To elevate yourself
Yesterday I was having trouble translating the proverb:
No se siente en una canasta a elevarse;
In English it says - Dont lift yourself up by sitting on a basket.
Heidita left a comment that it doesn't work the way I put it and I must admit I did wonder about elevarse when I posted it :(
Would subirse work or could someone please help with a better suggestion - muchísimas gracias de antemano
(and while we're here lol, is that ok to say the above for 'thanx in advance'?
Yes, "gracias de antemano" is perfectly okay.
I would translate that proverb by saying "No se siente en una canasta para elevarse".
"Para" here is more or less "in order to" in English.
María-Claire was kind enough to provide the source of her quote, which turns out to be a Cambodian proverb:
* Literally: Do not sit on a basket to raise yourself; do not be
boisterous while carrying goods on your head; do not lie with your head covered waiting for good luck; do not rely upon the god of mercy, you must work hard.
* Meaning: In the first phrase, "sitting on a basket" is a metaphor
for boasting about oneself; the second phrase admonishes a person not to be boisterous while carrying goods because when you are boisterous you risk becoming unbalanced and tipping the basket on which your goods rest; the third and forth phrases are self-explanatory.
In my view, the cultural context is very important for this particular proverb to makes sense.
Let's assume that this is a fair sample of what Cambodian basketry is all about:
Then one can readily see that sitting on one of them to raise above the rest is probably not bound to work for a very long time.
I like baskets, and I have seen basketwork from many different cultures - so I know that if you use the right materials (rattan or bamboo, for example), you can make some very sturdy basket structures indeed! As a matter of fact, I understand that Cambodians make some basket boats that look pretty solid, seaworthy and durable!
But generally speaking, baskets are not expected to be as sturdy or long-lasting as structures made of solid wood, say, or metal, or concrete. So if we think along those lines, we could come to see the wisdom of a proverb that advises:
"No te sientes sobre un canasto para estar sobre los demás", which would be my answer to María's question.
Still, like many proverbs, I think you need to be immersed in the cultural surroundings in order for it to make immediate sense. I suspect that modern, urban Cambodians, might also be puzzled by this proverb if it has not been part of their family lore as they grew up!
OMG, When I saw Maria's post, I also think about our Cambodian proverb, but i didn't expect it was actually a Cambodian proverb, I thought might be a proverb similar to ours. Right, I'm Cambodian and this proverb is one the most popular proverbs in Cambodia, we use it in our everyday conversation, so every cambodian can understand what it means.
When we say you're sitting on a basket to raise yourself up, it means you're boasting about yourself. Many Cambodian like to be humble, so if someone say "I'm beautiful, i'm intelligent ..,etc" they might think you're sitting on a basket to raise yourself up.
If we look closely, we'll see that it's impossible to lift ourself up (without any helps) when we are sitting on a basket or anything else. we need someone or some machine like an elevator to lift ourself up, didn't we?. So sitting on a basket to raise yourself, is like you're trying to praise yourself which is not natural and believable. The praise should come from other people around you, not from yourself.
I think it's a good proverb and it really make sense.
Welcome madder, :
No se siente en una canasta para elevarse"
This is correct, but makes no sense in Spanish.
I did not offer any alternative, marie, as this simply does not work in Spanish, not that I can think off. Call gekko to the thread...maybe he can think of something.
As to context, Geko is correct. When I was in Thailand(neighbor to cambodia), it was considered bad manners to place yourself physically above another person. To do so was to assert superiority. On ocassion when it was unavoidable,one excused oneself.
In this proverb,would the verb "alzarse," have a more "proverbial," usage to it?
I agree that the proverb does not translate gracefully into Spanish. My problem is that I'm not even sure I really get it in English. I could not find a reference in Google. I could assume that this refers to the idea of using a basket tied to a string to lift groceries and other stuff to apartments in buildings. Trying to use that method to lift yourself up may not be the best way to rise above the others - although technically I'm sure you can fashion a rudimentary elevator that way. Or it could mean that baskets do not generally make sturdy platforms to sit on....
I can think of a couple of different ways in which to translate the sentence, but for it to make sense I need to understand it.
Thanx Madder here I was thinking it was the verb but of course I should use para, gracias