Archive for August 3, 2008

Proverbs from Around the World

When I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in northern Virginia for three years, I had students from all over the globe.  However, during that time from 1995-1998, I do not recall having any students from Kazakhstan.  Perhaps Kazakhs were still dealing with many issues back in their home country after being under communism for 70 years.  I wonder how many of the samples of proverbs I got from my ESL students from around the world during that time, would fit with Kazakh proverbs.  The world would be a richer place if only we knew even 10 per cent of Kazakh proverbs.  Try to figure out the meanings of the following proverbs:

Vietnam – “Near the ink, you will be black, near the lamp, you will be bright.”


Thailand – “Love your cow, have to tie it; love your children, have to discipline.”


Eritrea – “The person who tries to get butter from water and the person who needs good things from his enemy is the same.”


Argentina – “The devil knows more from being old than from being devil.”


Taiwan – “When God wants a man to be a great one, He will exhaust his mind, exercise his body and take all the things he has.”


Peru – “Each person dances with his own handkerchief.”


Brazil – “When you pass away, your body will lie in a coffin and your tongue in a wagon.”


Korea – “Three inches of tongue can kill the righteous man.”


Ethiopia – “A tongue doesn’t have teeth, but it can break another’s bones.”


Iran – “An egg thief will be a camel thief.”


China – “Clumsy birds have to start flying early.”


United Arab Emirates – “Whoever wants honey should keep up with the bee’s sting.”


Guatemala – “Eyes that don’t see make a senseless heart.”


Japan – “Monkeys fall from the tree too.”


Vietnam – “If the mandarin (orange) skin is thick, there will be a sharpened nail to pierce it.”


El Salvador – “Fish and visitor smell in three days.”


El Salvador – “The habit don’t make the monk.”

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