One way of gaining insight into a different culture is to explore proverbs or sayings of that culture.

The picture with this post is from a book called THE ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF SAYINGS: CURIOUS EXPRESSIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD by Ella Frances Sanders. The book includes 52 different sayings along with pictures and an explanation.

I learned from the book that if someone says in Farsi, “I want to eat your liver” you shouldn’t be frightened. It is actually a term of endearment, similar to how people might say in English, “I could just eat you up!”

When a Japanese person says, “Even monkeys fall from trees” it means even experts make mistakes.

Apparently when Filipinos are surprised by something (like when they stub a toe or receive unusually great news) they will shout out “Oh! Pregnant horse!”

If a Serbian tells you that you are “ripping the clouds with your nose” it means that he thinks you are conceited.

If you search online for the proverbs of different cultures you will found mountains of them. It can be valuable to spend time trying to decipher the meaning behind the proverbs of other countries. You will find both commonalities and differences that can give you greater insight into the wisdom of your own culture and of others.

Debbie

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