The Bilingual WebZine of ART and CULTURE – Il Webzine dell'ARTE e della CULTURA

Posted by angela On May - 24 - 2011 2 Comments

Until Angela’s lesson today, I had never thought about how proverbs are a window to the culture, but of course, proverbs sort of epitomize the culture because of the historical context, meaning, use, and one’s own interpretation of the proverb!  I loved hearing how we interpreted the proverbs before Angela explained the real meaning for Italians – kind of an exposé of our backgrounds and biases!!  For example, the proverb “Eat alone and you choke,” was translated by many to mean that if you ate alone, no one would be there to save you if you were to choke.  Very practical, right?  But this was not the obvious meaning for Italians: eat alone and you are so angry that you choke, as being alone is the worst fear, the worst kind of sentence.

Shannon and I had to decipher the meaning of the proverb “Old hen makes very good soup.”    Immediately her first thought was “Waste not, want not” and do not take things for granted.  My first thought was of the old hen representing the elderly, and that the wisdom of the elderly sustains us, feed us, as a ‘very good soup’ would.  In a deeper sense, I also thought of this as the old hen representing the elderly and how they tend to make sacrifices for their young, as their legacy, and continue to live on through us.  Shannon and I were totally tickled by the window that our interpretation of the proverb offered on our own backgrounds, biases, and beliefs.  We were trying to figure out how we could bring our two interpretations together, but it was Angela that did this for us, when she explained that we were both right, in a sense, as the Italian meaning was essentially to always value the elderly and that nothing about them should be taken for granted or wasted.

Written by Elisabeth P. edited by Angela Migliorati Novek © 2011 -all rights reserved

Categories: Proverbs

2 Responses

  1. angela says:

    i think they are yummy

  2. angela says:

    what do you think about this picture Trinia?

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