“Opa”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Armenian American
Age: 65
Occupation:
Residence:
Date of Performance/Collection: February 29, 2013
Primary Language: Armenian
Other Language(s): Russian and English

Form of Folklore:  Folk Speech (Proverb)

Informant Bio:  The informant was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia until 1990, when he and his family moved to the United States, at the age of forty two.  In his youth, he had been exposed to folklore founded in Armenian, Russian, and Greek culture.  Even though he now lives in America, he is surrounded by a tight net community composed of people who speak Armenian or Russian and come from a background similar to his own.  As a result, most of the folklore he knows is mainly based on his cultural upbringing.

Context:  The interview was conducted in the living room of informant’s house in the presence of his wife and mother-in-law.

Item:    Russian Transliteration – Ne skazi “opa”, poka ne pereprygnesh.
English Translation – Don’t say “hop”, until you jumped over.

Informant Comments:  The informant learned this proverb from his grandmother.  He believes it means people should not say they are going to do something until they do it.  He, now, lives in accordance with this proverb.  The informant does not say he has done anything until he does it (even then, he will still remain quit).  The informant believes saying “hop” is not even needed; the important part is jumping over, then it’s up to the individual to say “hop” if he wants to.

Analysis:  This proverb basically means that one should not brag about something they have not done yet, until they do it.  It is a warning to those who tend to say they are going to do something so much that they never get around to doing it.  Until someone does something, he should not brag about doing it because since he is already bragging about the doing the act the necessity to actually do it tends to dissipate.  As a result people will say that they are doing many things when in reality they are doing none of them (from lack of necessity).  This proverb is used as a warning against such a result.