Learning some Spanish proverbs is a great idea if you want to understand the culture of Spain and many other Spanish Speaking countries.
By studying them, you will quickly learn many Spanish words used in idioms and some Spanish grammar too.
The English translation for “A caballo regalado no le mires el diente” (pictures on the left) is “Don’t look the tooth of a gift horse”, while the English equivalent is pretty similar: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”
Proverbs will help you to be more expressive when speaking Spanish! For example you can say:
No vendas la piel del oso antes de cazarlo.
Don’t sell the bear’s fur before you hunt it.
or, more prosaically:
when somebody seems too enthusiastic for something.
Proverbs are very important for the Spanish learner, because Spanish spealers like the a lot and use them commonly.
Yerba mala nunca muere.– bad weeds never die.
You will find verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs. Proverbs also will allow you to learn the Spanish verb tenses are used too, and many other aspect of grammar.
But take a look with me at some useful grammar learning with proverbs. Proverbs are, in fact, folk wisdom at your service! With proverbs you have a “learn one, get three” chance in your Spanish learning endeavor:
- Learn Words
- Study Spanish Grammar
- Discover Spanish Culture
In this post we present some Spanish proverbs that will help you to learn the grammar together with the Spanish culture.
Spanish Culture and Proverbs – Cultural diversity with English
The understanding of cultural diversity is crucial in language learning.
Spanish Proverb on the left
Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.
English Equivalent: A man is known by the company he keeps.
This is especially true when an English speaker begins to study a neolatin language like Spanish.
When teaching we have studied the cultural differences between English, Spanish, German and Italian proverbs.
Thus we discovered that sometimes the same meaning is expressed in different languages with different proverbs and expressions that reflect the environment, traditions and beliefs of different peoples.
So you will find three different types of Spanish proverbs
a) Proverbs very similar or equal to English proverbs. In this case you can literally translate the saying from Spanish to English and viceversa:
b) Spanish proverbs with a slight different wording than their English counterpart:
“Out of sight out of mind.”
becomes in Spanish:
“Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente.”
This proverbs is quite similar to the corresponding English proverb, but its literal translation is:
“Eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel.”
As you can see, in this proverb the concepts are the same, to see and to feel, but for Latins the corazon substitutes the mind…
Most likely this happens because Latin people are“gente caliente” (warm people), so what matters is the heart, not the mind!
“Manos besa el hombre, que querria ver cortadas.”
English equivalent:Many kiss the hand they wish cut off.
c) Proverbs with the same meaning as the equivalent English proverbs but with a total different wording:
Mas vale algo que nada
- Translation: Something is worth more than nothing.
- English equivalent: Better a lean jade than an empty halter.
d) Proverbs without no English equivalent:
“En boca cerrada no entran moscas.”
Translation: Flies don’t enter a closed mouth.
Meaning: Sometimes, it’s best to keep your mouth shut
“Veneno que no mata, engorda.” (Peru)
- Translation: What does not kill, fattens.
- Meaning:What doesn’t kill me, strengthens me.
“A mal tiempo, buena cara.”
- Translation: In bad times,show a good face.
- Meaning:Face obstacle with your head held high.
Click Here to find more Spanish proverbs with no English equivalent
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