Lamenting about a lost chance

franknagy

Senior Member
Gentle Russian Scholars:

What do you say if somebody is lamenting about a lost chance?


I know only this one in Russian:
"Если бы, да кабы, во рту росли грибы."
[M. I. Dubrovin: A book of Russian idioms illustrated.]
Dubrovinidioms.jpg

I think there must be other variants, from light to rough ones.

Like the series translated from Hungarian:
1. Stop it. New game follows.
2. If this "if" were not there.
3. If my grandmother had had wheels then she would have been the omnibus.
4. If the dog had not been shitting he would have caught the hare.
5. If Aunt Julia had had eggs she would have been Uncle John.

I am waiting for amusing products of the Russian soul.

Regards
Frank
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    "Если бы, да кабы, во рту росли грибы."
    [M. I. Dubrovin: A book of Russian idioms illustrated.]
    Are you sure there is exactly this variant in that book?
    At least more popular (and logical) one is: Если бы, да кабы́, да во рту росли грибы (бобы), то был бы не рот, а целый огород.
     

    learnerr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Gentle Russian Scholars:

    What do you say if somebody is lamenting about a lost chance?
    Not a scholar. Yet I'd tell you that the one you brought as an example is not about a lost chance, but about a chance that you never had, since it is just impossible. Think of talking about these things as a peculiarity of the Russian souls (indeed, they are numerous ;) ).

    Maroseika: ну и не складно! The rhythmical version is: "... то тогда бы был не рот, а был бы целый огород".
     
    Last edited:

    learnerr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Too many бы-бы to my taste.
    Exactly, they are emphasised. ;) One rule of good style is that no rule of good style should be applied everywhere, except the one that tells to find ways for achieving one's communication goals, and be sure those goals are noble ones... As for "looks" — I don't know, I heard only my version, and only with "грибы": as I see it now, it sacrifices logic for beauty, underlining the esthetics of absurd. But, in fact of my experience, most often the second part is just omitted and left implicit.
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    Hi Marosheika:
    Are you sure there is exactly this variant in that book?
    At least more popular (and logical) one is: Если бы, да кабы́, да во рту росли грибы (бобы), то был бы не рот, а целый огород.
    Yes the book contained the shorter variant. Thank you for the extended version.
    The book itself is very amusing. It contains 594 numbered Russian idioms in alpabetical order with
    • Cyrillic original
    • English pronunciation
    • Word by word translation
    • Sense
    • Corresponding English idiom
    • Funny image of word by word screne in red and black
    • Funny image of sense in more colors.

    I am still eager to read other idioms used for the similar educational aim.

    Regards
    Frank
     

    learnerr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I am still eager to read other idioms used for the similar educational aim.
    I don't think there are any of the similar sense. This proverb is a very specific art work. The closest I can think of, but still very far, is: "Авось да небось до добра не доведут" ("Lots of ifs won't help to get good"). The moral is the same: don't hope for what is impossible or unlikely. The difference is, the mushroom proverb is about what is impossible, the avoss proverb is about what is unlikely.
     

    Saluton

    Banned
    Russian
    Если бы да кабы, да во рту росли грибы is usually shortened in speech to если бы да кабы.
    There is a rude proverb with the same sense: если бы у бабушки был хуй :warn: (были усы / были яйца), она была бы дедушкой. Not really an example of the Russian soul's wonderful imagery, as you can see, but it's popular because it's rude.
    I'm not sure what this thread has to do with lamenting about a lost chance, though. Those expressions starting with если бы are usually used as a mocking reply to someone who says something serious starting with если бы.
    P.S. I have another illustrated book by Dubrovin, A Collection of Idioms in Five Languages. Not a bad book, either.
     
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    igusarov

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I'm not sure what this thread has to do with lamenting about a lost chance, though.
    Indeed! All the sayings in the original question can be used if someone was making unrealistic assumptions, which can't obviously happen. For example, if someone said: "If I had an immovable place to stand on and a stick of infinite length, then I'd lift the Earth". The sayings would fit this context just fine, but this context hardly involves lamenting, and definitely doesn't involve any lost chance.

    What do you say if somebody is lamenting about a lost chance?
    I think the following sayings would do:

    "поезд ушёл" ~= "milk is spilled".
    "дело уже сделано" = "it's a done deal", "harm is done".
    "сделанного не воротишь" = "what's done can't be undone".
    "задним умом все сильны" ~= "it's easy to be wise, if the things were done twice", "it's easy to be wise after the event".
    "раньше надо было думать" = "thinking should've come first".

    There are several sayings, suitable for situations when someone is going to do things too late, after the chance is already gone. They are not exactly about lamenting, more like about trying to catch on with a lost chance. To my mind the difference between these two group of sayings is very subtle.

    "поздно пить боржоми" ~= "too late to take the medicine".
    "после драки кулаками не машут" ~= "no fighting after the brawl is over".
     

    Slavianophil

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I like igusarov's suggestions better than the proverbs starting with 'Если бы да кабы..." Of course, it is my personal impression, but to me those "Если бы да кабы" expressions sound nice but somewhat old-fashioned. I don't here them around much. What I hear most often are "поезд ушёл", "после драки кулаками не машут" and "поздно пить боржоми". They are informal and come natural to a native speaker.

    I also agree with igusarov's remark: "All the sayings in the original question can be used if someone was making unrealistic assumptions, which can't obviously happen. For example, if someone said: "If I had an immovable place to stand on and a stick of infinite length, then I'd lift the Earth". The sayings would fit this context just fine, but this context hardly involves lamenting, and definitely doesn't involve any lost chance." But your Hungarian proverbs about grandmothers - "If my grandmother had had wheels then she would have been the omnibus" - and the other one have the same meaning as the Russian "Если бы да кабы..." ones. If you need them I could add another one to your collection: "Кабы на цветы да не морозы, и зимой бы цветы расцветали" - it is a rarely used one, but poetic and nice, originally the first line from an old song. Or still another: "Если бы у бабушки бородушка росла, то был бы дедушка." But most natural one would be to say "Если бы да кабы!" without adding anything.
     

    learnerr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I like igusarov's suggestions better than the proverbs starting with 'Если бы да кабы..." Of course, it is my personal impression, but to me those "Если бы да кабы" expressions sound nice but somewhat old-fashioned. I don't here them around much.
    I would agree. Proverbs are works of art rather than pieces of actual speech. They get sometimes quoted or imitated ("Ой, если бы да кабы!.."), but seldom completely cited: the times of wisdom are not here. :) The one about the mushrooms is mostly used to tease children, I think. And this way children get to know some of the lore.
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    Hello Everybody!
    Если бы да кабы, да во рту росли грибы is usually shortened in speech to если бы да кабы.
    There is a rude proverb with the same sense: если бы у бабушки был хуй ! (были усы / были яйца), она была бы дедушкой. Not really an example of the Russian soul's wonderful imagery, as you can see, but it's popular because it's rude.
    I'm not sure what this thread has to do with lamenting about a lost chance, though. Those expressions starting with если бы are usually used as a mocking reply to someone who says something serious starting with если бы.
    P.S. I have another illustrated book by Dubrovin, A Collection of Idioms in Five Languages. Not a bad book, either.
    The taboo words obey to the same grammatical rules and they are widely used in proverbs. I am not happy that they are excluded from dictionaries and treaties.
    Igusarov said:
    Saluton "поезд ушёл" ~= "milk is spilled".
    The vehicles invented in the new and the newest age became productive elements of the language.
    The expression "парoход ушёл" means in Hungarian
    a) "milk is spilled" as above,
    b) ejaculatio precox.

    The "shit in the fan" is based a very good observation what happens with a soft material in the a spinning force field and how can it poison the air of a big room.
    The "парашютист" means at us a usually stupid man who was fallen from a ministry or party center to e.g. the job the dean of a university instead of worthy local competitors. Is it a very good picture, isn't it?

    The rude and unpolite man "goes like a tank" in a crowd.

    The teacher who reveals pupils using scrib has "X-ray eyes".

    Let me stop there.

    Thanks for the references.

    Regards
    Frank.
     

    Solle

    Senior Member
    Russian
    To the above-mentioned, one can add:

    "Ложка к обеду хороша" (Lit. 'it would have been wiser to bring the spoon for dinner'). This is appropriate when someone fulfills the task carefully but too late.
     
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