View Full Version : A Proverb

11-17-2008, 08:30 PM
I was thinking just now, there's this proverb that's very common in Swedish that I would like to apply to a short story in English, but I'm not sure whether it exists in any larger scale in English literature. It's an extremely minor matter, of course, but the core of the question is whether or not it is silly to say, "there's a Swedish proverb that says" or "Swedish people often say".

Either way, the proverb would roughly be translated as "don't throw stones in houses of glass" - slšng inte sten i glashus. While it holds little meaning on its own, it's often used to tell people to be very careful, or to argue against an action that's rash and/or unthoughtful. However, I'm really only interested in the definition itself, as it ties together with the visual description. Is there any proverbs, or anything similar, to do with houses of glass?

11-17-2008, 08:32 PM
Yep, the popular one in the English language, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

11-17-2008, 08:36 PM
We have the same proverb in english.

There are other ones that mean the same thing, like: "The Pot calling the Kettle black," hmm, I'm sure there are more, but thats the only one I can think of at the moment. "Don't dish it out if you can't take it," maybe.

And it isn't silly to say that, "The Swedish say;" "The Swedish have a saying;" "There's a Swedish Proverb;" etc. Its very common. Go for it.

11-17-2008, 08:59 PM
What I thought of was if I was just restating a common proverb, but as I had never heard of such in English, I was unsure what to do. Obviously I didn't want to spout proverbs nobody's heard of. But yeah, it obviously exists (come to think of it, my sister was right; I have heard of it), so I won't point it out as solely a Swedish proverb. I might still do something like "The Swedish say", but then again I'm not sure whether I want to brand the thing with a Swedish setting in the first place.

Thanks anyway!

11-17-2008, 11:17 PM
Actual, I'd suggest keeping both the "Swedish say" and the original translation. It may help with characterization, if nothing else...


11-18-2008, 01:16 AM
That is true, and it is an interesting idea. Only, I suppose, that the Swedish words look so ugly in my eyes. I never really came to peace with the whole "š" thing...

Either way, I'll try it that way as well.

11-18-2008, 01:45 AM
Be proud of your language. Nothing grows in bad soil.

As for your proverb, it's common enough in English that there was a TV show on Australian ABC for many years called 'The Glass House'. It was often introduced with a reference to the hosts being about to throw some stones...

Deb Kinnard
11-18-2008, 02:44 AM
It's so common in English, that you could have your character say at the right time, "Well, folks who live in glass houses...you know." It's instantly accessible to Americans and I'd guess Brits would know it just as well.

Var so god (I don't know the diacriticals for Swedish, though it's my gram's native language).