BACKGROUND: My informant, MB, was born in the US but has dual citizenship in Macedonia as well. The following proverb is something MB’s father always says to MB and her sister in anticipation of them saying something he deems as stupid.
CONTEXT: This piece is from a conversation with my friend where I asked her about Macedonian proverbs.
MACEDONIAN: Размислете двапати, кажете еднаш (Razmislete dvapati, kažete ednaš)
LITERAL TRANSLATION: Think twice, say once.
MB: It’s essentially like, “think before you speak.” My dad’s the type of guy who doesn’t like being asked questions so he’ll always stop me and say this before I ask him for something to make sure it’s worth bothering him over.
THOUGHTS: MB compared this proverb to the common American proverb “think before you speak.” However, I think it’s interesting to note the difference in the direct translation from the American version. “Think before you speak” gives the connotation that someone should do a quick survey of their thoughts before speaking but to me, “think twice, say once” feels more intentioned. As if to say, think it over… now think it over again.