Monday, May 6, 2013

Animals in Proverbs (part 2)

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

*even Homer sometimes nods 「猿も木から落ちる」
In Japanese proverb '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 also used in both positive and negative meaning even though I personally uses in fortunate situation. We only have this English version 'even a dog, if it walks, will bump into a pole', but used in both good and bad connotation.
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.

Thank very much for reading; I got this one drafted when I wrote "part 1"
Hoping a lovely spring or autumn new week for everyone♡♡♡


  1. i like the slight nuances to the sayings - just a bit different than how we'd say things here - and i always like to hear the interpretations.

    and i laughed at you standing up for yourself. :)

  2. I loved hearing about these, my dear friend! I love language and the different connotations, so these were much fun for me to read and think about. I think you did a great job of bringing them to us and helping us to understand the nuanced meanings~

  3. Hi dear Miyako.. What an interesting post this was about all the animal proverbs . I liked the one that you feel like when you want to talk back to hubby . Hee hee ! I think we all get times like that ! Hope you std keeping well. Sending love from West to East xx

  4. Hello Miyako, I enjoyed reading these fun animal proverbs and their meanings. Glad to see you posting, I hope all is well. Take care and have a happy day! Eileen

  5. Oh I love reading proverbs with animals! I love the images for each proverb, too. The kitty and rat image is very cute :-)
    I hope you have enjoyed Golden Week!

  6. Dear Miyako,
    Thank you so much with Japanese proverbs are old years time that is very enjoy for me Miyako san.
    I just thinking about the other country are the same proverbial?
    Have a good time day!

  7. Dearest Miyako,
    This was another humorous explanation. So much fun to read here and to compare the different cultures.
    Hugs to you,

  8. Miyako,

    Eu gosto muito dessas frases regionais. No país de origem, o Brasil, tem umas muito engraçadas também.
    Amo suas visitas, e seu carinho de sempre.
    Um lindo dia! Beijos

  9. Such an interesting post Miyako. The animal proverbs are amazing.
    It's always fun to learn about different cultures. Thank you for sharing and also thank you for warm, caring thoughts and love...xoxoxo Linda

  10. I like this post very much and every one of the proverbs is very understandable. We actually use the terms "hawk-eyed" or "eagle-eyed" in the same way your proverb does.

  11. a cornered rat will bite a cat is a good one.

    have you seen the 1-minute film about the carp on the board?