niedziela, 15 kwietnia 2012

Jeśli chodzi o ...

One of the most common idiomatic phrases in Polish is chodzi o ... or some variation.  Phrases like this are called "discourse markers."  They don't give us new information; instead, they give us cues and clues as to where the speaker is going with his speech--for instance, what the subject is, or what we should pay special attention to.

I have had elementary level students who tried to translate the Polish phrase directly into English:

To chodzi o obiad  ----->  It walks about dinner.

As with most idioms, translation is not the best solution.  There are many better ways to translate the various forms of this expression.  Here are a few of them:

To chodzi o X              It's a question of X   OR   It's about X   
                                       OR  I mean X   OR  I'm talking about X

Chodzi mi o X             (same as above)

O co chodzi?               What's it all about?  

Jeśli chodzi o X ...       If it's a question [matter] of X  OR  If it's about X   OR  If you mean X

Nie o to chodzi            It's not about that  OR  That's not what I'm talking about 
                                      OR  That's not what I mean   OR  It's not a question of that.

Wiesz o co chodzi       You know what I mean  OR   You know what I'm talking about

Here's a short dialog that shows how some of these are used in English:

She:   I need to talk to you.
He:    Okay.  What about?
She:   I'm tired of your games.
He:    What are you talking about?  If it's a question of golf, I'll never give it up.
She:   It's not about golf.  I'm talking about us.  You know what I mean.
He:    If you're talking about my secretary, there's nothing going on ...
She:   It's not a question of something "going on."  It's about honesty.