“Perro que ladra no muerde”

Informant: My informant is a current sophomore at the University of Southern California. Her parents are from Jalisco, Mexico. However, she grew up in Denver, Colorado. 

Main Piece: “Perro que ladra no muerde” 

Transliteration: “Dog that barks don’t bite” 

Translation: “Dog that barks doesn’t bite” 

Context: My informant stated that this proverb is usually present when someone is being threatening, but you know that they will not do anything. My informant proceeded to give an example of her own explaining the following: For example, if somebody told me, oh, I’m in denial, I’m finally going to buy my car or something, and it’s like someone who doesn’t have the funds to buy a car or something, then this proverb would apply to them. She stated that this proverb is used to like the question “But are you actually going to do it? Probably not. She heard it from my parents and other members of my family. And now, it has been said so many times by her family, that she also began saying it. She started seeing it sort of as a joke not even just to say it literally, but just because it was like something that she heard with the older people in my family. She felt like at first it was just sort of like an “Oh, let me try to fit in with the in my culture.”

Analysis: I think it’s interesting how in so many cultures, we don’t say what we think upfront, but rather we look for sneaky ways of creating proverbs to talk about people. I for one, am also very familiar with this proverb because it used a lot for the same reason as it was explained for above. This proverb just demonstrates how in Mexican culture we detest individuals who are all talk, but never take action. For example, if you talk too much about supposed accomplishment that you will be doing, yet you don’t accomplish them, in Mexican culture that is embarrassing. All in all, I think this proverb serves its purpose to humble down people.