“Il faut tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche avant de parler”
Il faut: It’s necessary
tourner: to rotate
sept fois: seven times
sa langue: the tongue
dans sa bouche: inside the mouth
de parler: speaking
Translation: Before saying something, you ought to think well about your words / Think before you speak
P.S.: My father used to tell this a lot…my aunt as well. There are similar sayings in Italian as well, but…hum I don’t know, my father sometimes just switched to French to make concepts more vivid.
My informant is my father, who was born in Belgium from Italian immigrants and who spent the first years of his life in Mons, before moving to Italy. Even after his transferring, he continued to visit many times each year his native country, also because much of his family still lived there. Since really young he was told many French proverbs, especially by his parents and by those family members who continued to live in Belgium.
My informant and other relatives of mine told me several times multiple French proverbs, and, in this particular case, we were in the informant’s living room.
I believe each culture presents a similar proverb, which encourages everyone to think carefully about his or her own actions and words, as they could easily affect or, even, damage the other. At the same time, it invites people at thinking logically and reasoning reflectively on something before acting, as it often happens that impulsive behaviors or decisions are the ones a person can regrets the most.
This sort of saying has been a fundamental part of my up-bringing, it being repeatedly mentioned to me in multiple occasions by family members.