Mexican Proverb – “Mucho hablar y poco decir juntos suelen ir”
Transliteration – “Much talk and little say often go together”
Translation – “The empty vessel makes the most noise”
This is a proverb taught in schools and just as a general life lesson. It was told to me by my Mexican nanny, Mirna, who has been with my family for nearly 19 years, and she likes it because of its meaning as a way to determine someone’s ignorance. My nanny was told this saying at a young age by her mother, as a way to teach her proper etiquette when speaking and how to carry herself to stay on people’s good side, as well as how to tell when someone might just be talking out of their rear end.
My nanny has always been sort of quiet, and only really joining into a conversation when she had something to add. My sister was always just a talkative one and oftentimes just spoke to make noise, and my nanny would oftentimes just sit there and listen so as to please my sister. She would actually tell us this in Spanish when we were young, because being exposed to her speaking Spanish we could understand it a little bit, but I did not pick up on the deeper meaning of it.
I just asked for a proverb from home and this is what was told. It doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, but when it is looked deeper into the meaning of the two words – one being talk, and one to say – it is meant to say that just because someone talks a lot, doesn’t mean they really have much to say. The translation serves to say that those who have the least in their mind tend to talk and talk when they don’t really say anything.
When you hear someone talking and they just keep babbling on and on, a lot of what they say isn’t necessarily intelligent, and they are generally just talking to get attention and keep it. Because the literal translation (as given from my nanny) is “the empty vessel makes the most noise” this means that people who are empty minded tend to have a lot of nonsense to talk about.
It is interesting to hear proverbs from other languages because the literal translation seems to just be nonsense but talking to someone who has grown up with it as a part of their culture and getting the explained meaning from them is much more interesting to me. I was confused originally because with my knowledge of Spanish I thought hablar and decir meant the same thing so the saying made no sense to me but once it was explained this has become one of my favorite proverbs.