Even though there are differences between cultures or backgrounds, some proverbs have similarities because different cultures may have similar ways of thinking. Especially when there is a relationship of ethnicity, more similarities are found in proverbs.
For example, the English proverb “Anyone can make a mistake” changes depending on the culture expressing it. See below for an example of this:
English: Anyone can make a mistake
French: l’erreur est humaine (The mistake is human)
Latin: errare humaum est (The mistake is human)
Chinese: 智者千虑, 必有一失 (Even the wise are not always free from error)
Japanese: 猿も木から落ちる(Even monkeys fall from trees)
Sometimes proverbs have completely opposite meanings depending on countries or the area. For example, there is an English proverb ‘The Squeaky wheel gets the oil’. The idea of this proverb is that people who keep drawing attention to themselves are more likely to get attention. But on the other hand, there is a Japanese proverb ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down’ because in Japanese society, people who stand out are often hated, or disturbed. Because humility or modesty is a virtue in Japan, their very similar proverb has a completely different meaning in comparison to the English version.
As there are countless languages in the world, proverbs are everywhere in the world. Most of them are straightforward and often show characteristics of nationality, so they can be utilized as a source of good educational material to learn about different cultures. Here at LingoStar, even though there are vast differences between cultures, we can offer a high quality of services in various language services. Call us today or send us an email for a free quote!