song based on this saying, too. Pretty much every Pole knows it. Originally performed by Zbigniew Kurtycza with music composed by Eddie Rosner in the 1950s. Ludwik Jerzy Kern wrote the lyrics. (Few people remember any of that now, though! It’s a cultural staple.)

A few YouTube links of modern renditions of the song "Cicha Woda Brzegi Rwie":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr5oOzCEWbs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9jYkZ4CXRs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRDUu_ifVGQ

Full song lyrics with close-enough English translation:
http://lyricstranslate.com/en/cicha-woda-still-waters.html

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email us! mailbag@howyousay.fm
Visit the website! (And take the poll!) www.howyousay.fm
Tweet us! @HowYouSayFM
Rate us on Apple Podcasts!

Julia Tutko