Speaking In Tongues

So why should you learn a new language? Well, it’s a more productive way of spending time than taking selfies in front of the bathroom mirror for sure.

When it comes to learning a language, you can opt for the conventional classroom method or the traditional approach of “listen and learn” (like how we first picked up a language as a tot) and not forgetting, the Internet with its treasure trove of language-learning sites. Most often it’s not about where to learn from but more of self-motivation.

Proverbs is one way of picking up a language. It’s not really “unconventional” or “groundbreaking” as chances are, you must have heard someone using them in a conversation before; even if you have no clue what they’re on about.

To rouse curiosity and spark your interest, here are five proverbs from around the globe.

Cu va a mannara mancia ricotta (Sicilian)

Literally translated it means “Those who are grazing will eat ricotta”. Its application is to hint that if you work hard enough, the rewards will come.

Let’s head over to Catalonia shall we?

A boca tancada, no hi entren mosques. (Catalan)

If you think it has something to do with mosquitoes, you’re close. The insect(s) being mentioned are “flies” and the proverb is translated to mean, “A closed mouth catches no flies’. When do you use it? One example would be as a timely advice to let people know that in some occasions and situations it’s better to shut up.

Speaking of timely, it’s always good time to make a pit stop in the land of the pyramids.

 في الامتحان يكرم المرء أو يحان. (fil-imteHaan yokram il-mar’ aw yohaan – Egyptian) 

Learning a new language is a challenge and this proverb which means “At the time of a test, a person rises or falls” kind of characterises that. Though when use in context it’s usually supposed to mean people’s real worth is known only through trial.

All this learning makes on hungry so let’s scoot over to East Asia for a sample serving of Japanese proverbs.

前の小僧わぬむ。(Mon zen no kozō narawanu kyō wo yomu – Japanese)

Never more apt is a proverb in its place than in the land of temples. The literal translation is “An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught” which loosely means (and as a reminder) that our environment defines our character.

Now that you’re all filled up, strap yourself in for our final learning adventure – in Africa!

Tisa karibu na kumi (Swahili)

It may sound self-evident but sometimes, we’ve all been guilty of not realising – the obvious. This simple yet powerful Swahili proverb translates to mean, “Nine is near ten”. Simple because it’s easy to remember, powerful because it reminds us all to never give up when you are about to complete a task or nearing the end.

The excitement of learning a new language is perhaps only second to the exhilaration of using them for the first time. You never know where this newfound knowledge can lead you to or the windows of opportunities it can open up.

It might even get you out from between that proverbial rock and a hard place someday!







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A Husband and Wife duo who run an independent online and social media business. Our passion is Inbound Marketing - combining Creative Writing and Digital Marketing Strategy - for medical aesthetics, design, advertising, fitness, medical, and lifestyle industries. Talk to us at we.are at biancazenkees.com. Thank you for reading! :)


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