Proverbs

Initially all proverbs are listed below. You may select a reduced number of proverbs by entering criteria for the values of Language name or Keyword.

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National language:Ɨbî bò wàyn lum gòʼ abɨ̂l abɨ̂l.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The thighs of a parent are always dirty.
Meaning:You cannot escape your responsibility as a parent when a child has gotten dirty crawling on the floor and has come to you. You must pick him up and put him on your lap, even though it makes your clothes dirty. When your child does something wrong, this does not alter his relationship to you. You should not shirk your responsibility to him.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Keywords: parental responsibility
Ethnologue code:bkm
Proverb id:bkm0001
 
National language:Mwan ájàŋɔɔ e koo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A falling child is never caught with your back.
Meaning:Children need catching because they fall. It is so obvious that you cannot abandon children and go off to destinations unknown and not expect that your child will suffer. So you should be with the child and ready to care for this needy member of society. You catch him with your hands, because you are turned toward him and you are alert to the dangers he faces.
Translation Fr: Un enfant n'est jamais arrêté par le dos.
Meaning Fr: Il n'est pas prudent de laisser les enfants loin de la supervision d'un de leurs parents. Un enfant tombe et se blesse si ses parents ne viennent pas vite à  son secours. Il faut regarder la vie d'un enfant et veiller sur lui à  chaque instant.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: care for children, child-care, parenting
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0001
 
National language:Bilima bi pum, byé ábɛl oko.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Dreams of the night never cause celibate people to get married.
Meaning:The great events and advances may begin with ideas, but they have never ended there. The Nzime know this to be true and are impatient with people who stop at the level of dreaming.The way someone gets someone else married is well known: they acquire a small fortune and then pay a bride-price for the sake of the unmarried person. Usually, it is the sister of the unmarried man who enables her brother to get married. She does this by getting married, and then the money and goods that are left over after the celebration are used to help her brother get married. If things don't happen like that, the unmarried person is left to his dreams.
Translation Fr: Les rêves de la nuit ne font jamais marier les célibataires.
Meaning Fr: Afin de se marier, il faut qu'on réunisse la dote. La dote est une charge très lourde, qu'on supporte seulement par les efforts ou les amis considérables. La dote n'est pas réunie seulement par le fait de rêver. Il faut passer à  l'acte concret. Pour chaque effet désiré, il faut cesser de dormir et engager les activités.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: marriage, practicality, implementing ideas
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0002
 
National language:Dibe, yé ájebe nʉn lɨ ejwìa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A stream never calls the birds to come and clean themselves up.
Meaning:Capacity can be created but not motivation. The person who is not motivated to get literate for the inherent reasons will not be a good candidate for literacy classes. He may have an objective need for the class but he does not yet have a felt need. He'll come when he is tired of experiencing the consequences of being illiterate.
Translation Fr: Un marigot ne fait jamais appel aux oiseaux de venir se laver.
Meaning Fr: On peut bien être sale ou en toute autre difficulté à côté de la source de son propre salut. Il faut que la personne en besoin d'aide se reconnaisse en état de besoin et se mette en activité. C'est sa responsabilité de se rendre à  la source d'aide et de se débarrasser de ses problèmes.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: felt need, bird
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0003
 
National language:«Bʉr aywiii!» Nye ó, go e mbo é ngwan.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who says "People! Help me!" is the one who has tried hard to do something by himself already.
Meaning:Before you ask others to help on a problem, you should first be struggling with it personally. This proverb emphasizes the importance of making a local contribution prior to asking for outside support. It certainly is a part of donors' thinking nowadays that there must be local buy-in before they can get something from them. The context is a hunt, probably with nets. A hunter near a net has just grabbed the lower leg of a deer and is fighting to hold on. It is a desperate struggle, with the deer exerting great force to jerk his foot free. The person cries for help so that others will come and pull the deer down. The point is that he calls after he has already placed himself at risk and considerable discomfort, not before.
Translation Fr: «Gens, au secours!» Il est, toi avec main à la cheville.
Meaning Fr: Avant d'appeler les autres à  te rendre service, il faut manifester les preuves d'un désir de faire le maximum dans ton propre intérêt.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: autonomy, doing what you can before seeking help, hoofed animal
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0004
 
National language:Buho gwar, yé ábe modumo moba.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The same accident never happens at both ends of the village.
Meaning:People often avoid responsibility for their actions, and one of the most frequent ploys is by saying that what they did was an accident. Generous-minded people see this as an acceptable explanation for a while, but a point, they reject the explanation and say that they know better. This "accident" is really an annoying behavior pattern that is characteristic to the person in question. This proverb is based on the culturally-relevant presupposition that there are two ends to a village, and no cross-streets.
Translation Fr: Le même accident ne se produit jamais aux deux bouts.
Meaning Fr: Lorsqu'on fait mal, on a tendance de s'excuser en disant que l'acte mauvais était un “accident”. Il n'est plus possible de se justifier de cette manière si l'acte se produit à plusieurs reprises. Dans ce cas, il n'était pas un vrai accident. On ne s'excusera pas la deuxième fois en insistant que c'était un accident. C'est plutôt un vice qui se manifeste.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: bad habits, accidents
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0005
 
National language:Edye egwar, lé ó bʼa bol modye mo nʉm mɨmɛh.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: One tooth made all the other teeth in the mouth get rotten.
Meaning:There is a fine line between pessimism and realism, and the observor is the only judge of which term is the right one to use. Accordingly, the Badwe'e are either pessimistic or realistic about reality, which is expressed in this proverb. There are healthy teeth and sick ones in the same mouth. Badwe'e people see that the sickness of the unhealthy teeth conveys itself to the healthy ones. There is a higher level of organization in a perfect tooth than in an imperfect one and that the imperfect ones draw down the health of the healthy ones. By the way, tooth decay is a tremendous problem among the Badwe'e, the Nzime and the Njyem. There is no dentist anywhere in the area, although some come for short visits.
Translation Fr: Une dent avait fait pourrir toutes les dents de la bouche.
Meaning Fr: Si l'on ne veille pas sur l'infection dans une dent, elle ne restera pas seulement là  où elle se manifesta. Elle se communique à  toutes les autres dents et te rend bien malade. Tout mal risque de se communiquer loin de son origine. Il y a lieu donc de se corriger des petits maux avant qu'ils ne se multiplient en entraînant beaucoup de dégâts.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: evil spreads, contamination, vice corrupts
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0006
 
National language:Ntaa gwar, nye ó bʼa dwe ontaa bɨbɛh bɨlumo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: One giant pouched rat gave all the other palm rats maggots.
Meaning:One of the favorite sources of meat is the ntaa, or "giant pouched rat" or "Emini's rat" (Cricetomys emini). It lives in communities and eats palm nuts. It is responsible for distributing them around the forest, where they sprout up and become mature trees, if there is enough light for them.If one breaks into a colony of these giant rats, one can get quite a good catch, provided all the exits have been blocked beforehand. The rats are then killed and put into a basket. The imminent danger at that point is that they rot before being cooked and eaten. The first source of this process is maggots getting into them. As this proverb asserts, maggots do not stay where they were located on the first affected giant rat. Instead, they move from it to the other giant pouched rats, which is not a pretty sight. This is the origin of corruption and decay in otherwise sound giant rats.
Translation Fr: Un seul rat avait donné les asticots à tous les autres rats.
Meaning Fr: Le rat d'Emini vie en communautés et se nourrit des noix de palme. Lorsque le chasseur réussit à  trouver le repaire des rats, il arrive à  en tuer beaucoup. Il peut les mettre dans un panier avant de se rendre au village. Il suffit qu'un seul rat parmi eux soit couvert des asticots pour que tous les autres soient couverts aussi. Les conséquences d'une source de corruption ou de pourriture sont souvent grandes. Rarement on trouve que le malheur et les vices d'un individu dans la société ne se répandent aux autres, au grand détriment de tous.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: evil spreads, contamination, vice corrupts, giant pouched rat
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0007
 
National language:Egublo ntʉʼ peh.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: To be short is not to be a piece of something.
Meaning:This means that being short is not a limiting factor, and that there is as much honor to be ascribed to a short person as to a tall one. There is dignity in our shared humanity, whether one is short or tall.
Translation Fr: Útre court n'est pas être une partie.
Meaning Fr: Les gens de courte taille ne sont pas déficients, manquant les parties corporelles qui se trouvent chez les autres. Ils sont aussi compétant et complets que les gens plus géants qu'eux.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: against sizism, egalitarianism
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0008
 
National language:Mɨtu mɨ mpiha mimyɛh, myé ó monzyɛl e monzyɛl.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: All the ears of corn in the field have tassels.
Meaning:This means that there are no seniors and no juniors; all have equal right to be heard and all have something to contribute. This proverb reflects the fact that the Bantu people of the tropical rainforest are fundamental nonhierarchical in their social structure. Most often, however, they display their individuality by talking until everyone is heard and the weight of opinion has been heard on one side or another of the debate.
Translation Fr: Tous les épis de maïs ont les barbes.
Meaning Fr: On connait qu'il y a les vieux et les jeunes, mais quand les vieux veulent insister sur leur point de vue, ils n'ont pas toujours raison. Quand le village est réunit, tous ont droit de s'exprimer, sans exception. Les vieux n'ont pas l'unique droit à  être entendu. C'est comme ça dans le champ de maïs. Même les pieds de maïs qui sont plus courts que les autres ont toujours les glands.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: individualism, egalitarianism
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0009
 
National language:Ekʉa álulɔ ntile lé ebam.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A spear is never forged when a gorilla is screaming at you.
Meaning:You can never prepare a spear for your self-defense against a gorilla when the gorilla is in front of you displaying his anger. By implication, you must make your spear in anticipation of the need.
Translation Fr: Le fer de la lance n'est jamais forgé au moment que le gorille hurle.
Meaning Fr: Le forgeron n'entend jamais les hurlements d'un gorille et se met au travail de forger le fer de la lance. Il se prépare pour le danger prévisible avant de l'affronter. De même, il faut se préparer pour un danger avant de le voir s'approcher.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: build capacity before you need it, capacity-building, preparedness, anticipating needs, gorilla
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0010
 
National language:Nyʉa ákœb go e lɨ ɨ mbo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A shake never comes where you are when you have a stick in your hand.
Meaning:Snakes are considered a delicacy. Seeing one is the equivalent of encountering a good opportunity. The proverb says that we are never prepared for good opportunities. When they come, you are not ready to take advantage of them. A stick would be enough to kill a tasty snake that would feed many people. The preferred one is the Gabon viper, ejwɨl. The point is to anticipate good opportunities and have those resources at hand that will make you a winner. This proverb will be used when the person is sad that he has missed a wonderful opportunity.
Translation Fr: Un serpent ne te croise avec un bâton en main.
Meaning Fr: Le serpent constitue un met succulent, qu'on mange bien, mais on n'est jamais préparé avec le bâton en main le moment venu. Le serpent s'échappe parce qu'on n'est pas armé. De même, les bonnes occasions on tendance de se présenter à  nous quand nous ne sommes pas préparés à  nous en profiter.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: preparedness, missing opportunities, snake
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0011
 
National language:Ceme ndɨ e kʉn ɨ, nye áliʼe we pihe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A monkey which has a tail never leaves it behind.
Meaning:This proverb seems strangely tautological, since anything that is ceme must have a tail. Gorillas and chimpanzees are never considered oceme, or monkeys. At first, I found this proverb hard to understand as being meaningful at a deeper level. It turns out, however, that this proverb has a powerful message. The negative, defining characteristics of a person-- like the tail that makes a monkey a monkey-- are never abandoned by a person. If that person leaves his village for the city, he brings his vices with him. A gossip in the village will gossip in the city. A thief in the village will be a thief in the city, and so on. It makes you ask the question, "What are my character flaws? What constitutes the 'tail' that follows me around all the time?"
Translation Fr: Le singe à queue ne la laisse jamais derrière.
Meaning Fr: On peut voir le singe par terre comme aux branches de l'arbre, mais il est toujours accompagné par son queue. De même, les individus reconnus par leurs vices ne manquent jamais de manifester leur comportement négatif. Ils peuvent se déplacer d'un lieu à  un autre, mais ils sont toujours accompagnés par leurs mauvaises habitudes.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: vice, besetting sins, monkey
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0012
 
National language:,«Abe e kwan» jala ó, e mbʉʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If someone says "There is not enough honey for everyone," there is enough for the person who collected it.
Meaning:If there is a shortage of something valued by the society, there will be no distribution; it will belong entirely to the owner. The way they get honey is by watching bees fly out of a hole in a tree. They chop through the tree into the interior and get the honey.
Translation Fr: «Il n'y a pas de miel»: c'est à la personne qui a cueilli qu'il suffit.
Meaning Fr: S'il n'y a pas assez de miel pour tous d'en manger, ce qu'il y a doit répondre aux besoins de celui qui l'avait cueilli. S'il y a un manque de quelque chose, ça doit suffire à  la propriétaire.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: rights of ownership, property rights, honey bee
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0013
 
National language:Bayaʼa, yé a jʉ voʼ ó: «Me paʼ jwɨʼla.»
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The Baka killed the elephant after saying "I must try".
Meaning:The Badwe'e have an optimistic sense that there is success awaiting them in their enterprises if only they will try something new. They think that a positive outlook is an ingredient in future success. The proverb says this about their neighbors the Baka pygmies.There is nothing more awesome than the elephant, or dangerous. The Baka kill it with a variety of techniques that they have discovered at the cost of lives from time to time. If they had not been motivated by the positive mind-set, however, they would never have succeeded.
Translation Fr: Le pygmée tua l'éléphant en disant: «Il me faut essayer.»
Meaning Fr: Les gens réussites d'aujourd'hui étaient les gens courageux autrefois, ceux qui acceptaient les risques et faisaient face aux dangers dans l'espoir de réussir. Là  où le pygmée pouvait se décourager devant la grosse taille de l'éléphant, il résista et trouva finalement les ressources internes de le vaincre.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: risk-taking, self-reliance, initiative, elephant, positive outlook
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0014
 
National language:Ndyoo, nye abe e lʼekuro é koo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The traveler does not carry a basket on his back.
Meaning:Any traveler is a person in great difficulty, and needs the consideration of all those among whom he circulates. There is nothing for him apart from charity, since there is no expectation that outsiders will be passing through and consequently no preparation of food reserves or of housing for their needs. This Badwe'e proverb lends force to the charitable instinct that exists in the society. The basket on the back is a feature of a woman returning from her field. It contains two elements: firewood and food of various kinds. There is nothing that a traveler can do to supply himself with food comparable to what a woman can do by going to her field. He needs charity and help.
Translation Fr: Un voyageur n'a pas de panier au dos.
Meaning Fr: Le panier représente la manière d'emballer les récoltes du champ. Tout ce qu'on mange issu du panier. Le voyageur n'a pas de provisions avec lui, ce qui veut dire qu'il doit bénéficier des dons des autres. On ne s'attend pas de lui qu'il fera manger aux autres non plus. Il est en difficulté jusqu'au jour où il regagne son village.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: charity, travelers in need
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0015
 
National language:Mʉr abɨb, nye ó ngʉl.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who does not burp is a glutton.
Meaning:The universal sign of being satisfied after eating is burping. If someone never gives indication that he is satisfied, he is violating the social norm that food be distributed equally by all. This proverb shames the antisocial person who does not limit his appetite. The right way to conduct oneself in society is to be a moderate eater at the collective table and indicate quickly and convincingly that one is satisfied with the little that one has.
Translation Fr: La personne qui ne rend pas l'aire est un glouton.
Meaning Fr: Parfois on bénéficie de tout ce qu'on peut désirer sans devenir satisfait. C'est un défaut connu par la société. C'est meilleur si l'on manifeste son degré de contentement et qu'on cesse de consommer. C'est ainsi que les autres peuvent partager le bien commun. C'est comme ça au repas. Celui qui rend l'aire pendant un repas doit s'arrêter de manger, pour que la nourriture suffise à tout le monde. Continuer à manger c'est plutôt se manifester comme un glouton.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: moderation, sharing
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0016
 
National language:Mile mo za, mé ó mobim.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The sensations of being satisfied after eating are always to the same measure or degree.
Meaning:There are few if any refrigerators in the Badwe'e area, and no fastfood restaurants. Reserves of food are often absent. When food is prepared, many people can find out and "happen" to call just as the food is readied. So there is a value on equal access to the food and equal distribution of it. The consequence, however, is that no one will get that "full-tummy" feeling after eating.The proverb says that this is how it should be. If any are full, all should be full. In the past, all food was brought to the open-air community house where it was shared out. Sharing is a great value. If one person is burping after eating, there should be many doing so.
Translation Fr: Les sentiments de famine sont même quantité.
Meaning Fr: Les gens à table peuvent se trouver devant peu de nourriture ou beaucoup de nourriture. Qu'il soit en abondance ou pas, la culture exige qu'elle soit repartie en égalité, de sorte que les sensations de rassasiement soient les mêmes par tous assis à table. De même pour chaque bien commun, tous doivent en bénéficier.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: gluttony
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0017
 
National language:Bim nɔn, yé ó bim dɔʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The size of the nest is the size of the bird.
Meaning:There are times when hospitality is refused. People know they should be hospitable but they don't feel they can in this point of time. They don't have more than they need for their immediate family and cannot fit one more person in. Out of embarrassment, they have to make an excuse, however. This proverb fights against selfishness.
In this case, the selfish person is saying, in effect, "I am a small bird and the nest I have for myself is only big enough for me." It is an awkward moment.
Sometimes the "nest" is not a house but a car. The person buys a vehicle that only barely meets his own needs and does nothing for the people in the village who want to ride in it. They probably are calling it "our (inclusive) car". But when they want to get in, they are told that there is no space. They can then use the proverb sardonically, commenting on their relative thereby. They say he is a "small bird" who doesn't think of others who have need of sharing his "nest".
Translation Fr: La grandeur de l'oiseau est celle du nid.
Meaning Fr: La grandeur d'un nid ne dépasse jamais celle de l'oiseau, ce qui est normal, car l'oiseau ne pense qu'à lui-même pendant la construction du nid et ne se donne pas la peine de faire un nid plus grand que son propre corps. C'est l'esprit d'égoïsme qu'on voit dans le monde naturel, mais il n'est pas une justification pour les actes égoïstes dans la société. Là, il faut penser aux autres. Celui qui essai de se justifier par ce proverbe est le dernier à pourvoir aux besoins des nécessiteux.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: selfishness, disinterest in others, having no provisions for others, bird
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0018
 
National language:Odyoo, bé ó mpwɨɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Travelers are a flood.
Meaning:The Badwe'e do not have many spare bedrooms or empty beds, so when people come and stay for a while, there is a very strong expectation that people will leave their regular beds and sleep in a less-than-satisfactory manner. The proverb enjoins this behavior and says that travelers, like a flood, go out of their regular channels and invade places that were formerly "dry land". As a result, people have to leave "their" beds in the same way that little animals living beside a stream have to leave their dens in order to avoid drowning.
Translation Fr: Les voyageurs sont une inondation.
Meaning Fr: Tout animal qui se construit un domicile à côté du marigot connait les moments difficiles lors des inondations, quand ils sont obligés d'abandonner leurs lieux habituels pour se rendre ailleurs dans la forêt. De même, les gens se trouvent bien installés au village, chacun dans son lit, jusqu'au jour de l'arrivée des voyageurs. Dés leur arrivée, ils sont obligés par l'étiquette de sortir de leurs lits qui appartiendront alors aux voyageurs. Ils dormiront ailleurs, sous les conditions moins favorables en attendant leur départ.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: charity to travelers, sharing
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0019
 
National language:Elu egwar, lé ábol voʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: One night never causes an elephant to get rotten.
Meaning:This proverb urges caution upon someone wanting to take action in a hasty manner. Let him go slow, ... nothing serious will come of postponing the decision. The context is one where you have killed an elephant and you want to eat it. One says that it should all be eaten right away before it gets rotten. The others discourage him by saying that if they only eat part of it, they can sleep and discover the next day that it has not yet gotten rotten.
Translation Fr: Une nuit ne rend jamais un éléphant pourri.
Meaning Fr: Après avoir tué un éléphant, les chasseurs ont tous le désir de rentrer au village. Certains seront plus animés par ce désir des autres. Les derniers peuvent dire qu'il faut dormir encore en forêt avant de partir le lendemain bien reposé. Une nuit plus ou moins ne changera pas la condition de l'éléphant. Dans la société, il est de même: il est prudent de prendre son temps à tout faire bien. Agir avec précipitation n'est pas nécessaire, puisque le temps «perdu» dans la réflexion n'entraine pas de conséquences néfastes.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: methodical action, urgency not needed, take time, elephant
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0020
 
National language:Mo kwar, wé ó peme.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The stomach of the village is the field.
Meaning:The forest is a niggardly provider of calories. Sometimes, it is true, you can collect wild fruit and mushrooms, or bushmeat, but for the most part, the Koonzime rely on farming. This proverb affirms the importance of that medium of survival. The sensible Badwe'e should give great attention to what is in your fields. There will be food in your stomach if you do that faithfully. What they plant is what they know will grow and what they know they will happily eat on a daily basis. In an new field, such as one that they would be carving out of virgin forest or from a fallow field 8 years of age or more, they would plant squash seeds or plantains, with corn and peanuts. In an older field, one that has been in production for 2 years or more, they will plant manioc, since little else will grow.
Translation Fr: Le ventre du village est le champ.
Meaning Fr: Le village est comme un être, dont le ventre, lieu de nourriture, est le champ. Les villageois ne se nourrissent pas essentiellement des fruits de la chasse ou de la pêche, mais du champ. C'est là aussi où l'on doit s'investir beaucoup.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: agriculture, reliance on gardening
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0021
 
National language:Zi peme ása moloʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The path that leads to the field never has dew.
Meaning:Many Badwe'e are reluctant to go on paths because they say there is dew on the plants growing alongside the path. They don't want to go down such a path early in the day lest they get wet from the dew. No one who is hungry complains about the dew on the path to the food field, however, because they hope to eat food and warm themselves with firewood from the field. They don't mind the dew or even acknowledge it, because they are going to eat!
Translation Fr: Il n'y a jamais de rosée sur la piste du champ.
Meaning Fr: On n'apprécie les commissions qu'on donne de se rendre en forêt. On peut y trouver la rosée aux feuilles! On risque de se mouiller! Mais on accepte vite l'invitation d'aller au champ pour récolter la nourriture. On ne pense pas à la rosée, parce qu'on est engagé à se nourrir. De même aux autres activités: on accepte toute sorte de risque dans l'attente d'en tirer bénéfice. Afin qu'une activité ne soit pas répugnant, il faut que tout participant nourri l'espoir d'en tirer un bénéfice quelconque.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: hope, self-interest, personal interest
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0022
 
National language:Tob dibe, wé ó, go lé edu mʉr dolo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: When you are walking in a stream, you follow the person ahead of you.
Meaning:The word è-twáb refers to the action of walking upstream or downstream. The word tób is a noun which is based on this verb.
The person who knows a stream will walk in it following the places where you can still find firm footing. A person following him will be secure when he follows that person. The Badwe'e know that they do not individually know enough, but that they collectively have a great deal of knowledge. The secret to their survival is to have the experienced ones go first.
Translation Fr: La marche dans un marigot est bonne si tu suis la personne devant.
Meaning Fr: Il y a les gens qui connaissent bien les dangers au fond du marigot et ceux qui les ignorent. Il faut que ces derniers se limitent à suivre les premiers lorsqu'ils marchent dans un marigot. Ces gens seront sages s'ils placent leurs pieds où les gens avertis et bien orientés avaient placé les leurs. De même aux autres circonstances de la vie. Il y a ceux qui savent et ceux qui apprennent par l'exemple des autres. Il faut les laisser diriger pour le bien-être de tous.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: benefit from experienced people, sharing wisdom
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0023
 
National language:Ma tab buo molyah a biʼ kʉ lé esoho bɔɔ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The kid who loved jumping about broke his leg when he discovered how great the big village was.
Meaning:The "big village" is the counterpart of the life outside Badwe'e-land. People go to the big village and enjoy the anonymity and the opportunities, the lights and the new freedoms, and then they try out their new "leaps", like the kid, and find that they break their legs!!! So people are cautioned through this proverb to stay near their birthplace, to restrain themselves, and to avoid the city or the big village in favor of their village where everyone knows everyone else and his business.
Translation Fr: Le petit cabri qui sautait beaucoup s'est cassé le pied en se réjouissant du grand village.
Meaning Fr: Voyant les grands espaces du village principal, le petit cabri peut essayer à sauter plus qu'il avait sauté dans les petits hameaux où il a grandi. C'est de cette manière qu'il fini par se casser la jambe. De même, les gens qui se comportent bien dans le village où ils sont surveillés et limités sont en danger en se rendant ailleurs. Se trouvant dans une grande ville ou dans un pays lointain, ils risquent d'agir d'une manière nouvelle et imprudente, à leur propre perte.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: vice, danger of big cities, lack of self-discipline, goat
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0024
 
National language:Mir ebuʼ le empime, wé ó motwɨɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The cure for anger and wrath is counsel.
Meaning:The time for a proverb is before evil consequences befall someone. So proverbs talk about the consequences of doing things that are ill-considered. The main reason people do regrettable things tends to be anger. People get counsel from each other and the wrath and anger are abated. The word for "wrath" is empime and it represents protracted anger. The word for "anger" is ebuʼ and it represents the sort of violent, momentary feeling that overcomes you.
Translation Fr: Le remède de la colère est les conseils.
Meaning Fr: S'enflammer par colère ou nourrir une haine n'est pas saine. La victime des ces émotions est en danger de tomber malade ou de faire un acte stupide ou bête. La maladie dont il souffre n'a pas d'autre soin que les bons conseils. Il lui faut un conseiller qui lui indiquera une meilleure façon de vivre. Il se sauvera sa vie en y faisant attention.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: anger, counsel, self-restraint
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0025
 
National language:Mokʉ l'akœʼ, nʉm l'ade.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you don't get out and do something in your own interest, you won't eat.
Meaning:The Badwe'e know about the law of sufficient cause: "For every effect there must be a sufficient cause." They are interested in traveling for the sake of bringing something of value back with them at the end of their travels. Each one must do his part of the household's work during the day and furnish something to the family's sustenance.
Translation Fr: Les pieds ne marchent pas; la bouche ne mange pas.
Meaning Fr: Si on ne fait rien, on ne mangera rien. On ne peut pas rester sur place sans en souffrir les conséquences.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: need to be active, need to provide for himself
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0026
 
National language:«Ngwar, mba» ó bul ebeʼe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It is "first, second" that enlarges the pile.
Meaning:Little by little, important things take shape. The Badwe'e know that lots of little actions, added up, end up making a pile of valuable objects grow larger. When one is adding to a pile, one counts the items one is adding. Each one added to the pile is important toward making the pile grow.
Translation Fr: C'est «un, deux...» qui agrandit le tas.
Meaning Fr: Un par un, les bons actes sont superposés, jusqu'à faire un grand bien. Chaque œuvre humaine qu'on n'imagine jamais pouvoir réaliser est composée des petits actes bien faits. Il faut accomplir chaque acte à son temps et savoir qu'à la longue, ils aboutiront à un accomplissement magnifique.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: accumulation, wealth-creation
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0027
 
National language:!Go bee mʉr lé egwarwo wa, nye lé etœʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you see someone bending over, he is picking up something.
Meaning:Self-interest and personal reward govern the behavior of mankind. The Badwe'e affirm this principle in this proverb. There is nothing natural about maintaining a bent-over posture or even doing it repetitively. The only thing that accounts for someone bending over is that the behavior is rewarded somehow. When you are observe someone doing something arduous and persevering at it over time, you conclude that he is rewarded somehow by the activity, and that the reward is material.
Translation Fr: Si tu vois une personne en train de s'accroupir, c'est parce qu'il ramasse.
Meaning Fr: Les activités difficiles et onéreuses sont négligées si elles ne sont pas rémunérées. Si tu voix quelqu'un en train de faire ce qui est difficile, c'est parce qu'il y trouve son compte. Il y trouve une bonne récompense.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: self-interest, creation of wealth, sustained efforts are those that are rewarded
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0028
 
National language:Fwan efoʼ, yé ó bʼa lɛʼle fwan epihe cyen.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was the first ant who taught the last ant how to walk.
Meaning:One species of ant, twan, always walks in lines and none of the ants ever gets lost. The point of this proverb is that the Badwe'e of today are safe and secure when they let their elders pass on wisdom from the past. The first ancestor, Edwe'e, is now long dead, but they believe they are learning his way of walking from all those who have been faithful to the ways of the past. As a result, they are always looking to see if a proverb from the past can be invoked to make it clear that the present change is needed and is somehow faithful to the traditions of the fathers.
Translation Fr: La première fourmi a montré à la dernière fourmi comment marcher.
Meaning Fr: Il y a plus que les sujets à l'école à maîtriser; il y a aussi et surtout la vie qu'il faut apprendre. La manière de vivre connues par les ancêtres est apprise et transmise par chaque génération, jusqu'à atteindre les plus petits dans la société.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: customs, traditions, ant
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0029
 
National language:Ebel e nyɔŋ, lé ábenɔ dɔɔ e mɨkɔɔ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The mother's breast is never rejected because of the scabies that are on it.
Meaning:The Badwe'e know that they received physical life through the all-important role of their parents. Nothing repugnant that those parents represent can cause them to break off relations with them later on. Scabies are microscopic mites that live in the cracks of your skin and reproduce, producing a rash-like effect. These can be on the mother's breast, but the baby's concern with nursing will keep him from noticing.
Translation Fr: La mamelle de la mère n'est jamais refusée à cause de la gale.
Meaning Fr: La gale se transmet facilement d'une personne à une autre par la contacte. Il y a donc une forte chance qu'un bébé soit atteint par la gale par le fait de téter la mamelle. Les enfants ne refusent jamais la mamelle à cause de la gale. De même, tout ce qui provient des parents ou des générations passées est bien reçu par la génération naissante, car il leur communique la vie.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: honor for parents, transmission of life, scabies
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0030
 
National language:Njʉm kuo ákwaʼle é mobɛhɛ moba.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The same rooster cannot crow in two courtyards.
Meaning:The Nzime have little tolerance for bossy and authoritarian people. This proverb is not about roosters at all, but about authority figures. A family head or chief never has authority outside his jurisdiction. This proverb chides one for trying to extend his influence beyond its true sphere. You have to understand that the rooster is seen as the dominant person in the courtyard, bossing around the hens. They don't want people to try to boss them around outside their zone of authority.
Translation Fr: Le coq ne chante jamais dans deux cours.
Meaning Fr: Le coq chante pour manifester son règne dans une cour. S'il se déplace dans une cour où se trouve un autre coq, il n'a pas le droit de chanter, car cette cour et les poules qui s'y trouvent appartiennent à un autre coq. De même des chefs: ils sont limités à exercer leurs pouvoirs seulement dans leurs dominions respectives.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: jurisdiction, limited authority, rooster, chicken
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0031
 
National language:Komo, komo, Nzime de.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: You can store food all you want, but someone more powerful will eat it!
Meaning:The Nzime got muskets from the Germans before their neighbors, the Mpumpung. The latter fled the Nzime for more distant forests farther east. Even there, they learned that the power of the Nzime muskets could follow them. They lost every battle and learned that from time to time the Nzime would claim people and possessions that they found unprotected in their villages. This proverb would have been made by a Mpumpung who had to flee into the forest after his village was raided at dawn. When he returned, he found that all his efforts at storing up food had been futile, and that the Nzime had taken it all away.
Translation Fr: Conserver, conserver, un Nzime mange.
Meaning Fr: Un village Mpompong passa son temps à conserver les récoltes avant de voir les Nzime venir et tous ramasser pour manger chez eux. C'était pour eux un grand découragement. De même des pauvres partout: les puissants ne vivent que par les efforts des faibles, qu'ils écrasent.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: loss of reserves, abuse of power
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0032
 
National language:Mʉr ábebe e bʉr bɨbɛh.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: No one is bad to everyone.
Meaning:The Badwe'e have a proverb that they use when someone is known for being unpleasant. He will occasionally do something considerate for one person, perhaps the child of his sister. When one notes that he is being uncharacteristically gracious, one cites this proverb. The point is that there will be some people who are in the good graces of someone who has a contrary spirit, so we have to avoid mischaracterizing people. Look for them to improve in their interactions and you may find that there are many people they are good to!
Translation Fr: Mʉr ábebe e bʉr bɨbɛh.
Meaning Fr: Un individu n'est jamais mauvais envers tous les gens. Même les pires parmi les méchants ne sont pas méchants vers tous. Chacun entretient les relations cordiales avec une personne de son choix.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: evil, vice, favoritism, no one completely bad
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0033
 
National language:Ajoʼojoʼo joʼo ó, e bitil bi nyʉl nye.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The one who doesn't listen with his ears listens with the parts of his body.
Meaning:This proverb says we must learn best by enduring the negative consequences of our actions.
Is this not a universal experience? Hearing doesn't work for some disobedient people, and they have to end up suffering the effects of their disobedience. They feel pain in their "body parts"(bipeh bi nyʉl) and end up remembering that they had been told to avoid their self-hurtful behaviors.
Translation Fr: La personne sourde a entendu avec les parties de son corps.
Meaning Fr: La personne désobéissante n'entend pas bien les conseils des autres avec ses oreilles, seulement avec les autres membres du corps. Il suit ses propres conseils et en souffre les résultats. Ses membres du corps seront blessés et meurtries à cause de son désobéissance.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: learning through consequences, disobedience
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0034
 
National language:Nkʉ megʉà a duho ó si.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was from the ground that the fat pig came.
Meaning:The Nzimes know that good things take time to develop. You must be patient and let God's way of growing things follow its own path. They express this in this proverb: The pig that you admire for its fatness was once little. There is no reason to despise the early stages of development or to say that something is hopelessly stuck at a worthless stage just because it is small and worthless at the present moment. All those things we admire today, like fat pigs, were like that at one time. We must exercise patience and hope, and let time do its work. We will be pleasantly surprised by them later.
Translation Fr: Le porc gras est sorti d'en bas.
Meaning Fr: Le porc gras d'aujourd'hui était court et petit autrefois. Il a évolué lentement avant de gagner ses dimensions présentes. De même des affaires des gens: ceux qui sont louées aujourd'hui étaient méprisable avant. Il faut laisser temps faire son travail.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: slow progress, small beginnings, pig
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0035
 
National language:"Me ato peme", nye ó mih lé edwɛʼ ebeʼe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who says "I am not going to the field today" is looking at a pile.
Meaning:Being inactive usually means that one is sick or not eating. A healthy person who is inactive and eating must be hoarding food somewhere, hidden away in a secret place. He glances at it all the time to make sure it is still there. Normally, there is a constant movement back and forth between the village and the field, since the food of the village is "stored" only in the field and gotten when it is needed. If it is collected before that, there is a tendency to "waste" it in large meals in which everyone participates. But there are those who quietly hoard food and don't share it with others. These are antisocial, however, and they do not want to let their identity be known. Those who want to detect such people do so by seeing who is not actively involved in farming on a daily basis. The "pile" could be real or figurative. If someone is not trying to get income from some activity, others conclude that he has a big bank account. If there is really no way they can figure out how he got wealthy, they then are asking the most awkward of all questions: "Is he maybe a sorceror?"So it is best to be obviously busy like everyone else and give no sign of having too much. That way, there is no expectation that you have a lot and that you should be sharing it with others.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: inactivity, hoarding
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0036
 
National language:Aloʼo mʉma, nye nyɨn ó, lɨ eswɨhlɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A woman who cannot fish appears [praiseworthy] when washing clothes.
Meaning:Everyone has his or her area of comparative advantage. No one need be ashamed by not succeeding as others do, since in one or another area, they too are doing admirably.
Fishing, elo'o, which is the theme of this proverb, is the kind of fishing that is peculiar to women. It involves making a dam upstream and downstream and then evacuating the water in the deeper part of the stream below the lower dam. The water is bailed out of the stream below the dam and it goes into a basket. Anything that is alive is strained out by the basket. After that, they try to find holes going into the side of the bank where fish live. They reach in and pull out fish of a bigger size.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: basket-fishing, comparative advantage, everyone contributes
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0037
 
National language:Dine gwar, yé átœʼ bumo mpiha.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: One finger never picks up a grain of corn.
Meaning:There are a number of variations on this proverb, some of which substitute mbaa "kernel" or mbaa wʉnʉ "kernel of peanut" in the place of bumo mpiha "grain of corn". The point of this proverb is that you can only accomplish important things through cooperation, as is typified by the thumb and forefinger cooperating in picking up something. This proverb is used to combat the idea that one person can do the whole task, and presumably be the only person to benefit from it afterwards.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: cooperation, dependency on others helping
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0038
 
National language:Zwɨɨ ábɔʼa nʉm e lʼekoʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: An axe is never be separated from a stone.
Meaning:The meaning of this proverb is not immediately clear without an explanation. For one thing, the "stone" (ekoʼ) referred to is in fact an implement used to sharpen the axe, hardly the first association Westerners have with stones.
This proverb is an exortation to the listener to stay engaged with others and to keep his skills sharp. The meaning is that just as an axe gets dull through use without the benefit of being sharpened, so also people are less competent at what they do without the correction and help of those around them.
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: maintain skills
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0039
 
National language:Dibe, yé a to ozyɛhozyɛh ó, abe e mʉr swɨʼɨ ye.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The stream became crooked because there was no one to straighten it.
Meaning:The course of a stream is not naturally straight unless people are constantly assessing its course and straightening it.
So also, we should be seeking the companionship and critiques of others if activities we care about are not to to awry.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: getting help, self-correction, self-improvement
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0040
 
National language:Voʼ ájoʼo bɨduu bɨ nyʉl we.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The elephant never hears the noise his body makes.
Meaning:An elephant is not actually a noisy animal, but, in the context of the proverb, the elephant is seen as one, and it may very well be true at times. The point is that the elephant thinks that he is quiet even when he's not.
Similarly, we are often convinced we have virtues that we lack. Only an outside observer will know truly what our flaws are.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: vice, need for outside criticism, elephant, flaws
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0041
 
National language:Abà tab gumo go a bà dwab yɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Do not cut up a goat where you have cut up a civette.
Meaning:This proverb means "Do not do shameful things lest they contaminate or degrade the things that are important to you." The civette, it turns out, has a foul odor and if you cut one up, the smell is left behind on the place you chose for that purpose. If you cut up a goat on the same place, it will taste like a civette, and that will be very sad for those who were hoping for a delicious meal.
The point is that there are consequences for us when we conduct ourselves badly. We may think that we can indulge in a little larceny or fornication, and no one will care, but it will affect our ability to ever do anything honorable again.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: vice, contamination, ruining your own valued possessions, civette, goat
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0042
 
National language:Abɔla-bidyɛn a be ó ntwii.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The one who did not retaliate for the mud thrown on him was a weakling.
Meaning:There must be a further story behind this that I don't know, but I'll let it stand as it is.
The proverb affirms that there are people who throw mud at you and you should throw it back. To fail to retaliate means that one is a weakling. Many times, the “mud” is figurative, and is insults and slander.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: vengeance, retaliation
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0043
 
National language:Beabea di ábea le enya puro kan.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It never takes long to rip your old clothing by staying for a long time.
Meaning:Whenever someone is trying to overstay his visit, he ends up shaming himself in front of his hosts. Sometimes this will be because he acquires the reputation of a glutton.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: gluttony, shame, visiting others
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0044
 
National language:Dibe dam twaʼbe, yé yɛɛ e mɨpɨn mɨmba.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: However small a stream might be, it nevertheless still has two banks.
Meaning:This means that one person, like a stream, has no more right to speak or to be heard than any other. They each have the same humanity, just as each stream, big or small, has the same "stream-ness". Everyone should be heard, rather than of just listening to the eldest member of the family.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: egalitarianism
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0045
 
National language:Apyeh bipomo lɨ ebee mebɔm.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Don't despise the fruit
Meaning:The fruit bipomo is a small red one that grows on the forest floor, without much to eat in it. Gorillas like it, though, and it is marginally edible. Its virtue is that it is always "in season". The fruit mebɔm, however, is seasonal. It is better to eat but less reliable, being found only in the season of wild fruit, nkono. The point of this proverb is that one should never despise the people who you live and die with, the people who never leave the village. They are the ones you can count on, rather than those who come once in a while, perhaps from the city, only to leave and not be on hand for you when there are concerns that arise.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: loyalty to village
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0046
 
National language:Abyɛɛ kuo ábublo mwa fwo
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The mother hen never protects its friend's chicks.
Meaning:The great threat to the baby chicks is the chicken hawk, and against this threat the best protection is the mother hen. She makes a special sound that is used only when the hawk is circling and the chicks all run under her wings for protection. The proverb contends that there are limits to what people will do for each other out of friendship. In the case of threats to life, the person trusts not in his friends but in his kin. If a man's wife dies and he is left with little children, he is most likely to seek a sister-in-law to marry, because that woman is not a "friend" of the deceased wife, but a sister, and the orphans are her nephews. She will treat them as her own children and care for them, even at moments of danger.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: protection, kinship, chicken, friendship, remarriage
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0047
 
National language:Anya-mecwɨʼ di ɨ mecwɨʼ ó, le jwɨʼ ye.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who lives in the hills lives in the hills by his own plan and decision.
Meaning:This proverb celebrates the freedom that one has to set his own agenda, follow his own plans and become the person that he chooses to be.
There aren't many people who choose to follow their own dictates in a society where everyone lives interdependently, but the proverb says that there will be some who do so and that the rest of society should let them exercise their freedom.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: autonomy, diversity, freedom
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0048
 
National language:«Ayo ǎlwɨɔɔ»-- nye ó, alwɨɨ onyɔŋ o bʉr.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who says "My mother can never be insulted!" should not insult the mothers of other people.
Meaning:The proverb shown above may be the closest equivalent to the Golden Rule that can be found in traditional Nzime or Badwe'e traditions.
This proverb is of importance to anyone interested what is seen as paramountly evil-insulting someone else's mother. Rather than talk in generalities about evil, the Nzime proverb-maker chose to be specific in mentioning one particular evil, perhaps the most flagrant and odious. If you object to it being done with regard to your mother, you should not do it in the case of some else's mother.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Keywords: do not do to others what you would not have them do to you
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0049
 
National language:Ajɨha bilima dɔɔ le ejaa pum.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Do not forget the dreams you have had just because the night is long.
Meaning:This proverb means that one should never forget the harm done to you by someone just because he may have done something good afterward.
In the life of the Nzime, keeping a current record of wrong-doing is very important. Physically, one may record an evil act by making a notch in the pole that crosses the kitchen at the mid-point. Whenever one enters, one can see all the notches and recite mentally what the person in question had done to warrant each notch.
Forgiveness, in the Nzime or Badwe'e setting means "removing all the marks of evil deeds (bɨbaa) that you have bent or counted out against someone".
Mɨ pɛʼ go bɨbaa bɨ ebebe me a niʼe go e.
I:have remove you markers:of:deeds of evil I Past bent you which
I have forgiven the sin/harm you have done to me.
This is said when the forgiveness preceded any altercation or accusation from the injured party. He has only "bent (a finger)" as a mental act when he took note of the harm that the person did him.
Mɨ pɛʼ go bɨbaa bɨ ebebe mɨ láa go bí.
I:have remove you markers:of:deeds of evil I:have count you which
I have forgiven the sin/harm you have done to me.
This is said when the forgiveness followed a public altercation or accusation from the injured party. He has "counted out" in an overt way the number of acts that harmed him, in the hearing of the offending party. While counting out these acts, he lays out a physical counter that may be a pebble or a strip of banana leaf.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: do not forget wrongs done you, revenge, retaliation, sin, forgive, forgiveness
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0050
 
National language:Bigʉ, byé ɨ buo maa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Crazy people are in many troops.
Meaning:Crazy people, it is affirmed in this proverb, come in all different kinds. There are those who sound crazy and are harmless, there are those who sound normal and pose a danger to others. The people around them have to be sensitive to the differences and help each crazy person to retain the amount of dignity that is possible for a person of his state.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Keywords: crazy
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0051
 
National language:Binʉn bi mbo e num.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Birds of the hand and the mouth.
Meaning:People can be too busy and attempt to undertake too many things at once, as is the case of a person who is trying to hold one struggling bird in his mouth and another in his hand. One will surely escape.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: bird, too busy, out of control
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0052
 
National language:Boʼo kwan lɨ emuʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Chop into a honey hive in the cheek.
Meaning:There are many difficult tasks in the forest, but extracting honey from the interior of a tree ranks up with the most arduous. You have to climb the tree and then chop away at the tree until a hole is opened up into which you can put your hand. That is hard when the bees are attacking you.
There are people who want to have everything be easy and painless, however. They would like to "pretend" they had gotten honey the hard way, but in reality, they only want to deal with the syrupy honeycomb tucked into their cheek!
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: honey, life of ease
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0053
 
National language:Bumo swaʼ, mʉr lele medye nya ó puʼlo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It is only a person who has hard teeth who can chew up dry kernels of corn.
Meaning:There are people who will try to do difficult things who really should spare themselves the trouble, because they are not strong enough to accomplish them. This proverb advises caution for those who would like to do something beyond their powers.
There are few things harder than dry kernels of corn. Someone with really strong molars might succeed in chewing them, but only one among many can accomplish this.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: corn, attempting something beyond your powers
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0054
 
National language:Byɛl a bʉl ó, ɨ nkpah pɨn.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was close to the bank of the stream that the canoe split apart.
Meaning:You may think that you have completed a trip across the river successfully because you are close to the bank, but it is there that one can still have a catastrophe.
There are many times that success eludes you even though you have come very close to clutching it.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: success is elusive, canoe
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0055
 
National language:Byɛl a ntɛŋ go dibe nya, atine nye le ebò pihe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Do not push away with the sole of your foot the canoe that just helped you cross the stream.
Meaning:People can help you succeed in life by caring for you as a child and also help you later on in situations where you again find yourself in need. You should not be ungrateful to them and think that you will never call on them again for help. That would be like crossing a stream in a canoe and then pushing it back into the current, where it will get caught and carried downstream. You may never think that you will need to cross the river again to go back to where you started, but you cannot be sure. Be prudent and pull the canoe up on shore!
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: canoe
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0056
 
National language:Biba biba, byé a jʉ ó Mupaa olul.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was two two that killed the art of forging of Mupaa.
Meaning:There was a blacksmith named Mupaa who was notorious for trying to do two projects at once rather than starting one job and finishing it before starting another project.
There is a risk to divide your attention and your effort between two activities. "Double-tasking" has become a virtue in the realm of computer science, but people need to be advised that they are not going to do their best work by dividing their attentions between two goals.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: dividing your attention between tasks, double-tasking
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0057
 
National language:Bé ǎpera mejwaʼ le akolo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: One doesn't ever compete with a water chevrotain in a swimming match.
Meaning:People are not equally gifted and should not try to compete with each other in a case where the opponent has a natural gifting that the other one lacks.
The water chevrotain is an acquatic mammal that the Nzime believe swims. Opinion on that seems to be that it does not swim in the proper sense, however. "Although water is used as a refuge from predators, they are not capable of swimming for extended periods of time." http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Hyemoschus_aquaticus.html
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: swimming, water chevrotain, mammal, compete, competition, giftedness
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0058
 
National language:Bɛn, yé ǎliŋa su nkuna le edi ɨ medibe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A trunk never turns into a fish because of its staying for a long time in water.
Meaning:You don't ever turn into something else simply through physical association. When a person is created, he has a certain character and potential that will not change simply by moving that person to a new context. He should be content with his nature and be true to it.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: ontology remains, nature is given once
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0059
 
National language:Bɛʼɛ ga mekpaa. Mpɔɔ, nye ɨ kpaa!
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Eliminate the source of illness. Vaccinations hurt!
Meaning:It is easier to prevent illness than to treat it, as this proverb affirms. It is far easier to keep illness from overtaking a community in the first place than to get everyone together to get vaccinated.
The need for public health education is clearly anticipated by this ancient proverb. The vaccination is not a modern innovation, but rather one that has been known about for a long time. They are part of traditional medicine, although their benefits are unproven.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: vaccinations, prevention, illness
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0060
 
National language:Ceme bir lɔɔ lɨ ó, si pa nyɛɛ bee guu.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It's only after seeing a second tree branch that a monkey lets go of the first one.
Meaning:Monkeys are very prudent and clever. They never swing through the trees and let go of one branch without first judging their ability to grab another one.
People, likewise, should not quit one job or leave one home before assessing where they are going to live or work.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: monkey, prudence, looking ahead
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0061
 
National language:«Beyɨɨ me?»-- Nye ǎbe go ɨ dwe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The person who says "Do you see me?" is never one who is in the forest clearing.
Meaning:The person who wants to be the center of attention is never the one that the society has already honored. The one in the "forest-clearing" is honored and known by all. He never draws attention to himself, which would be completely unnecessary. He leaves that to the person that the society considers a nobody.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: self-promoting
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0062
 
National language:Titiʼe, yé ǎlwib dweh. Eleme, lé ó kʉl.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The owl never hoots for no reason. People are practicing sorcery outside.
Meaning:There are never effects without a cause or smoke without fire. If an owl is hooting at night near your house, it can only mean that sorcerors have congregated and are trying to kill someone mystically in your house.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: evil, sorcery
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0063
 
National language:Daa, lé a ndama nzɔɔ ó, ɨ mpuo mekʉ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was due to too many feet that the crab ruined the dance.
Meaning:Too much of a good thing can be the source of disaster. This proverb urges moderation in all things.
There must be a story that has crab going to a dance and then spoiling it for everyone else. It would be very likely that this proverb was the last sentence in such a story.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: nothing in excess, moderation
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0064
 
National language:De mir le edwie, yé ó sɔɔlʉ twiʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: To swallow bitter medicine is to seek life.
Meaning:Health and life are so valued that people do not consider it a burden to swallow bitter medicine. This proverb urges people to take radical measures when necessary in order to achieve those life-sustaining interim goals that they know to be worthwhile.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: medicine
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0065
 
National language:Dibe, yé a sa mimboo ó, lé abe e mʉr sɨʼ ye.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was because there was no one to straighten the stream that it formed bends.
Meaning:This is a variation of the proverb [ozm0040]
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: need for correction
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0066
 
National language:Dibe, yé ǎgʉ ntul.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A stream never flows backwards.
Meaning:Everything follows its own internal causes. There is no stream that flows backwards and no person or society can reverse the force of its own inner dynamics. Everything will proceed according to its own natural laws.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: stream, natural course of events
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0067
 
National language:Dɔm si joo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: There is danger under the bed.
Meaning:The risk of violence and betrayal is often greatest from those who are the closest to you.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: danger, risk, betrayal
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0068
 
National language:Dɔb, lé a su mipɨn ó: «Me dina ó ma ntwom.»
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The tree dɔb missed out on having buttress roots through saying
Meaning:The tree dɔb is a tall, slender tree that does not have buttress roots. Its base is about as wide as the trunk two meters from the ground, which makes it a very nice hardwood tree to cut down and use for the ridge pole. It is said that it would have had buttress roots like the other trees, except for its bad habit of always saying it was "too young" to start developing them.
The point of the proverb is that if you are to become an honored adult, you should develop those habits early in life.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: character formation
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0069
 
National language:Ebara, lé ǎntaa nzam.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A frog can never cross a swamp.
Meaning:There are limits that impose themselves upon everyone, which no one can exceed. A wise person knows what he can undertake and limits himself to that.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: limitations
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0070
 
National language:Eba, lé ó jo moho.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Marriage is sleep in the daytime.
Meaning:It is not enough to gain the love of a woman through your pleasant demeanor as a young man. You must also maintain her love throughout your marriage.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: sleep, marriage, happiness
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0071
 
National language:Ecene lɨ ebya, nkœœ lɨ ebono.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The cephalophe is giving birth and the panther is waiting.
Meaning:Wonderful things like giving birth can be happening at the same time that evil things are imminently threatening. There are evil and good things that take place in close proximity. Sometimes, people even take advantage of one another, spoiling their happiness.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: good events, evil events
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0072
 
National language:Efie abe e mih.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Death does not have eyes.
Meaning:Good people die because death does not see the difference between good people and bad people. This is a way to express your condolescences to someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: death
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0073
 
National language:Bʉr oba, bé ǎdwè dʉo egwar.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Two people never die the same day.
Meaning:Evil things such as death never strike people in general, only individuals. The rest go on living.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: death
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0074
 
National language:Edwɛna, lé ó ekʉm.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Giving away things is saving them.
Meaning:When you do good to others, it is repaid you. They will pay you back when they have it to give.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: doing good, repayment of generosity, generosity
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0075
 
National language:Dʉ̀ tab, yé lɨ eto ó, ɨ nkal bitab.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The leg of the goat goes into the goat pen.
Meaning:Generosity is always a myth. People do not act in a disinterested manner, but rather out of self-interest. This is shown when they kill a goat or a sheep and butcher it. They will not give a piece of it to the widow or to the orphan, since they are poor and cannot repay it. Instead, they look for people with money--or goats and sheep in the sheep-fold-- and give to them, knowing that some day they will repay their "generosity" by giving to them a part of the animals they kill.
This proverb reflects the twin realities of life in the village: (1) there are very few people with cash who can buy a piece of meat, and (2) when cash is earned in a transaction, it is a short-lived joy, since there will be a universal attempt to redistribute the cash. Animals are not as vulnerable to being redistributed as cash.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: goat, self-interest
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0076
 
National language:Ekɔb e tir go bene lɨ, adwe mɨɔɔ go mʉr la.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Don't ever give your fellow man a piece of an animal that you reject.
Meaning:When an animal is cut up, it is distributed down to the last piece. There are some pieces that people do not appreciate receiving. That might be the neck or the head, for instance. The proverb counsels people to give good gifts to others, not those things that they would resent being given by others.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: do to others what you would have them do unto you, Golden Rule, animal, distribution
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0077
 
National language:Ekɔbla mpʉ lʉ mwah.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: To be as complicated as the head of a crayfish.
Meaning:There are things about life that resist figuring out. They are like the head of a crayfish, which seems to lack any internal order.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Badwe'e
Keywords: crawfish, crayfish, shrimp, complicated
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0078
 
National language:Eloʼo me mpiga, nye mʉr tɨʼ ade osu.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The fishing of the dragonfly, he himself not eating fish.
Meaning:The dragonfly hovers close to water and beats its wings. The Nzime observer things it is like a person trying to evacuate the water from a hole in order to get fish that are left behind. But they see that he never eats a fish, despite his expenditure of energy.
The point here is that there are people who work hard and never seem to benefit from their efforts.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: dragonfly, unrewarded efforts
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0079
 
National language:Elɛɛ, lé abe mpʉ esa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: To say something is not to do it.
Meaning:There is a gap between proposing something and accomplishing it. The proverb urges modesty in terms of claiming to be able to do more than one has the competency to accomplish.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: modest claims, realism, exaggeration
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0080
 
National language:Etin le ebò, lé ǎlɛɛ bisa bi kʉʼ; dine alɛɛ byaa bi omɛn.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The heel of your foot never talks about the events of yesterday, nor does the finger talk about the events of tomorrow.
Meaning:One should avoid talking about things that one knows nothing about.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: talk, ignorance
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0081
 
National language:Eswǐm kám bítab.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: To run the race of goats.
Meaning:If one goat starts to run, the rest of the goats will join in and run without knowing why. They are all panicked and do the same thing, whether or not they know why.
This proverb urges people to refrain from entering into senseless activity in a hasty, unreflective manner.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: goats, panic
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0082
 
National language:Esɨa, lé a to nzam ó, lɨ ekpɛɛ menzwɨɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It was through fear of axes that the umbrella tree went into the swamp.
Meaning:The swamp is not an optimal environment. Trees that grow there are thought to be suffering from the dampness. The proverb says that fear of being chopped down lead the umbrella tree to choose to live in the swamp.
People do things from fear that degrade their lives. Their interest in surviving death overrides their interest in quality of life.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: survival instinct, umbrella tree
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0083
 
National language:Gbaʼ e ntile, pɨn ngwar.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The chimpanzee and the gorilla were on the same bank of the stream.
Meaning:The chimpanzee and the gorilla are of the same taxonomic group, and they differ from monkeys. They are not the same species, of course, but they are closer than either is to monkeys. They are said to be "on the same bank of the stream", which indicates that they group themselves together.
The point of this is that people associate with others who are similar to themselves.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: chimpanzee, bank, gorilla, similarities
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0084
 
National language:Gbaʼ a lɛɛ e myɛl ó: «Yé ǎbebe eto.»
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Chimpanzee said to his wife, "It's never bad to have a drop of rain fall on you."
Meaning:The chimpanzee was feeling a drop of rain fall on him and he bravely said that he could put up with this inconvenience. Much worse could have happened.
The point to this proverb is that there are things we are guilty of and deserve punishment for, and they are very serious. Often what we experience is very light and passing punishment, which we can easily put up with.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: chimpanzee, rain, punishment
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0085
 
National language:Guho nʉn lɨ epiilɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Shoot a flying bird.
Meaning:To shoot a flying bird represents the height of skillfulness.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: skillfulness, bird
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0086
 
National language:!Go bwar kʉr nkœœ nɛɛ: duhwo metwoʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you wear the skin of a panther then you should put up with warning cries.
Meaning:You must accept the consequences of your actions.
There are birds that sound the alarm if they see a snake on the forest floor, and they help others by alerting them to danger. If a person is acting like a threat to others, he must expect them to act threatened when he is around.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: panther, accepting consequences,
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0087
 
National language:!Go bee ma mpin lɨ ecɨɨ ɨ ngʉn wa, go ó, osɔŋ, bé a nyɛɛ cɨcɨɨ nteme ó tɨ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you see a small Peter's duiker pass along a trail, you should know that its fathers first passed along that trail.
Meaning:This proverb has a supremely confident attitude toward the transmission of customs from generation to generation. If you see someone doing something, it is because it was a practice handed down from the ancestors.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: Peter's duiker, traditions of the fathers
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0088
 
National language:!Go bee lʉ ma gbaʼ lɨ esaŋɔɔ mpʉʼ nɛɛ: gʉŋaa nteme ó, lʉ ma ntile ósaŋɔɔ ó jwɨʼ gwar yaa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you see the head of a small chimpanzee mistreated like that, be sure that the head of a small gorilla will be mistreated in the same manner.
Meaning:The proverb is a warning to one and all to take stock of the misfortune that is occurring in the lives of others. It may very well occur to any one of us!
The point is that gorillas, like chimpanzees, are killed and eaten, and their skulls are displayed as trophies.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: gorilla, chimpanzee, evil
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0089
 
National language:!Go kpɛl njʉ̌m mʉma wa, duhwo milur.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you fall in love with an old woman, you should put up with her wrinkles.
Meaning:This proverb is a call to faithfulness in a relationship between an older woman and a younger husband. There is no basis for rejecting her later on when the wrinkles appear, since you entered into a relationship knowing that she was older.
People should accept the consequences of their decisions and follow through on their commitments.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: old woman, accept consequences, follow through on commitments
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0090
 
National language:!Go lwib e twoo wa, mekan bintuntu. !Go ka lwib e gʉʼlʉgʉ wa, paʼla mekan.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you speak with wise people, few words. If you speak to stupid people, explain words.
Meaning:In every society, there are people who are intelligent and those who are stupid. The person with an important message to convey does so with economy when there is an intelligent person hearing him, because he has more experiences on which to draw as he hears the "short words" (mekan bintuntu). A stupid person has no context to understand these few words, however. He needs a lengthy explanation.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: proverbs, wise, stupid
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0091
 
National language:!Go pɛʼ mpye puno ɨ num wa, dila nye dwehe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you remove meat from a dog's mouth, then replace it with a bone.
Meaning:You should never remove something of value from a person without replacing it with something comparable, lest you get into a quarrel with him. This proverb will be cited when addressing an attempt to change behavior others find rewarding but which some authorities object to.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: transforming behavior
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0092
 
National language:!Go to ɨ byeme, jʉ twia gwar wa, gwa sweh ye.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If you go on a hunt and kill a blue duiker, dry it well.
Meaning:The blue duiker (cephalophus monticola) is one of the smallest deer. On a hunt with nets, you should be able to kill lots of animals of all sizes. If you only kill one small animal, however, you should dry it over a fire so that you can eat it in the future. Don't eat it all in one setting.
This is advocating parsimony and saving a little bit for future consumption.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: blue duiker, hunt, parsimony, saving, deferring consumption, deferring gratification, cephalophus monticola
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0093
 
National language:Gʉ metia, yé ǎdim ɨ man.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A fool who has questions does not ever get lost at an intersection.
Meaning:If you are foolish and ask questions, you will never get lost. This means that there is no shame in asking questions. Asking questions may identify you as being a fool, but there is less risk in being thought foolish than in getting lost.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: fool, questions
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0094
 
National language:!Gʉ pyal lɨ ebʉm e dibe, nkɛɛ go mikan wa, go sa adu nye. Bɨn bɨbɛh amu jebɔɔ bigʉ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: If a crazy person arrives at a bathing spot in the stream and carries your clothes, you should not follow him. You both risk to be called crazy people.
Meaning:If you are bathing in a stream and your clothes are on the shore, a crazy person may come along and carry them off. You should not follow him, lest you both be seen as crazy people.
Don't respond to bad behavior in an intemperate way, lest you be seen as a bad person.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: crazy, fool, stream, responding badly to bad behavior
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0095
 
National language:Gʉ, yé ǎjeʼe Jaa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A crazy person isn't ever unaware of the Dja River.
Meaning:A crazy person is not ever completely crazy. There is a lot he understands correctly, even if his knowledge of other things is very damaged.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: crazy people, fool, Dja River
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0096
 
National language:Jaa, yé ǎluʼo jyɛʼ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A handsome person never lacks defects.
Meaning:There is nothing obvious about character defects. There are apparently perfect people, handsome and well-built, who have defects that the eye will not see. No one is perfect and if you know the person well, you will be sure to discover their problems.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: handsome person, defects
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0097
 
National language:Joo, yé ǎkomlɔɔ mwan si diʼe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: A bed is never repaired after the child is burned.
Meaning:Beds are on both sides of the fire in the kitchen. If a bed is defective, the child on the bed might fall into the fire and get burned. This is unnecessary and unfortunate, since the bed could have been repaired before the accident.
Prevention is better than a cure. You should anticipate problems and correct those situations that could bring about injury or loss.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: accident, prevention, correcting problems
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0098
 
National language:Dwè koo, dwè mo.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Die at the back and die at the stomach
Meaning:If you are at terrible risk, you may find that there are mortal threats coming at you from all sides, from in front and from behind.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: back, stomach, mortal danger
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0099
 
National language:Ja lɨ odumo si bee mie mbɛr.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Sleep at the end having seen the roof of the house.
Meaning:The end of the village is a strange place to lie down on the cold, damp ground to sleep, especially when you have seen the roof of your house, but this sort of thing is what you find people doing. They may be very close to finding their rest after a difficult period, and they think that it is only a matter of moments and then you discover that you cannot go the last little bit. Disaster strikes and you are still in trouble.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: disaster strikes
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0100
 
National language:Jaa ǎjɨŋɔɔ: «Nko bɨh ɛ!»
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: When you are at the Dja River, you never cry "Help us!"
Meaning:There is a big river in the Nzime area, the Dja, which has a strong current and people can die in it. A canoe of people crossing the river might turn over and they would be at risk of drowning. But you should not cry "Help us!", since there are people who know how to swim and can pull themselves to safety. It's every man for himself in the case of a spill.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: drowning, Dja River, help
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0101
 
National language:"Jebaa mpye", yé ǎbɨbe gua e num.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: You never tell others "Call the dog", if you have a mouth.
Meaning:There are a lot of lazy people who want to tell others to do something that they should be doing for themselves, even such a simple thing as calling a dog to come. People should be self-reliant, when at all possible.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: self-reliance, dog
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0102
 
National language:Jebɔɔ e mesʉm, yé ó mbɨa bisyɛɛla.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Being called with titles is good deeds.
Meaning:There are many titles that you can be called that make you proud and happy, but the secret to having them is by being a good person. You do not have a right to them otherwise.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: titles, good deeds,
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0103
 
National language:Duhwo duhwo ǎbea le etiʼe sihe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: It doesn't ever take long before persevering for a long time cuts a tendon.
Meaning:Nzime place a high value on persevering in the face of things that are inconvenient or onerous. They also tend to overstate how long they can do so successfully. This proverb says that you should not attempt to put up with things too long. If you do, you will suffer personal injury. In this case, you will find that a ligament, vein, or artery (all three are conveyed by sihe) has been cut.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: persevering, limits to persevering
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0104
 
National language:Jʉ nzoʼ, de nteʼe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: He kills an elephant and eats cooked vegetables.
Meaning:The Nzime have a great appreciation for meat and do not think it good to eat green vegetables. They reserve their salt for when they have meat to eat, so "eating salt" is the same as eating meat or fish. Nte'e is cooked greens without meat or fish, and so it is also without salt. They do not value it. The proverb describes a person who has succeeded in life and should be living prosperously but isn't. He has "killed an elephant" in the sense of getting a good job, or at least one that he has to work hard at, but he is not rewarded by doing it.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: elephant, not benefiting from prosperity
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0105
 
National language:Koo sí kar mbeʼ. Go ó mo, wé e nkul ekoʼo?
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The back failed to carry the burden. You think that the belly will be able to succeed?
Meaning:People are all too quick to think that they can succeed where others have tried and failed. One example might be a child who wants to attempt something that his parents failed at. This proverb says that the weak cannot succeed where the strong have failed already.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: belly, back, failure, burdens
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0106
 
National language:Kpaʼ nkom ɨ́ medibe.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Carving a drum in water.
Meaning:The proverb means that secret deeds will all be discovered by others.
Suppose you want to make yourself a drum that no one will know about, and you say that you'll do it at the bottom of the stream. You take your log down there and start chipping away at the interior of the log, hollowing it out to make the drum. Your efforts at doing something in a secretive manner will nevertheless be a failure, since the woodchips will rise tothe surface of the stream and flow downstream where the village bathes and gets water. They will all learn about your "secret" activity.
Nothing can be kept secret for long.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: drum, secret activities
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0107
 
National language:Kpaʼ a lɛɛ ó: «Edyɛl ntʉʼ egwar.»
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The francolin partridge said, "There is not just one place to turn off of the path."
Meaning:The wild partridge is sometimes seen on a road or a trail, where the bushes are thought to be thick on either side. You might think that he is far from a place where he can turn into the forest and find safety, but in fact, he is clever and resourceful and can find many places where he can get off of the road and hide himself in the forest.
The proverb reminds us that there are often multiple solutions to a problem, and that no one should try to deceive you into believing that he has found the only solution.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: solutions to problems, francolin, partridge
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0108
 
National language:Kpɛla e mʉr ó jʉ mʉr.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Making friends with a person kills a person.
Meaning:Becoming a close friend with a person creates vulnerability, and it could lead to betrayal and ones own undoing.
This proverb says that you can be killed by the very people you befriend. Your "best friend" may end up killing you.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: friendship, betrayal
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0109
 
National language:Kpɛl ǎduhwo mpɔʼa.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Love never tolerates separation.
Meaning:Love suffers when lovers are separated from each other. It is important to continue in close association with those you love in order to see your mutual affection continue.
Translation Fr: L'amour ne tolère jamais la séparation.
Meaning Fr: L'éloignement tue l'amour.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: love, separation
Ethnologue code:ozm
Similar proverb
other language:
Loin des yeux, loin du cœur.
Proverb id:ozm0110
 
National language:Abiʼla ekʉa, nye a dumo ó mpɨr binkɔɔ.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: The broken spear knocked to the ground the chests of the heroes.
Meaning:One should never despise the small person among you. He may create the greatest surprise by doing great deeds that no one could have imagined possible.
Explanation by
mother tongue
speaker:
Mekʉa dam twaʼwo, gulwo micene, mé lumo ó mpɨr binkɔɔ. No ó, yé lɨ elɛɛ bʉr ó, sa bɨn pyeh yɨ, yé ó di elɨr sa bʉr di ekâm yɨ.
Explanation by
mother tongue
speaker En:
Even if spears are small with short shafts, they can pierce the chests of the heroes. So it tells people that the thing that you despise, it is able to destroy the thing you honor.
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: short, spear, heroes, destroy, despise
Ethnologue code:ozm
Proverb id:ozm0111
 
National language:Mbol nkom.
With Phonemic tones:
Morphemes:
Translation: Rotten varan.
Meaning:There is a supersticious curse associated with finding a dead and rotting varan--a large lizard. It is believed that the curse will follow you wherever you go. There is no avoiding it.
The meaning of this is more broadly that you are faced with no good choices, only bad. It is like "Dwe koo, dwe mo" in that respect.
Translation Fr:
Meaning Fr:
Dialect info: Nzime
Keywords: varan, curse
Ethnologue code:ozm
Similar proverb
other language:
You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.
Proverb id:ozm0112
 

Total number of records: 113