Some Kazakh Proverbs for All Seasons

The following proverbs are from my friend Erik who has spent over a decade living in Kazakhstan and puzzling over Kazakh language and its culture. Naturally, one can learn much from the Kazakh people’s distilled wisdom in knowledgeable sound bites, they are for “all seasons.”

Even gold is not of value, if one has a lot of it.

The phrase “a lot” is an indication that this is an interpretation. Most likely this is a translation of the proverb, “Gold in one’s hand is not valued.”

Another one: No one born can escape death.

I think is the proverb “For the one with a soul – one death.”

Here is an example of a translation from Kazakh to Russian and then to English alongside my translation:

From the translated novel The Nomads

It is only known that even a snake will come out of its hole, if you call it politely, and one can kill a man’s faith in Allah with one angry word.” (Yesenberlin 2000: 388)

If you speak gentle words, the snake will be drawn out; if you speak harsh words it will drive the Muslim from his faith. Jılı-jılı söyleceŋ, jılan ininen shıġadı, qattı-qattı söylese, musılman dininen shıġadı.

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