Henry and Marta – “El que no llora no mama”

Henry:   So good to see you again, Marta. I have been looking forward to our meeting. I was going over my notes about dogs and then I realized I had written down many expressions we did not have time to discuss when we last saw each other.

Marta:   I’m in no particular hurry, Henry, so just fire away.

Henry:   I am very fond of the expression “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.

Marta:   I can see why you would like that saying, you seem to be a very friendly chap. .. What’s so funny?

Henry:   I think it is amusing that you used the word “chap”.

Marta:   I know, but if had said you are a funny “guy”, I feel I would be insulting your European flair. Back to the back scratching. I would say the best translation for that is “hoy por vos, mañana por mí”. And I could go into “Ay, Esmeralda, ráscame la espalda”…

Henry:   What on earth is that?

Marta:   Oh, I don’t know, just a song my mother used to sing… I’m intrigued by your next expression.

Henry:   Yes, not one of my favourites, it seems quite uncouth. How would you translate “to bring home the bacon”?

Marta:   Ah, close in context to “to make ends meet”. I would say “to bring home the bacon” is “parar la olla” but I think it is a little old fashioned. Perhaps people would say “hay que pagar las cuentas”. And “to make ends meet” is “llegar a fin de mes”.

Henry:   Oh yes, sounds very familiar, I have often heard that here in Buenos Aires.

Marta:   Of course you have. And now for one of our most typical expressions: “el que no llora no mama”.

Henry:   Would that be something about a baby crying because he has no mother?

Marta:  No, Henry. The verb is “mama” with an accent on the first syllable, not “mamá” as in mother. And this is one of our national sports in Argentina. It means if you don’t cry/scream you will not get what you want.

Henry:   Splendid expression, quite frankly, and we do have an equivalent in English: “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.

Marta:  Dear Henry, we do more than squeak in these quarters of the world but I agree it is probably the best equivalent.

Henry:   Speaking of “bringing home the bacon”, I’m getting hungry.

Marta: That’s easy to solve. Let me call our waiter.  ¡Mozo! ¡Milanesas para todos!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ana
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 14:43:40

    … y el que no afana es un gil, como dice el tango. Como se lo explicas a Henry? jaja!

    Te tiro otra frase “genio y figura hasta la sepultura” (stiff upper lip??)


  2. Ana O'Reilly
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 15:40:02

    No, la verdad es que lo deduje pero no estoy segura, por eso te tire la propuesta 🙂


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