CULTURE AND TOURISM ON-LINE MAGAZINE
- FEBRUARY 2018 -
HOME - Puglia - Dialect Proverbs - Authority and subjects A relationship without hope
Dialect Proverbs
Authority and subjects
A relationship without hope
Patre e patrone / sampe lore hann’avè ragione
[Father and master / they will always be right]
(Capitanata)
by Alberto Sobrero
SHARE Facebook Twitter

Bruno Maggio. China

      The father commands in the house, and the master commands outside the house. There is always a supreme authority that regulates the two dimensions of life: the private and the public. Two faces of the same coin, two masters that resemble each other like two drops of water. Life starts with the subjection to the father and continues with subjection to the master (a concept, that for a woman includes, of course, the husband-master).

      Society is distributed into two layers, that are attached only through a relationship of dominance, and the same thing happens in the family. Do not even think about changing it: it is risky to delude yourself into thinking that you can establish a different relationship between who is on top and who is underneath. To stress this concept, another proverb comes to mind, which expands upon it: Amore de patrune / amore de fiascune, which means Friendship with the master can only be formal.

      But there is more. I translated hannavè ragione with its future form: They will always be right, but the translation does not render well the significance of the verb. In the dialect of Capitanata, like Southern Italy in general, the grammatical construction avere + a + infinitive signifies the future, but also underlines the idea of necessity, and obligation: in Barese slang agghie a candà means I will sing but also I must sing; in the slang from Taranto ava veni means He will come, but also He must come. Future and necessity are fused together in one and the same verbal form.

      It is not by chance. The structure of the language – and its dialects – are ductile, malleable, and adapted to express visions of the world that from time to time characterize a civilization, an epoch, a society. If the “spirit of the language” coincides with the future and an expression of necessity, it means that the general feeling of the people is that what will happen tomorrow or after tomorrow is not decided by man but by necessity, fate, destiny (or with a different perspective, God). Society does not have its own blueprint, it cannot have one, and it mustn’t because every man must limit himself to respect that which has been decided by the supreme authority. The father. The master. It is a society without a future, and without a past.

      Our proverb, however, brings with it a double meaning that holds no hope: hierarchical relationships are very rigid; unalterable, and oppressed society cannot, and must not think of a different future, a better one: one will live in the future as one lives now, and one will show respect, because one must respect the will of he who commands. Always. The oppression will never end.

      Two verses, eight words, are sufficient for an entire fresco, a ruthless and resigned description of the human condition, fatalistic, that seems to renounce any possibility of hope for redemption.

More articles
Dialect Proverbs   Wives and oxen… Dialect Proverbs   That bad reputation priests have… Dialect Proverbs   Goat Woman From the Middle Ages to Sgarbi Dialect Proverbs   “After Christmas the cold sets in” The meteorological proverbs that have deeper roots than religious ones Dialect Proverbs   A fantastic state-of-the-art teaching tool: the nursery-rhyme Dialect Proverbs   When parody flouts the sacred Dialect Proverbs   Happiness depends on how we manage our time Dialect Proverbs   If the branch indicates quality… Dialect Proverbs   Women, what deceivers! Dialect Proverbs   Back when the proverb was dictated by the calendar... Dialect Proverbs   Be prepared for disappointment! Dialect Proverbs   Hands off the female sex! Dialect Proverbs   That lack of faith in science… Dialect Proverbs   To get to heaven… you have to suffer Dialect Proverbs   From poetry to “prose” This is love Dialect Proverbs   …But Love is Hope Dialect Proverbs   “Verba volant” What has changed between then and now Dialect Proverbs   From the philosophy of Heraclitus to Vasco’s rock music “everything flows” Dialect Proverbs   Beyond the garden there are “the others”. The hateful prejudice dies hard Dialect Proverbs   Hypocrites? More dangerous than the kick of a mule Dialect Proverbs   Nothing can beat wine-Christ’s blood. When folk wisdom is “differently sophisticated” Dialect Proverbs   The revenge of cooking ‘poor man’s style’ Dialect Proverbs   Troubles? Let everyone take care of their own Dialect Proverbs   What “Eldorado”?! Dialect Proverbs   Peasant wisdom The State should consider it too Dialect Proverbs   …And so the idler’s week goes by Dialect Proverbs   Don’t fly into a rage if you want to keep healthy Dialect Proverbs   Rather an “old hand” than a “know-it-all” Dialect Proverbs   If a “poor man” falls ill there’s no hope Dialect Proverbs   The harsh law of hunger Dialect Proverbs   Our first lesson in life? In a nursery rhyme Dialect Proverbs   Man and woman: an old proverb – incredible! – is in favor of equality. As far as hitting each other is concerned… Dialect Proverbs   Women? Witches who lead you to the gallows To be used for love and child-bearing Dialect Proverbs   Marriage: what a sentence for men! Dialect Proverbs   Women “diabolical carriers of perdition” Dialect Proverbs   Women Closer to the devil than to holy water Dialect Proverbs   The longstanding diffidence of the people towards “the caste” Dialect Proverbs   A playful rhyme for the bitter fatalism of underlings Dialect Proverbs   The over-privileged who wield the money: a never-ending story Dialect Proverbs   That hateful prejudice towards anyone different Dialect Proverbs   The power of the poor Dialect Proverbs   If “you add a place at the table”… Dialect Proverbs   The unwritten laws of social injustice Dialect Proverbs   The arrogance of the flea-man Dialect Proverbs   Fatalism of the weak Dialect Proverbs   Why proverbs