Monday, May 6, 2013

Animals in Proverbs (part 2)

I was wondering if Japanese proverbs with animal would be comprehensible for the other languages speakers when I teach them to my students.  Hopefully or I really appreciate if you read another versions from (part 1) 

*even Homer sometimes nods 「猿も木から落ちる」
In Japanese proverbs 'monkey' version is popular, "even monkeys fall from trees".  I was bit surprised to find "pride comes before a fall" as I think this version is slightly different in meaning. But this one can be a good moral lesson as well; not to be too bold (hope my interpretation is correct)

*The dog that trots about finds a bone 「犬も歩けば棒に当たる」
I knew Japanese version is used in both positive and negative meaning even though I personally uses in fortunate situation. And I found the negative version in English 'even a dog, if it walks, will bump into a pole.
My husband 'who used to be a bank clerk' said, this proverb was kind of his motto when he was doing outside sales work while young. 

*a cornered rat will bite a cat 「窮鼠猫を噛む」
This one has the exact literal translation with Japanese version''.  As it means 'despair turns cowards courageous', I sometimes feel this way towards my husband when I desperately need to talk back p;) 

* 'like carp' on the chopping block(board) 「まな板の鯉」
We use 'carp' for this proverb. It derives from the state which carps get quiet once they are on the board unlike the time they were caught. I found that this one can be translated like 'there's nothing I can do. I'm doomed. My fate is sealed'. 

*eyes of a cormorant, and of a hawk  「鵜の目鷹の目」
This one requires no explanation, I think.  Seek with eyes of a predator; or keen eyes; 
*example sentence with the same meaning*
The new boss is the kind who keeps a sharp eye out for every mistake.

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