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Students in Uzbekistan Explain Proverbs

In each country, proverbs and sayings provide insights into simple truths and beliefs of the people.

Rachel Ravan, who teaches in English as a Foreign Language in Uzbekistan, submitted these proverbs on behalf of her students. The students in her class range from high school to post-university. The class includes Russian, Uzbek, Kazak, Korean, and Tartar students.

. Uzbek Proverb

Don’t take gold, take knowledge; knowledge is gold.

It means humans have to study, learn, be wise, sensible, intelligent, clever, and take knowledge. The human must not think about riches. One needn't be rich without knowledge, nobody will respect you, all will smile on you. You must study, take knowledge and intelligence; knowledge itself brings riches. This ancient proverb Alisher Navoi said "A language is a gem of which we cannot express value."

Farrukh Yusapov (Uzbek)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: Everything will end.

Trees don't grow forever. People don't live forever. Also, ways will end. People are born, grow old, and die.

Ruslan Balmukhamedov (Uzbek)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Do not say "Gop" until you have jumped over the barrier.

It is a Russian proverb that teaches is not to be too self-confident. Unfortunately it frequently happens that people lose attention while doing their business. They are sure that everything will be all right, but then all their business fails. People should celebrate their success after their work is done.

Dima Pak (Korean)

. Russian Proverb

In English: A man who doesn't want to be a general is a bad soldier.

This Russian proverb means that people shouldn't be passive, we must always strive for some better things. It also means if a person doesn't have great plans, he will never be successful.

Dima Pak (Korean)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Knowing many languages allows one to have many keys to open doors.

It means that a man knowing a mother tongue of somebody is allowed to have many more possibilities to win somebody's confidence and friendship.

Nataly Yakavleva (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: The eyes are afraid of, but the hands do.

This is an old Russian proverb. And I completely agree with it. Very often when we have plenty of work, it doesn't matter mental or physical work, we imagine that it is too hard for us, and we just can't do it, but when we start doing it, we suddenly learn that it's not terribly hard as we thought.

Vera Azizova (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: East or West, home is best.

That's true. When you're at home you feel more comfortable and self-confident than when you are not. At home you know everything and you may do whatever you want.

Vera Azizova (Russian)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: For me, it's not enough to be able to do forty professions.

Uzbek people, especially men, must do everything for their family. He must know everything absolutely, maybe repairing, driving, watering the plants, etc. That's why Uzbek people thought about this proverb.

Mukhiddin Sultanov (Uzbek)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Morning is wiser than evening.

I'll try to explain: If you had to do a difficult task in the evening, it is better to put it off (delay it) until morning because your brain will understand it better.

Artyom Abakumov (Russian)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: One head is good, two are better.

It means that in some situations one may not be able to find a way out of a problem and may be at his or her wit's end. It's a time when somebody else can help him or her or, at least, direct him. They can be of help in making a conclusion when one may know all the facts but can't bring them together.

I have had many experiences of this truthful proverb in my life. One of them is when there is an exam coming soon, my two classmates and I come together and study in the evenings. Each of us can prepare by herself. But sometimes there are points that prevent us from understanding the material further. In this case we enumerate all the possible varieties of the answer and solve the problem by finding a more truly seemed answer. Than we say one head is good, two or better.

Nargiza Durdu (Uzbek)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.

This proverb means a familiar enemy is better than an unfamiliar enemy. From a familiar enemy you know what to expect because before he did bad things towards you. And from an unfamiliar enemy you never know what to expect because you don't know him or her. You always have to beware of him.

Nazira Akshabakova (Kazakh)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Without labour you'll not get fish from the pond

This proverb is rather popular in Russia. It means if you want to get a good job you must work and study hard. Without studying you'll not be able to be a specialist in your job, so it would be difficult for you to get a good job. And it's very important for your future. Learning is hard but life without learning is harder. I'm really in a agreement with this proverb.

Galiya Khasanova (Tatar)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Without labour you'll not get fish from the pond.

This proverb tells people that we should work. It means if you want to have a good future, you must study. This proverb means that without trying it's not possible to do anything good

Davron Mirsagatov (Uzbek)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Not all shining things can be golden.

Sometimes when we see somebody or something from outside it's nice. But if we will look deeper we can be disappointed. Sometimes when we see somebody or something from the outside, it's nice. But if we will look deeper we can be disappointed.

Example: Sometimes you meet a person who is always trying to be nice to you. Then you start thinking that he likes you and is not going to do anything bad to you. But you don't know what he has on his mind. And you are getting to know him better, you feel there is something wrong. Finally, you understand that he uses you as he wants, then you're disappointed.

Svetlana Kudimova (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Promise little, but do much

This proverb means that if you promise something you must do it. Sometimes we can promise very much, but we can forget it. For example, my friend Natasha came to me and asked me to help her. But I was very busy because I did my homework. I promised her, but I knew that I couldn't help her.

Elena Ilyushina (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Live and learn.

This proverb was repeated by V. Lenin, who told many people. He knew that you must learn in your life because knowledge is all life of men. Without knowledge, people are nothing.

Elena Ilyushina (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Speech is silver, but silence is gold.

Sometimes (in some situations) we must keep silence so that nobody is offended.

Elena Ilyushina (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Man proposes, God disposes.

Everyone is planning what he/she should do and the person thinks, "I'll do so and so." But as a rule not everything happens how we wish. For everything, God's willing.

Tatyana Valitova (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: As known, everyone chooses the company and friends where he feels

tAs known, everyone chooses the company and friends where he feels himself good and comfortable. Because they say, "show me your friend and I'll show you who you are."

Tatyana Valitova (Russian)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: Money isn't everything.

Some people think that everything in the world can be bought. But it is wrong. I think we can't buy friends, parents, family, or health. If a person gets ill and has much money, he can't buy his health with money. For example, I think many people know the ex-president of Russia, Gorbechev. He had a wife. She was ill. She went to the USA and had medical treament, but unfortunately it didn't help. Money isn't everything.

Lola Sharapova (Uzbek)

. Uzbek Proverb

In English: First think, after speak.

In Uzbek: Avral oyla, keyin soyla

This proverb means that it is better to think and afterwards speak. If you don’t think you may say something you could be ashamed of among other people and find yourself in an awkward situation.

One day three girls were talking about their families. One girl was very proud of her father and was praising him. But one of the girls didn’t have a father. She heard the friends praise and thought, “Why haven’t I a father? If I had a father I should speak with power about him too…” The first girl didn’t think about her speech. When she remembered that her friend hadn’t a father, it was too late and she apologized her friend.

Kamola Ibragahimova (Uzbek)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Without working you can't catch a fish from the pond.

I think this proverb is false when you are a small boy. When you are a small boy, everything comes from your parents: money, toys, food. But when you have work, this proverb is true. In these times you must give some money to your parents. And you must take this money by working. So, without working you can't catch the fish from the pond.

Malik Olmonov (Uzbek)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Experience can be deceptive or all that glitters is not gold.

This proverb means, when for example, you see one person and like him, you say that he or she is very beautiful, his face looks kind, but when you know him closer and he shows you his character, you'll know that he is not kind, etc. And in this way you can say experience can be deceptive.

Jane Unshikova (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: Spring ice is deceptive, and a new friend is insecure.

This proverb compares spring ice and a new friend. You can't be certain that if you tread on the ice, it will not crack and you'll not fall into the water. Also with a new friend, you can't confide you secrets in him because you will be afraid that he will tell somebody your secrets. There is another proverb which is like this one: "An old friend is better than two."

Nastya Samolyova (Russian)

. Russian Proverb

In English: There is no place like home.

It means that all people have their own Motherland. When someone goes to another country or city he is bored and he always wants to come back. For example, I was born in Samarkand. And when we came to Tashkent. I always wanted to come back; we called everyday to our relatives. And now we go back to Samarkand every holiday, because there is no place like home. We can't forget our home.

Anatoliy Pak (Korean)

. Russian Proverb

In English: If you live in the forest, you'll pray to the stubs.

This proverb is about customs. It means that what kind of customs you live with depends on which nation you live in. For example, my parents were born in Russia and they came to Uzbekistan when they were adults. I was born here in Tashkent. And I want to say that our family respects and knows Uzbek customs and traditions very well.

Lerida Fathulina (Tatar)

. Uzbek Proverb

In Uzbek Oz tiling oz dushmaning.

In English: Your tongue is your enemy.

This proverb means that your tongue can be your enemy when you speak something without thinking about the consequences. If it happens when you're in a large group, your respect will be lost and no regrets can help you.

Nargiza Ibragahimova Fazilovna (Uzbek)

Tell us about a proverb from your country. Explain what it means. Give an example to show how it is true. Send it to

Read about proverbs from other countries: International Proverbs: Simple Truths

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