Episode 38: Elephant Stepped On To You On Ear?

Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho?

English Phonemes: “swoh[ń] nah-ST[Ą]-peew chee nah OO-hoh”

Literal Translation: Elephant stepped on to you on ear?

Elegant Translation: Did an elephant step on your ear?

English Equivalent: “You have no ear for music.” Or “Are you tone deaf?”

This is a playful way to tease someone when they've missed a note while singing, or can't keep time to a rhythm, or sounds tone deaf. Don't use this with people you don't know! Not only is the case informal (using "ty" you-form instead of 3rd person addressee form), it's also obviously rude to come at strangers with criticisms about their musical prowess when you don't even know them.

Notice the structure of the sentence. The word "ci" doesn't mean "your", it means "you", the idea being you got stepped on on the ear, which is different than "twoje ucho" which DOES mean "your ear". In Polish, it's worth noting, you will frequently see things constructed this way. Saying "you got stepped on on the ear" and "your ear got stepped on" is synonymous in English, too.

słoń = elephant [singular subject form]
nastąpił = he/she/it stood on or stepped on [3rd person singular of nastąpić (to take place/occur/come/tread/supervene - depending on context)]
ci = to you, on you [object form of ‘you’]
na = on
ucho = ear [singular, object form]

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Julia Tutko