Tale of a tale, a minnow swallowed a whale
The literal translation of Sangnnechi sangnni, ponnsak zalim vaingim is: Tale of a tale, a jack fruit tree bore aubergines (or aubergines grew on a jackfruit tree). That is to say, a series of tales can end up with the fantastic report (and presumably a belief as well) that aubergines grew on a jack fruit tree!
Some of you might have taken part in, or witnessed, a group dynamic session in which a simple sentence, when individually and quietly passed down through a chain of participants, gets so mangled and mutilated that it totally loses all resemblance to the original.
That’s exactly what can happen, for example, over a series of gossip sessions in balcanvs, and this proverb illustrates just that in a colourful manner through vivid mental images from a Goan garden.
The word ponnôs1 can mean either a jack fruit or a jack fruit tree. In this proverb it stands for the tree. Vaingem2 means brinjal or aubergine, also known as eggplant. Vaingem is the vegetable, while the plant that produces a vaingem is called vainginn3. Vaingem is neuter and its plural is vaingim, while vainginn is feminine and its plural is vainginni.
While vainginn is a small plant which has a relatively short life, a jack fruit tree is huge and goes on yielding numerous jack fruits year after year almost endlessly. The sharp contrast between the two is intended to underscore the extent to which the original fact can be twisted and reshaped in the course of serial reporting.
- Ponnôs, ponnsa, ponnos, ponnsam
- Vaingem, vaingea, vaingim, vaingeam
- Vainginn, vainginni, vainginni, vainginnim