French proverbs – Episode 2: Animal wisdom

So do you enjoy looking at adorable animals?

Who doesn’t, no?

Maybe this is why we enjoy watching kitten and puppy videos on Youtube so much!

They’re just a complete joy and some can even be important members of the family!

Check out the article below to find out more about how animals are part of the French language!

French Proverbs-Episode 2

Make sure you read the proverbs below – when you hear them in conversation, you really want to know what they mean – or else may be excluded from the fun.

The most fascinating element of proverbs is their multi-dimensionality for sure, but their strongest dimension is cultural. They act as references, intervening in situations where communication is shared by speakers of the same language, but where metaphor is needed. With it they express the often conservative and contradictory wisdoms of the time, as well as everyday experience.

We all know that animals and children have their own wisdom. But how can we learn from them – or should we?
French language has such a depth of wisdom, and it tells us that yes, we should open our ear to those who don’t speak and borrow some of their unorthodox approach to a beautiful life.

Here are some of the most popular proverbs that have animals as a theme.

A little bird whispered in my ear…

« Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire la grimace. »
You can’t teach anything to someone who has a lot of experience.

« Quand on parle du loup on en voit la queue. »
When talking about someone (usually speaking ill), that person suddenly shows up.

« Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué »
You don’t own yet something you didn’t yet acquire. You should not celebrate the victory too soon.

« Les loups ne se mangent pas entre eux. »
The evil people sympathize and support each other.

« Il faut hurler avec les loups. »
You must adapt to the customs of the people you hang out with.

« Petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid. »
We must have patience and perseverance if we want to get results.

Aren’t they ultra fun?

« Qui va à la chasse perd sa place. »
When we are absent, we are often the loser because when we come back, someone has taken our place.

« Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf. »
One who steals small things can also steal large ones. A little mischief can also be a big one.

« Il ne faut pas mettre la charrue avant les boeufs. »
You have to do things in order, do not start them from the end.

« Il ne faut pas mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier. »
You should think ahead about more opportunities to diversify your assets and resources.

« La nuit tous les chats sont gris. »
In certain circumstances, everything looks the same. In a complicated situation, it is difficult to judge.

« Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent. »
When the boss is gone, we can do what we want.

« Chien qui aboie ne mord pas. »
Those who make the most noise are not always the most dangerous.

Now it is your turn:

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Llyane S.
TutorOcean Tutor | + posts

Hi, I'm Llyane! I am a french tutor licensed by the Ministry of Education France who is also in the process of obtaining n the process of obtaining the International Certificate of Language Coaching. I offer personalized French language coaching for students of all ages and abilities.

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