Friday, May 19, 2006

Don't Get Fresh With Me!

As a rule I find my Lingea Lexicon computer dictionary to be pretty good. I can search for verbs by using forms other than the infinitive, and there are usually a good selection of possible meanings and uses. On the other hand, it is picky about long and short vowels, so if spelling has changed since 1920 (or if there is a typo in the original or I can't see whether the I is long or short), I will not get what I'm looking for.
I have just encountered a strange one, however. The Městská knihovna has sent me an email that begins (sans accents for ease of transmission):
"Vazeni ctenari,
dovolujeme si Vas upozornit na letni provoz pobocek..."
I was not surprised to be called one of its Esteemed Readers, but as I often hear versions of the verb "dovolovat (si)" on the tram, I thought I would look it up to get the precise meaning. It always seems very polite.
Imagine my surprise, then, when my dictionary informed me that "dovolovat si" means to be "fresh" or "saucy" and that to say "Nedovoluj si na mě!" means "Don't get fresh with me!" No other definitions were listed.
Is the library really telling its cardholders that it wants to saucily bring our attention to its summer schedule?
I believe it is time to acquire a second good-sized dictionary.

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