Friday, May 4, 2012

Polish Proverbs - Part Two

Part two of the proverbs and sayings that I heard while growing up in Poland, and which I still remember. A much longer list, in Polish only, can be found on

1. Nie ma róży bez kolców. There is no rose without thorns. Even the best outcomes have some undesired effects.

2. Gdzie dwóch się bije, tam trzeci korzysta. Where two fight, the third benefits. I remember that as a call not to fight.

3. Gdzie drwa rąbią, tam wióry lecą. Where wood is chopped, the chips fly. I think this means that if something big is going on, than it has known properties that may hurt you. It is an obvious, normal thing. Stay away from trouble.

4. Człowiek uczy się na błędach. A man learns by his mistakes.

5. Mierz siły na zamiary. Measure strengths for plans. Analyse the situation, and plan properly.

6. Nie porywaj się z motyką na słońce. Don't attack the sun with a hoe. Don't attempt the impossible.

7. Jak trwoga to do Boga. When in fear then to God. Used perhaps with contempt to describe a situation when people turn to religion only when they are afraid.

8. Nie ma tego złego, co by na dobre nie wyszło. Every bad outcome turns out to be good in some way. Can you think of something good that came out from the calamity you experienced? At minimum you learn something, gain experience.

9. W zdrowym ciele, zdrowy duch. In a healthy body, a healthy spirit.

10. Strzeżonego, Pan Bóg strzeże. What is protected, is protected by God. A call to protect your things, guard your affairs, be prepared for worst.

11. Najlepszą obroną jest atak. The best defence is to attack.

12. Co dwie głowy, to nie jedna. Two heads are better than one. When you have a problem to solve, ask for advice.

13. Co komu pisane, to go nie minie. You will get, what is written for you. God has a plan for you.

14. Gdzie dwóch Polaków, tam trzy opinie. Where you have two Poles, there you have three opinions. National stereotype: not agreeing with one another.

15. Co ma piernik do wiatraka? What is the connection between ginger bread and the wind mill? The Polish version is very short, easy to utter quickly, and it was asked when speaker was talking about something not obviously connected to the previous subject. Something that required explanation.

16. Było, minęło. It was, it passed. No need to bring back the past, good or bad.

17. Co się stało, to się nie odstanie. What happened, cannot be undone.

18. Co kraj, to obyczaj. Different country, different customs.

19. Co za dużo, to nie zdrowo. Too much is not healthy. Mainly about keeping moderation in eating - don't overeat, but also in anything else. When kids are misbehaving, and the parent finally has had enough, he or she may say that. My grandma loved this one. She kept the good food locked away at all times, so wouldn't gobble it up at once. :-)

20. Co się źle zaczyna, to się dobrze kończy. What starts badly, ends well. A strange one, but often true. The point is that even if you start a relationship on a wrong foot, you can mend it. Your enemy can become your best friend.