Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I wanted to look at proverbs from contrasting cultures as opposed to looking at ones from somewhere in Europe.  Most proverbs mean the same thing in one culture to another, however, its interesting to look at the language used and the style of the proverb according to each country etc.

Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Population: 1,014,003,817 (July 2000 est.) - Capital: New Delhi
Ethnics Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%
Languages: Hindi is primary tongue of 30% of people; Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, & Sanskrit are also official; English is important for political & commerce
Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5%, other 0.4%
Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.

A person consists of his faith. Whatever is his faith, even so is he.
Don't bargain for fish which are still in the water.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
The cobra will bite you whether you call it cobra or Mr. Cobra.

 Swahili, also called Kiswahili, is a Bantu language primarily of Eastern Africa. The dialect spoken in Zanzibar Town (kiUnjuga) was chosen as the basis for the Swahili to be used in publishing and education throughout East Africa. In addition to creative writing, there has been a long tradition of historical writing in Swahili, antedating the colonial era. In more recent times, linguistic studies and a body of literary criticism in the language have begun to develop and grow.

There are three things which if one does not know, one cannot live long in the world: what is too much for one, what is too little for one, and what is just right for one.Aiming isn't hitting.Don't plant a seed in the sea.If you destroy a bridge, be sure you can swim.A fly does not mind dying in coconut cream.
Location: Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Population: 21,793,293 (July 2000 est.) - Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Ethnics Groups: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 26%, Indian 7%, others 9%
Languages: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai;
Religions: Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia
He who has learned how to steal, must learn how to hang.A fool is like the big drum that beats fast but does not realize its hollowness.To bend a bamboo, start when it is a shoot.Do not measure another man's coat on your body.The turtle lays thousands of eggs without anyone knowing, but when the hen lays an egg, the whole country is informed.

Palestinian Culture 
Background: Palestinian religious beliefs between 3000 and 300 BC are usually defined by the languages of those who practiced them: e.g., Amorite, Hurrian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Moabite. Knowledge of the religions of these groups is very uneven. Only from the city-state of Ugarit (14th-13th centuries BC) is there a wide range of religious expression.

You will not dare mistreat the face you see in the morning.Away from the eye, away from the mind.IF only I were a bird! Ah, but eating caterpillars?Sell what you have bought while the dust is still on your shoes.Whatever is written on the forehead is always seen.

Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US
Population: 100,349,766 (July 2000 est.) - Capital: Mexico
Ethnics Groups: Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
Religions: Nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen.
Never ask God to give you anything; ask Him to put you where things are.
He who strikes first, strikes twice.
It's not enough to know how to ride -- you must also know how to fall.
Envious persons never compliment, they only swallow.


Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique
Population: 35,306,126 - Capital: Dar es Salaam
Ethnics Groups: Mainland - native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, native African, mixed Arab and native African
Languages: Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
Religions: Mainland - Christian 45%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 20%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim
We start as fools and become wise through experience
The roaring lion kills no game
Do not make the dress before the child is born
Events follow one another like the days of the week
Do not mend your neighbours fence before seeing your own

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