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Guyanese Proverbs

Last updated: January 4, 2018 at 3:24 am

wisdom photoA Proverb is a general observable truth about life which has been passed down from generation to generation. Aside from the biblical book of Proverbs which is believed to have been inspired by God, there are many other proverbs peculiar to a particular people, region or country.

While a proverb is considered a general acceptable truth, it can be disputed. One such is the Proverb from the bible, “spare the rod and spoil the child,” which suggests that corporal punishment is the correct method for disciplining a growing child. This Proverb has been the subject of widespread debate across peoples, cultures, nations and schools.

Here are some Guyanese Proverbs that has been passed down through the years. They are spoken in the colloquial “broken down” English, which is a mix between standard English and East Indian or African languages.

What rain can’t full, dew can’t full. This means that something that usually takes a long time to get done cannot be achieved suddenly overnight. Parents sometimes tell their children this when they try to study only the night before the exam. If they couldn’t master the subject in one year, they can’t master it by staying up all night before the exams.

When you do good, you hold wood; when you do bad, you see God. This proverb suggests that, because of the inherent ungratefulness of people, those who seek to help and do good to others often end up getting hurt both emotionally, financially, and others. On the other hand, it seems observable that those who exploit others and do selfish acts end up winning. This is a highly disputed proverb, but many people agree that humans can be thankless.

Old man doesn’t run, but he catches. This means that when you do something bad to someone and that person doesn’t go after you, the bad deed eventually catches up with you in some form or the other.

Everyday the bucket goes to well, one day the bottom must fall off. This means that if you keep doing some wrong, one day you will get caught.

One-one dutty (mud block) builds a dam. This means that just as one piece of dirt after the other is thrown on top of the other to build a dam to prevent water, so one productive act after the other will eventually yield great results.

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