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Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Proverbs, both French & Spanish

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It's always enlightening to learn some proverbs of other cultures. I find that these nuggets of folk wisdom are very similar across cultures. Since they reflect on human nature they are bound to be similar. Enjoy.

French Proverbs
C'est le ton qui fait la chanson.
o Literal meaning: It's the melody that makes the song.
o Idiomatic translation: It's not what you say but the way you say it.

Cherchez la femme.
o Literal meaning: Look for the woman.
o Idiomatic translation: A woman is probably at the heart of the quarrel.

Dis-moi qui tu hantes, je te dirai qui tu es.
o Idiomatic translation: A man is known by the company he keeps.
o Literal meaning: Tell me whom you haunt and I will tell you who you are.

Il faut qu'une porte soit ouverte ou fermée.
o Idiomatic translation: There can be no middle ground.
o Literal meaning: A door must be either open or shut.

Ventre affamé n'a pas d'oreilles.
o Idiomatic translation: Words are wasted on a starving man.
o Literal meaning: The hungry belly has no ears.

Find more at Wikipedia

Spanish Proverbs
Justicia cosa muy buena, pero no en mi casa en la ajena. (Cuba)
Idiomatic translation: Justice is a good thing, only not in my house, but in my neighbor's.

La envidia sigue al m´e;rito, como la sombra al cuerpo. (Nicaragua)
Literal translation: Envy follows merit like the shadow follows the body.

I especially like this one because it is so vivid and I'm not sure what it means!!

Nadie ccon lamer engorda. (Guatamala)
Idomatic translation: No gets fat from licking food.

El que presta o´i;do es porque tambi´e;n quire hablar. (Argentina)
Idiomatic translation: If a man lends an ear it is because he too wants to speak.

Aunque la mona se vista de seda mona se queda.
Idiomatic translation: Dress the monkey in silk and it is still a monkey.

You can find more of these gems (seriously, they are wonderful!) below.


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