Along with the usual steps to learning a language, we only get one of the many facets of the culture of the area and its inhabitants. We have many things in translation to get across including the cuisine, the customs, the rituals and systems of the people there, and one of the great things we can learn about a culture is through its proverbs, which you can find in speech or document. A proverb in translation comes from the Latin word “proverbium” and means a concrete way of saying that is used in repetition, expressing a truthful and meaningful message. Today we explore the use of Arabic proverbs and how they are used.
A chameleon does not leave one tree until he is sure of another – this can be similar to look before you leap, exercising caution before you are truly sure of your surrounding or situation, since a chameleon’s ability is only as effective as his environment.
A change is as good as a rest – one of the more popular phrases, this emphasises that the key to refreshment can lie in a change of routine or change of scenery, rather than simply taking a break.
A house divided cannot stand – another great one, which shows that compromise and negotiation is essential for an environment to sustain itself.
A known mistake is better than an unknown truth – this is an interesting one, akin to the fact that it’s better to know what you did wrong than to be unaware and to continue cruising.
Every ambitious man is a captive and every covetous man is a pauper – it’s interesting how proverbs that stick in your mind the most in translation are the ones that subvert expectation and twist the message on its head. Everyone has their own challenges to face and most of them are self inflicted if taken to extremes.
Everyday of your life is a page of your history – this is self explanatory in translation, where each day will have its own significance and importance in your life.
Every sun has to set – another simple yet deep translation – every good thing must come to an end, being cyclical and starting again.
So, there you have it. We see these from time to time, both in a document or speech, and with this little example of Arabic proverbs in translation, we can see how popular and universal they can be!