Negotiation 

Croatian:Ne možeš imati i jare i pare. You can’t have both the lamb and the money.
Also, Vuk sit, ovce na broju – The wolf is full, the sheep are all accounted for.

Various expressions are used to convey similar idioms in other languages:

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

You cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it. Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. 

Albanian: (Te hysh ne uje e te mos lagesh) – To take a swim and not get wet.

Bosnian: Ne možeš imati i jare i pare. You can’t have both the lamb and the money.

Chinese: 鱼与熊掌,不可兼得。You can’t have both the fish and the bear’s paw. (Bear’s paw is considered a delicacy in ancient China.)

Danish: Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden – You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth. Or Danish: Man kan ikke få både i pose og (i) sæk – You can’t get both in bag and (in) sack.

Dutch: Je moet kiezen of delen – You have to choose or partition. This is based on Dutch civil law where in a division of property one person divides the property in two parts and the other person chooses the part he likes most.

French: Vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre – to want the butter and the money from (selling) the butter. The idiom can be emphasized by adding et le sourire de la crémière (“and the smile of the (female) buttermaker”). In familiar context, “the smile” can be replaced by “the daughter” (et la fille de la crémière). In vulgar context, “the smile” is often replaced by “the ass” (et le cul de la crémière).

German: Wasch mir den Pelz, aber mach mich nicht nass – wash my fur but don’t get me wet. Also, Man kann nicht auf zwei Hochzeiten tanzen – one cannot dance at two weddings (at the same time).

Swiss German: Du chasch nit dr Füfer und s Weggli ha – you can’t have the five cent coin and a bread roll.

Greek: Και την πίτα ολόκληρη και τον σκύλο χορτάτο – you want the entire pie and the dog full.

Gujarati: બે હાથમાં લાડુ હોવા – having Laddu in both your hands.

Hebrew: אי אפשר לאכול את העוגה ולהשאיר אותה שלמה‎‎ – you can’t eat the cake and keep it whole.

Hungarian: Olyan nincs, hogy a kecske is jól lakjon, és a káposzta is megmaradjon – It is impossible that the goat has enough to eat and the cabbage remains as well. Also, Egy fenékkel nem lehet két lovat megülni – It is impossible to ride two horses with one butt. (The meaning is similar to the Russian translation.)

Icelandic: Það er ekki hægt að bæði halda og sleppa – You can’t have and have not at the same time. Also: Bágt er að blása og hafa mjöl í munni. – You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth.

Italian: Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca – to have the barrel full and the wife drunk.

Kannada: ಅಕ್ಕಿ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಸೆ, ನೆಂಟರ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ – Desire over rice, love over relatives.

Malayalam: കക്ഷത്തിലുള്ളത് പോകാനും പാടില്ല ഉത്തരത്തിലുള്ളത് വേണം താനും! – You want both the one on the roof, and the one in your armpit.

Nepali: दुवै हातमा लड्डु – having laddu (a sweet candy) in both your hands.

Norwegian: Man kan ikke få både i pose og sekk – You can’t get both in bag and sack.

Papiamento: Skohe of lag’i skohe – choose or let choose.

Pashto: Dawara ghaaray ma wahaa‎ – You can not be on both sides.

Persian: هم خدا را خواستن و هم خرما را‎‎ – wanting both God and the sugar-dates.

Polish: Zjeść ciastko i mieć ciastko – To eat the cookie and have the cookie.

Portuguese: Querer ter sol na eira e chuva no nabal – Wanting the sun to shine on the threshing floor, while it rains on the turnip field.

Brazil: tentar assobiar e chupar cana – Trying to whistle while chewing on sugar cane.

Romanian: Nu poți împăca și capra și varza – You can’t reconcile the goat and the cabbage. Also, Și cu tigaia unsă și cu slănina în pod – To have the pan greased and the lard in the attic (or the more vulgar version: Şi cu dânsa-ntr-însa, şi cu sufletu-n rai – To have ‘it’ in ‘it’ and the soul in heaven.)

Russian: И рыбку съесть, и в воду не лезть – wanting to eat a fish without first catching it from the waters.

Serbian: Не можеш да имаш и јаре и паре – You can’t have both goatling and money, and Не можеш сести с једним дупетом на две столице – You can’t sit on two chairs with one butt.

Spanish: Querer estar en Misa y en procesión – wishing to be both at Mass and in the procession, and estar en Misa y repicando (or estar en Misa y tocar la campana – to be both at Mass and in the belfry, bell-ringing. estar en el plato y a las tajadas.

Argentina: la chancha y los veinte – the pig and the twenties. (Comes from the old piggybanks for children that used to contain coins of 20 cents. The only way to get the coins was to break the piggybank open – hence the phrase. This can be emphasized by adding y la máquina de hacer chorizos – and the machine to make sausage.

Tamil: மீசைக்கும் ஆசை கூழுக்கும் ஆசை – desire to have both the moustache and to drink the soup.

Turkish: Ne yardan geçer, ne serden. – Neither giving up one’s lover nor one’s self.

Vietnamese: Bắt cá hai tay. – You catch fish with two hands.

Welsh: Allwch chi mo’i chael hi bob ffordd. – You can’t have it every way. Also, Allwch chi ddim cadw torth a’i bwyta hi – You can’t keep a loaf and eat it.


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Just how do you convert your information into something really useful? Something that people would pay money for. How do you turn your passion, whatever it may be, into an income stream? Turns out that all you really need to do is simply realise when you have an ‘edge’. They don’t come around often, but when you find one, you need to act on your edge as fast as you can to exploit it, to get the most from it. I’ll illustrate with an anecdote that really brought it home to me.

There was a tribe in the Amazon Rainforest where everybody in the settlement was still ‘bartering’. There was a lot of harmony and everybody was working with what they had and trying to make the best of things.

One individual, let’s call her ‘Jane’, was not quite like the rest of the tribe. Through no fault of her own, Jane didn’t make or produce anything that anybody needed. Jane wanted to become a contributing member of the tribe though, so that she could feel more a part of it, as opposed to being dependent on it all the time. From speaking with a neighbouring tribe member, Jane had heard that they had a shortage of lambs; nobody else in Jane’s tribe knew this.

The following day, she announced to her tribe that if they were willing to take a risk on her, she’d take 12 lambs from them and that she would return with 14 calves. The current bartering ‘rules’ were 1 Lamb = 1 Calf… so this proposal was (not without an element of scepticism) accepted by the rest of her tribe. Eventually they agreed to give her their lambs in the belief that they would profit from the venture.

Jane then visited the other settlement and negotiated with them. They agreed to give her 16 calves and 8 chickens for her 12 lambs. Jane then came back to her tribe and gave them 14 calves, as promised. The tribe were delighted.

Jane now had 2 calves and 8 chickens for herself. Not bad for a day’s work. More notably, from that day forward the tribe members went to Jane every week, so that they could multiply the fruits of their labour, as they saw it. Jane continues doing what she does, and everybody remains happy in both tribes.

Jane does not produce any tangible goods in her tribe, but she has created something?

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(CC) 2016 Tysilyn Fernandez

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