Among many midwives the child is lost

szivike

Member
Hungarian
In Hungarian we have this saying "Sok bába közt elvész a gyerek.", literally meaning "Among many midwives the child is lost".
We use it to refer to a situation where nothing gets done because too many people are in charge.

I'm wondering if it exists in other languages like this, or if not what would you use to refer to a situation like this.

Thanks in advance! :)
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Hungarian we have this saying "Sok bába közt elvész a gyerek.", literally meaning "Among many midwives the child is lost".
    Amazing! :) In Russian, we say: "у семи нянек дитя без глазу" (u semi nyanek ditya bez glazu) - literally "seven nannies have a child without an eye".
     
    In Greek:
    Ὀπου λαλούν πολλοί κοκόροι, αργεί να ξημερώσει
    'opu la'lun po'li ko'kori ar'ʝi na ksime'rosi
    "where many roosters crow, it dawns late"

    (no midwives, other people or dogs but...roosters)
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    In Bosnian (and other BCMS languages)

    Gdje je puno baba kilava su djeca.

    I believe that its literal translation would be "Where there are many midwives, the children are (born) with hernia".
    It is quite similar in Bulgarian: Много баби, хилаво дете. (Mnogo babi, hilavo dete. Approximate literal translation: Many grandmothers, a feeble child.)
     
    Almost the same. There seems to be a version in singular in BCMS too (gdje je puno baba kilavo je dijete) according to Google, but I haven't heard it personally.

    Baba also means an elderly woman or a grandmother in BCMS, but in this context I believe it was used as babica - primalja, "midwife", though I presume that is also related to the original meaning of baba. As for kilav(a/o), colloquially it often means "clumsy", at least where I live (Sarajevo), but for this translation "with hernia" (kila - hernia) made more sense to me.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I agree. Even if I myself understand BCMS texts someway, all non-Slavic members (who are the most numerous) would feel very uncomfortable, I believe. And even West Slavs, probably, too - I still remember a funny discussion about the phrase "what a..." in Polish and BCS, which indicated a great mutual misunderstanding...
     
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    I also find it much easier to understand Eastern Slavic languages than Western Slavic. I never really learned Russian to any significant degree (except a rather short overview for personal interest), so it's either because of loanwords (OCS into Russian and Russian into Southern Slavic languages) or due to different genetic evolution of ES and SS compared to WS. Since Western Slavic areas are located in much of what is supposed to be (pre)historic Slavic core lands, and dialects in the core lands tend to be more divergent than those on the periphery maybe that is the reason. Or both. Or none, maybe it's just me. :)
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    I agree. Even if I myself understand BCMS texts someway, all non-Slavic members (who are the most numerous) would feel very uncomfortable, I believe. And even West Slavs, probably, too - I still remember a funny discussion about the phrase "what a..." in Polish and BCS, which indicated a great mutual misunderstanding...
    Can you give a link to this discussion? I also hope that the last posts won't be simply deleted for being completely off topic.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Can you give a link to this discussion? I also hope that the last posts won't be simply deleted for being completely off topic.
    Here you are. :) The language was Croatian, though, but here it really doesn't matter, I suppose.
    I also find it much easier to understand Eastern Slavic languages than Western Slavic.
    Even I found South Slavic languages much more easy to understand than West Slavic! :) And that's despite of some Polish-Russian and Russian-Polish loanwords, and despite of Ukrainian and Belarusian languages which serve as linguistic bridges between Polish and Russian languages.

    Actually, the role of (Old) Church Slavonic was great for the Russian language and hardly can be overestimated. Until XVIII century the Church Slavonic was a literary language of Russia; furthermore, the Bible existed only in its Church Slavonic version. It can be compared only with the role of Latin in medieval Romance-speaking countries of Europe. But different branches of Slavic languages were ~500 years younger, and that probably led Church Slavonic to suppress the further divergence more efficiently.
     

    kudikamo

    Senior Member
    croata/ hrvatski (štokavski, ijekavica)
    In Bosnian (and other BCMS languages)

    Gdje je puno baba kilava su djeca.

    I believe that its literal translation would be "Where there are many midwives, the children are (born) with hernia".
    Također se kaže, u dalmatinskoj inačici hrvatskog:
    "Puno baba, kilava dica."
    Samo što ne mislim da ovdje "kilav" upućuje na "herniu", već prema Anićevom rječniku hrv. jezika:

    KILAV= 2. (razgovorno, pejorativno): nesposoban za što, neokretan, usporen u kretnjama i odlukama
     

    Angel.Aura

    del Mod, solo L'aura
    Italian
    I can't recall any Italian saying involving midwives.
    We have a different saying for this kind of situation.
    Troppi galli a cantare, non si fa mai giorno = Too many roosters crowing, and the day will never break.
     
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    Također se kaže, u dalmatinskoj inačici hrvatskog:
    "Puno baba, kilava dica."
    Samo što ne mislim da ovdje "kilav" upućuje na "herniu", već prema Anićevom rječniku hrv. jezika:

    KILAV= 2. (razgovorno, pejorativno): nesposoban za što, neokretan, usporen u kretnjama i odlukama
    Da, napomenuo sam i ja to poslije Orlinu, samo mi je više smisla imalo "puno babica pri porodu - defektno dijete", nego "nespretno dijete". Čini se da Rusi također u svojoj verziji imaju defektnost (bez oka). Znam da ovo defektno ovdje grozno zvuči.

    I možda važnije, kilav kako i sam rječnik kaže je razgovorni oblik i pitanje je koliko je uopće star? Sad bi bilo zgodno imati pristup nekom pretraživom korpusu literature i vidjeti kad se pojavljuje ova poslovica a kad kilav u značenju nesposoban/neokretan. Znam da meni kilav u značenju nesposoban djeluje toliko slengovski da ga ne bih upotrijebio osim u veoma neformalnom govoru.
     
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    szivike

    Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you all for your answers, interesing findings.
    DenisBiH could you please translate your message into English? I'm interested in your answer but sadly I don't understand it.
     

    kudikamo

    Senior Member
    croata/ hrvatski (štokavski, ijekavica)
    LATIN: Multorum opere res turbantur.
    ENG: Too many cooks spoil the broth.
    GERMAN: Viele Koche verdeben den Brei.
    IT: I troppi cuochi guastano la cucina.
    FR: Trop de cuisiniers gatent le potage (ou, la sauce).

    SOURCE:
    Pavao Mikić & Danica Škarica. Konstrastivni rječnik poslovica. Zagreb: August Cesarec, 1992: pp.1-2.
     
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    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    Također se kaže, u dalmatinskoj inačici hrvatskog:
    "Puno baba, kilava dica."
    Samo što ne mislim da ovdje "kilav" upućuje na "herniu", već prema Anićevom rječniku hrv. jezika:

    KILAV= 2. (razgovorno, pejorativno): nesposoban za što, neokretan, usporen u kretnjama i odlukama
    Btw, sećam se da bugarska poslovica koju sam naveo ima varijantu s келяво umesto хилаво. Mislim da je келяв gotovo identično BCMS kilav.
     

    Lamb67

    Senior Member
    China/Mandarin
    In Chinese,when three monks live togehther,they would starve.

    Only one monk, no problem,
    Two, ok they are sharing,
    Three, argument,argument,argument.
     

    Trauer

    Member
    Polish
    Polish: Gdzie kucharek sześć, tam nie ma co jeść (Where's 6 female-cooks, there's nothing to eat).
    Finnish: Mitä useampi kokki, sitä huonompi soppa (The more cooks the worse sauce/pottage).
     
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