Sunday, February 1, 2009

Some common Malay and English proverbs

In the course of learning and teaching both Malay and English, I have come across quite a number of proverbs from both languages which mean almost the same things. I shall produce some examples in this post.

Doing two activities at the same time can be expressed through the Malay proverb ‘Sambil menyelam minum air [Literal translation: While diving, one can drink the water too.] This proverb has an equivalent in the English language. It is ‘Killing two birds with one stone’.

If the son imitates the behaviour of the father, a Malay proverb to describe it will be ‘Bagaimana acuan begitulah kuihnya’ (Literal translation: How a mould shapes like, so does the cake or the cake will take the shape or its mould) or ‘Bapa borek, anak rintik. (Literal translation: If Father has freckles, the son has them too.’ In English we use ‘Like father like son’ or ‘A chip off the old block’ to bear this meaning out.

We will find it easier to do a certain job if we do it very often. The Malay proverb that fits this description is ‘Alah bisa tegal biasa’ (Literal translation: The poison (bisa) loses (alah) because (tegal) one is used to it (biasa).) In the English language, the proverb is undoubtedly ‘Practice makes perfect’.

1 comment:

deepika said...

i think there is nothing wrong with polishing up on grammar.I always read a couple of pages at night and get through it in a couple of weeks. It’s just a good way to remember the stuff that i found some excerpts on english proverbs