Portuguese proverbs by Justė Urbonavičiūtė

“Na adversidade é que se prova a amizade” is translated as “Friendship is proven in adversity" and has the equivalent in English as “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. This proverb states that the true friend is the one who helps you in trouble and not the one who turn his/her back when problems arise. So the real friends and the stability of the friendship can be tested in adversity. Lithuanian equivalent for this proverb is “Draugą bėdoje pažinsi“.

“Mais vale um pássaro na mão do que dois a voar” has the meaning of “A bird in the hand has more worth than two flying” in English. It suggests that sometimes it is better to be satisfied with your current situation than have great expectations and go for things which will not necessarily become yours. ‘The bird in hand’ refers to stability and ‘two flying’ implies things which may not be likely to happen. In this case Lithuanians say “Geriau žvirblis rankoje, negu briedis girioje“.

“Cão que ladra não morde” is translated into English as “Barking dog doesn’t bite”. This proverb conveys the idea that people who only talk are not as dangerous as they might seem from their talking. So often threatening words expressed in pompous manner are not dangerous at all as they do not lead to action. “Daug loja, bet nekanda” is the Lithuanian equivalent for this proverb.

All in all, what these proverbs show is that despite small linguistic differences (as in the second proverb “A bird in the hand has more worth than two flying” Portuguese use only the image of two birds while Lithuanians employ the image of moose for the same thing instead) the sayings in different cultures are quite the same. This leads to the fact that every nation shares universal truth no matter how it might be expressed.

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