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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   African Proverbs - Translations Needed
Author:   janet randall
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  General Linguistics

Query:   Dear Colleagues,

I have a collection of African proverbs in English and would be most
grateful to have any of them in its original language. This information is
for a project in my daughter's 6th grade class. Some students are studying
a people, others, a country.

Also, please feel free to correct any errors. Thank you.
Janet Randall
Northeastern University

Love And Sexuality
1. The heart is not a knee that can be bent.
2. When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. (Ethiopia)
3. The most beautiful fig may contain a worm.

1. Having a good discussion is like having riches. (Kenya)
2. One must come out of one’s house to begin learning.
3. The one who asks the way does not get lost.
4. The wise person who does not learn ceases to be wise.

1. Accomplishment of purpose is better than making a profit. (Hausa)
2. By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. (Buganda)
3. If you are building a house and the nail breaks, do you stop building or
do you change the nail? (Rwanda)
4. One does not make a shield in the battlefield.

Body and Health
1. You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is
running inside you. (Rwanda)
2. Even the mightiest eagle comes down to the treetops to rest. (Uganda)
3. One camel does not make fun of the other camel’s hump.

1. The family is like the forest, if you are outside, it is dense. If you
are inside you can see that each tree has its own position. (Akan)
2. People are the home.
3. One who has family and friends is richer than one who has money.

1. It is the human being who counts: call on gold, gold does not respond;
call on clothes, clothes do not respond; it is the human being who counts.
2. Hunger is felt by a slave and hunger is felt by a king, (Ashanti)
3. If you see wrong-doing or evil and say nothing against it, you become
its victim.
4. Silence is the door to consent. (Berber)

1. Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come
back. (Yoruban)
2. A friend is someone you share the path with. (Nilotic)
3. When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion.
4. It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion (Senegal)

Nuts and Bolts
1. Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped. (Liberian)
2. Never try to catch a black cat at night (Krahn)
3. Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always
glorify the hunter. (Igbo)
4. A roaring lion kills no game.
LL Issue: 19.1498
Date posted: 06-May-2008


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