Sudanese Proverbs: Translated, Translitrated & Explained

BookCoverPreview[1]

Our book on Sudanese Proverbs is now available as a print on demand book.

The cover was created on a Createspace template which only allows certain options. Nevertheless we were very pleased to receive the cover image from the Sudanese artist, Ahmed Amir Jabir.

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Sudanese Proverbs: Translated, Transliterated & Explained (finally finished!)

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Our book on Sudanese Arabic Proverbs is thankfully finally seeing the light of day!

Here is the description of the e-book :

This collection of proverbs provides a fascinating glimpse into the culture, social morals, historical traditions and humour of the Sudanese people. Learning some of these proverbs can be a great way of sharing your sense of humour or expressing an opinion without having to stumble on words that might be misunderstood. For the most part, these succinct sayings call for virtues that encourage solidarity, peace and coherence within society.

  • Contains over 560 Sudanese Arabic proverbs that are commonly used in the Sudan.
  • Each proverb has an English translation.
  • The transliterated script guides pronunciation and assists beginners in learning the Arabic language.
  • Concise notes explain the meaning and cultural background of each proverb.
  • Includes a dozen folk-tales linked to individual proverbs.
  • An alphabetical index is supplied for easy reference.

The book can be purchased on the Amazon website

(We hope to publish a print on demand version as well.)

The Camel’s Crooked Neck – a Sudanese Proverb

 

Camels in Dar Kababish

Camels in Dar Kababish

 

الجَمل ما بشوف عوجة رقبته

 

aj jamal ma bishuuf ‘awajat ragabtu.

The camel does not see the bend of its neck.

This proverb is said about people who are very good at condemning others while ignoring their own faults and mistakes.

 

 

More Sudanese Arabic Proverbs

These proverbs from Sudan all have an animal theme.

الجَمل ما بشوف عوجة رقبته
aj jamal ma bishuuf ‘awajat ragabtu.
The camel does not see the bend of its neck. This proverb is said about people who are very good at condemning others and ignoring their own faults and mistakes. (An English proverb with a similar meaning could be: the pot called the kettle black)

ابن الوز عوام.
ibn al wizz ‘awwaam.
A gosling is a good swimmer. Like father, like son. Children take after their parents, not only in looks but also in their character.

Another proverb with a similar meaning would be:
ود الفار حفار.
waddal faar Hafaar.
The son of a mouse is a digger. Sons inherit their fathers’ traits and characters.

Sudanese Proverbs (part 3)

الايدو في النار ما زي الايدو في الموية.

 

al iidu fil naar ma zeey al iidu fil mooya.

Putting your hand in the fire is not like putting it in the water.

Sometimes we criticize or consider people actions or reactions to a certain situation as wrong or improper. These actions might be the outcomes of the effects imposed on them by the circumstances of the situation or the ordeal they are passing through which are different from those of the person who is criticizing them.

الخيل تجقلب والشكر لحماد.

al kheel tajaglib wash shukur li Hammaad.

The horses run, prance and gallop about in the battle field but when victory is won, Hammaad gets the praise. (Hammaad was one of Abdalla Jamaa’s sons and was the leader of the Abdallaab district.)

Sudanese Proverbs (2)

1) ya’mil min al-Habba gubba (makes a dome out of a seed).

A similar proverb in English would be: to make a mountain out of a molehill. (this means that a person has turned a trifle matter into a major disaster!)

2) al-kheel tajaglib wash shukur li Hammaad (The horses run, prance and gallop about in the battle field but when victory is won, praise goes to Hammaad). Hammaad was one of Abdalla Jamaa’s sons and leader of the Abdallaab district.

Sudanese Arabic Proverbs

Learning proverbs in a foreign language is a great way of expressing your sense of humour about certain situations without having to try and make jokes that might not really be appropriate.

While in England during the summer I heard an old proverb being used to describe the admiration that a mother had for her children: “all her geese are swans” Which means that in a mother’s eyes her children are the most beautiful and special children in the world. Of course all children should be lovely in their own mother’s eyes but there are occasions when some mothers lose their sense of reality!

This reminded me of a couple of very similar proverbs that we have in Sudanese Arabic. Continue reading