"crookednes" of the courtyard

Ghanshyam Sharma sharmave at UNIVE.IT
Thu Oct 22 13:50:06 UTC 1998

Almost all Hindi dialects have this proverb, though the following form has
become somewhat "standard" in written Hindi:

naac na jaane (aave) aaNgan TeRHaa.

Some other dialectal variants are:

naac = naacibau, nacibo
na = naa, nii, kuNi, koni
jaane = jaaNe
aave = aabe, aabai
aaNgan = aNgnaa, aaNgnaa, aaNgaN
TeRHaa = TeRHo, TeDo, TaiRHyo, TeDyo etc.

(randomly arranged)

Like all proverbs this one too may have different meanings according to the
context in which it is used. Nevertheless, I will stick with the "ordinary"
meaning of the proverb, i.e.:

One (she/he/they/you) doesn't know how to dance, yet blames the
"crookedness" of the courtyard.

(I don't know if it makes any sense in English.)

At 07.54 22/10/98 -0400, Frances Pritchett wrote:
>I've heard the Hindi/Urdu counterpart as
>naach na aave aaNgan TeRH
>This is a neat proverb because you can read it two ways:
>If you don't know how to dance, you contrive an alibi by falsely blaming
>the "crookedness" of the courtyard.  (I think this is the more obvious
>If you don't know how to dance, your clumsiness makes you truly experience
>the courtyard as one that IS crooked.
>Or maybe I am just over-reading it... :)

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