Translating slang terms

In today’s “Baldo” comic strip, little Gracie tries to convince her father to take her to a local carnival. Her “papi” lists the reasons not to go; but in the last panel they’re there, and he says happily, “They’re FUN!”
In an ordinary strip, which I clip and paste in a scrapbook, I would add my comment, “You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, Sergio!” But, because if the nature of the strip, I wanted to add an equivalent comment in Spanish instead. Anyone know an equivalent for the “whistlin’ Dixie” comment, in Spanish?

I’m sorry, I don’t, but that’s idiom, not slang

“You ain’t just whistling Dixie” is an English expression that would be understood in only one of the many countries where English is spoken, and a Jamaican or a Zimbabwean or a New Zealander or a Scot would have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Similarly, of the 20 or so countries on four continents that speak Spanish, each of them would have a unique expression, what would not be understood by other Spanish speakers. Very likely, there is no idiom that would be “Spanish”, as opposed to Argentine or Honduran, that would correlate to the meaning you are looking for.

Well, the Bermudez family in “Baldo” is Mexican-American; I suppose one could limit it to that version of Spanish.

What does it mean, anyway?

In a negative sentence like that of the OP, it might be equivalent to “That is so true” or any other type of affirmation of what was said before.

In Spanish, one might say “Estás en lo cierto, Sergio” or :“Llevas toda la razón, Sergio”, or “Nada más cierto, Sergio” or “Es la pura verdad, Sergio” although those do not approach being idiomatic expressions as in “whistling dixie.”

It means to have unrealistic, rosy memories of a past time. It is from the song “Dixie” or “Dixie’s Land” which originated before the American Civil War and was unofficially adopted by the Confederacy. It is about a freed slave who misses the plantation where he was born and is nostalgic for his youth even though objectively he is better off as a free man. So, idiomatically, “You ain’t just whistling ‘Dixie.’” means you are telling some kind of obvious truth.

Lyrics to “Dixie” (first verse and chorus)

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin’.
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie Land I’ll take my stand,
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
Away, away, away down south in Dixie!

¡Gracias! Even though those are not exact translations, I think Cantú and Castellano would probably accept at least one of those. :slight_smile:

Making sure I understand :

This is “whistling dixie”

And this is not “whistling dixie”
Right?

Yes. I think I was a bit vague, but you understand it correctly.

An expresion which would be more idiomatic but I don’t know possible extensions:

Hola, Pero Grullo… (from the expression, la verdad de Pero Grullo, que a la mano cerrada la llama puño - Pero Grullo’s truth, a closed hand he calls a fist - used to indicate that you’re stating the obvious; also from this expression, an obvious thing is called a perogrullada).

From the sarcastic department:

Cuida no te duela la cabeza (careful, don’t give yourself a headache).

¿Te hizo falta ir a la universidad? (Did you need to go to college for that?).

Me has matado (lit. “you’ve killed me”, actually “holy shit, I would never have thought of that!”; it isn’t always sarcastic but in this case it could be taken as such).

Another from the non-sarcastic side:

Totalmente de acuerdo. (I completely agree).

Gracias otra vez.

Huh. I never got the slave connection. As it was written by a Northerner, and it’s a nostalgic song of the South, I’ve always thought it was a White Southerner who found himself in the North and wanted to go home. Somehow, I never heard (or it never registered) that the song is from a blackface minstrel show – which would have been a dead giveaway.

Two ways this is wrong:

What white man from the slave south talks about his masser? It is always worth checking out the lyrics.

What white man from the south talks in that dialect? Poor whites made damn sure not to sound like whiggers when slavery was a recent memory, and probably still do now.

¡Qué lástima! :frowning:

And there are many other idioms in use in the US that relate directly to the (US) Civil War and that may not be very recognizable outside the US, or possibly even outside the historical areas where the Civil War took place. Examples:

  1. Describing a march or push forward as being “Like Sherman”, “Like Sherman’s march on Atlanta”, “Like Sherman in Georgia” or similar. Implies a no-holds-barred, total war, win at all costs plow to victory that is arguably a little too aggressive under the circumstances.

  2. Describing someone as a “Stonewall”. Refers obviously to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who received his nickname during particularly intensive fighting in Northern Virginia.

  3. Referring to the US Government as “The Union”.

The point is not the (admittedly racist) lyrics of “Dixie”; it’s the tune.

“Dixie” is a simple catchy tune that anyone can whistle. “You ain’t just whistling Dixie” means “you make a good point.”

    1. Admittedly, I’ve only heard it in a movie or two–and I’m an American, Yankee–but that is what it boils down to. Even among most Americans I’d bet.

This is incorrect. As others have stated, “You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie!” means “You are so right!” Idioms with the same meaning include “Ain’t that the truth!” "You said it, brother!’ and “Don’t I know it!”

True dat. (2 posts within 5 minutes!)
You can take that to the bank.
ETA: Word.