Express Yourself!

Linguistics is a very interesting area and in one of many other lives, I probably would be a linguist. In this life, however, it’s something I look at every now and then and I always find it just so fascinating.

Take for example the different ways to say hello in different languages or maybe even what certain things are in different languages such as water. 🙂


Notice the similarity between the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese translations of water. Interesting, right? And, notice how the Chinese and Japanese write their translation for water. 🙂 Also, isn’t funny how the Russian translation of water is pronounced as ‘Vohda’ or ‘Voda’. You know, Vodka, Vohda? Get it? 😀

Just as there are similarities between the translations of certain words in different languages, there are also some pretty interesting similarities in their proverbs or sayings and today, I’d like to give you the Japanese version of five common sayings used in English and maybe their Swahili version, that’s if I can remember any methali (Swahili proverbs). 😀


Translation: Ten people, ten colours.

Meaning: ‘Different strokes for different folks’. Cue the different strokes theme song… 😀

English Version: To each his/her own.

Swahili Version: Kila mtu na chake.


Translation: Clear sky, Cultivate. Rainy, Read.

Meaning: Farm when it’s sunny, read when it rains.

English Version: Make hay while the sun shines.

Swahili Version: Likitoka liote.


Translation: One stone, two birds.

Meaning: Do two things with one action.

English Version: Kill two birds with one stone.

Swahili Version: I could be wrong but, I don’t think there’s one for this one.


Translation: The child of a frog is a frog.

English Version: Like father, like son.

Swahili Version: Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka.


Translation: Spilled water will not return to the tray.

Meaning: What’s done is done.

English Version: It’s no use crying over spilled milk.

Swahili Version: Maji yakimwagika hayazoleki.

Let’s take a moment and appreciate one thing here…

*cue Valley Girl voice* I like totally knew all those Methali (Swahili Proverb) up there. I’m like a total Methali superstar now. 🙂

In all seriousness though, knowing a few sayings actually goes a long way in gaining fluency in a language especially by helping one sound more ‘natural’ (?) during conversation. So, it’s something definitely worth trying out for all language learners. Try it out! 🙂


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