Proverbs

Don’t Speak

Informant: P, the interviewer’s mother. She grew up in India and speaks Gujurati fluently, the language of origin of this proverb. Fluent speakers like herself still use proverbs in daily life whether in conversation or merely in passing. Her parents’ generation is still heavily accustomed to the concept of arranged marriages, and she told the interviewer this proverb about marriages and finding proper suitors that her parents frequently tell their daughters and nieces.

 

Original Script: ના બોઇ ના બોઇ તે બોઇ, હાહારીયે ખોઈ

Phonetic Script: na boi no boi te boi, hahariye khoi

Transliteration: na boi no boi te boi, hahariye khoi

Full Translation: I mentioned that you should not speak, but you did not listen

 

This proverb tells young girls that if they even have a speech impediment, something unpreventable on their behalf, they should not speak, lest they lose a potential suitor they have been primed to marry. The interviewer has a few things to say about this proverb. First and foremost, he believes that in this day and age there is very little need for arranged marriages, and the importance Indian society placed on them 50-60 years ago has certainly died down a bit after an era of migration to America and becoming aware of American ideals. This dilution isn’t a bad thing, either. Objectifying things such as stuttering place a false sense of ideals in growing minds, especially those that are just beginning to form their own impressions of the world and themselves.

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