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Proverbs

Misak vechem dhanvon; zhuzak vechem ravon

If you’re going for Mass, go to Church post-haste; if you are going to war, you’ve got ample time to waste The literal translation of Misak vechem dhanvon; zhuzak vechem ravon is: “When going for Mass, one should hurry; when going to war, one should be tardy”. This proverb isn’t to be taken literally or … Continue reading »

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Sangnnechi sangnni, ponnsak zalim vaingim

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 … Continue reading »

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Khakêk asa cheddo, sôdta sogllo vaddo

In her arm is her child for whom she scours the wild A number of proverbs portray certain interesting and unexpected, yet not too rare, natural phenomena. Khakêk asa cheddo, sôdta sogllo vaddo is one such. Khak (fem.) is an armpit — khakêk being its dative form — and vaddo (masc.) is a section of a … Continue reading »

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Dekhlem moddem, aylem roddnnem

Right before me the dead body lies, A flood of tears welling in my eyes Dekhlem moddem, aylem roddnnem literally means “Saw the dead body, couldn’t help crying”. Note that the sentence has no subject, that is, it almost doesn’t matter who that person might be, suggesting that the phenomenon is a part of human … Continue reading »

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Rôchlay, Deva, Pôs

One good turn deserves another Translated literally, it says: “God, you have created me, nurture me”, though the exact sense it conveys is: God, you have created me, now how about taking care of me! Rôchlay, Deva, pôs — just three words — and so pious they almost articulate a sublime prayer! But they are loaded with some connotations and associations. The proverb is meant to describe … Continue reading »

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Valichea niban mhôsgak udok

A case of piggybacking Valichea niban mhôsgak udok means that the drumstick tree gets hydrated in the process of the creeper being watered. This is apparently a simple expression, but is open to somewhat differing interpretations depending on the motivation of the parties involved. Val means a creeper, any creeper; nib means an excuse; mhôsgak is the dative … Continue reading »

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Mezaylem kellem diun filyad zôddlem

Giving away honey with somebody else’s money Mezaylem kellem diun filyad zôddlem literally means that one won a god-daughter by giving away a banana from the table, that is, belonging to somebody else. It is a reference to a favour one does, and takes credit for, without having to pay for it oneself, for instance by giving … Continue reading »

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Tor for, Mhojem ghor

There is no place like home Tor for, mhojem ghor , is perhaps best expressed in English as “My home is my home”, despite the latter’s apparent tautology. As we all know, a home has two important qualities. First, it is a place where you are free to do what you like — of course within limits. There is a … Continue reading »

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Hokol khaina ghore, bhiknnamnim bhorlem van!

The young bride abhors all cookies and sweets; whence came the candy wrappers beneath her sheets? The literal meaning of Hokol khaina ghore, bhiknnamnim bhorlem van!  is “The bride eschews jackfruit arils; (but) the mortar got filled with jackfruit seeds”. Now that calls for a great deal of explanation. First, the Konkani word for jack fruit … Continue reading »

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Mãy-paygêr asat bara zotam, punn hanv bhik magun khatam

My father commands the royal fleet, but I’m a beggar on the street Mãy-paygêr asat bara zotam, punn hanv bhik magun khatam  literally means, “My parents have a dozen yokes but I beg and eat”.  The English word “yoke” here means, “a pair of animals yoked together” (Oxford Dictionary) and that’s the exact meaning of the Konkani … Continue reading »

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