To count on / nasty jar

marcss

Member
Spain, Spanish
Hi there everyone!

I'd need to know whether the following sentence rings a bell to anyone of you, and if so, where do you think it comes from or how it's been "created".

It's been taken out of the comic Asterix (and the Roman Agent), and I can't find any idiom or saying really related to the whole or part of the sentence(s)/saying(s).

I know what it means but this is not important here. It's for a Semantics paper I'm about to finish.

Well, here it goes:

"Convulvulus (speaking):
Let’s not count on valuable vases... you might get a nasty jar!"

Many thanks in advance.

Marcss
 
  • Dlyons

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Hi there everyone!

    I'd need to know whether the following sentence rings a bell to anyone of you, and if so, where do you think it comes from or how it's been "created".

    "Convulvulus (speaking):
    Let’s not count on valuable vases... you might get a nasty jar!"

    Many thanks in advance.

    Marcss

    I don't know if this is what you want, but it's a play on words. It creates an opposition between "valuable vases" and
    "nasty jars" = "vasijas feas".

    If you depend on something being a "valuable vase" and it isn't you will get a "nasty jar" = "bad shock" = "va a chocarte".
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think the fun is on the play on words: a nasty jar could be a sharp, strong blow of some kind. Jarring effects probably affect the whole body, and not an isolated part, like a slap to the face, or a punch to the ribs.

    Fabulous vases and jars also are containers that hold something inside. The play contrasts fabulous vases and unpleasant, nasty jars.
     

    marcss

    Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Hello again, and thanks very much Dlyons and Txiri!

    Yes, you're right it's a funny wordplay.

    Anyway, what I wondered is whether there exists in English a saying or proverb which is similar to what Convulvulus says... kind of "Don't count your chickens before they hatch", which has the verb "to count" on it... that's what I need to know, but it seems to be completely an invention of the translator.

    And yes, a "nasty jar" could be something like a "jarro de agua fria"

    Best and thanks again.
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, of course there is the counting chickens saying, a variant of the milk maid who plans on how she'll spend the money before she even gets it to market, and then spills it. (Don't cry over spilled milk = Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho.)

    Counting chickens is the only one that occurs to me right now. Have you done a search for similar sayings?
     

    NotTheDoctor

    Senior Member
    Español - English - Français
    Txiri, "Don't cry over spilled milk" does not mean the same as "Del dicho al hecho hay un gran trecho", which is closer in meaning to "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip".

    Back to Asterix, in the Spanish version the sentence used is "Haced el favor de no vender la piel del jabalí antes de haberlo matado".
     

    SydLexia

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Just two things:

    There almost definitely a connection with the picture - he's only "counting on vases" because there are vases involved somehow. I don't have this Asterix, could you confirm?

    The 'original' is already a translation (from French) so you are translating previously-translated wordplay. It is also possible that the original joke (in French) was entirely different and difficult to translate and that the English version is a little forced.

    And a question:

    You seen to be asking for a phrase in English like "Don't count your chickens..." with the word 'count'... Surely the point is that this phrase already exists (and a similar phrase in French, possibly) but that here they are talking about vases not chickens. Am I being dense here?


    saludos

    Syd
     

    NotTheDoctor

    Senior Member
    Español - English - Français
    Yes, there are vases involved. There isn't actually a vase in this particular picture, but they are talking about vases.
    However, the Spanish version is a "faithful" translation of the original French "Dites, ne vendez tout de même pas la peau du sanglier avant de l'avoir tué ! "
    To the mods, I apologize for using French in the Spanish-English forum, I thought it was relevant.
     

    marcss

    Member
    Spain, Spanish
    Yes, it's correct. There are vases involved, that's why in the English version the translators decided to go on with the idea of the vases and not of the "sanglier" as in the other versions...
    By the way, NotTheDoctor, the original saying talks about a "bear" (ours) instead of the "sanglier" which is the Gauls favourite food, and maybe it's not an animal English people like or know very much (?).

    Yes, I've done some (quite) research on sayings, but it doesn't seem to be anyone like the one I posted about...,with some changes, like Txiri says the chikens saying is a variant of the milk maid one..., and what matters to me here for a Semantics paper.

    Syd, the doubt was about the phrase Convulvulus says: "Let’s not count on valuable vases... you might get a nasty jar!", where there is a wordplay, as explained by Txiri and Dlyons..., and which to me (if there's not an English saying similar to it) seems to be a complete creation of the translators in the English version.

    In my opinion it's a great one, although they do not follow the original French, because in English ther also exist the saying "Don't sell the skin till you have caught the bear", am I right here?

     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    A bit reminiscent of "A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush" v. "Mas vale pajaro en mano que cien volando."
     

    SydLexia

    Senior Member
    UK English
    So, yes, I was being dense... Nothing new there.

    Actually I have never heard the "Don't sell the skin..." version in the UK, although it is easily understandable. A little googling with quotes shows that "don't sell the skin" occurs but seems to point mainly to other languages, and to a classical fable.

    Just for interest, what is the 'second joke' in the original? "You might get bitten" ??

    saludos

    Syd
     

    NotTheDoctor

    Senior Member
    Español - English - Français
    There is no second joke in the original version I'm afraid. It's funny because instead of the traditional "peau de l'ours" he says "la peau du sanglier". Actually, the do this often in Astérix. They take a tradional, widely known saying or expression and they replace a word with something more closely related to the world of Astérix.
     
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