Albanian Proverb

Informant: The informant is Mrika. She has lived in the Bronx, New York for her whole life. She is eighteen years old and is a freshman at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. She is of Albanian descent.

Context:We sat across from each other at a table at a diner in Yonkers, New York during my spring break from college.

Original Script:

Informant: There’s a proverb that Albanians say. It goes, “When you have given nothing, ask for nothing.” So, it has a lot to say about respect in Albanian culture. We believe in returning favors and that, basically, you only get what you give. If you don’t give anything, you don’t get anything. It’s kind of like karma. I learned this from my dad. He was trying to teach me valuable lessons about appreciation and hard work .He taught me this when I was in middle school and I asked him for money. Like always, he had to turn this into a life lesson.

Interviewer: Why is this piece of folklore important to you?

Informant: It’s important because it taught me about not being greedy. You only get what you give. I feel like it’s so opposite of American culture. It reminds me not to be selfish. Honestly, so much Albanian folklore has that message.

Personal Thoughts: I think that it is fascinating to learn about the central messages of folklore of different cultures. I found it very interesting that Mrika said that much of her folklore is about not being selfish and making sure to return favors. The fact that their proverbs revolve around other people aside from themselves is admirable.