Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ethiopian proverbs

One thing that Ethiopians are well-known for is the use of proverbs. There are so many of them, and they are used daily. Especially old people like counselling the younger generation with an appropriate proverb. Some of them are a little bit off, using words and expression normally not mentioned in the Western world. But most of them are really good for all of us, regardless of where we live in the world.
Of course, sometimes we need to understand the country and the culture to really appreciate a saying. Even people reading the Bible have had this dilemma. In some languages there are no words for sheep, they don’t exist in that part of the world. How do you explain illustrations about a shepherd to these people? The same with Ethiopian proverbs, sometimes they mention situations that we have never heard of. This only makes it all more interesting, in my opinion!
Here is a selection of proverbs: ’After the hyena has gone, the dog barks’ , ’ The point of the needle must pass first’,’ Coffee and love taste best when hot’. Especially the last one is very good! To know when to use which proverb is not always easy. If you choose the wrong one, the whole meaning will change. But, on the other hand, you choose the right one- the point will be very clear!

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