Born, not made

The Spanish, making progress with a backlog of untranslated English snowclones?

Ray Girvan has delivered examples going back three centuries of one of the English language’s best-known snowclones. The cliché that Spain does everything 30 years after Britain is less fecund, and it’s pleasing to note that we southerners appear to be catching up: the first Spanish “nace * no se hace” seems to be from 1805, almost exactly a century after his first find. Unlike the English, the Spanish rhymes, and with “poeta nascitur non fit” more obviously accessible to Romance-speakers it’s rather disappointing not to find earlier examples.

The French (“naît * ne se fait pas”) does also sweetly chime, but they only get going 30-odd years after their Iberian partners in rhyme. The notion that Spain was to France then as Britain is to Spain now, with Charles Nodier bringing smart sayings as well as colourful anecdotes back over the Pyrenees, is quite disturbing. Perhaps Zapatero really will bail out Greece.

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  1. So is “shaken, not stirred” a distant snowclone of “born, not made”?

  2. Sounds reasonable to me. “Shaken, not stirred” is surely Ian Fleming/James Bond’s way of championing traditional, vigorous vs modern, thoughtful sex.

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