Proverbs

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The Tuva vernacular term for the proverb is үлегер домак (üleger domak, exemplary saying), or чечен сөс (čečen sös, eloquent word): a piece of wisdom casted in a stylized form.

Tuva proverbs typically consist of two propositions, one of which gives a straightforward comment on all things human, while the other presents an observation of nature, to validate and generalize the comment. These observations of nature often derive from animal husbandry; especially the horse takes a prominent place in Tuva proverbs.

Both statements are welded together through stylistic devices, such as rhyme and parallellism. The rhyme usually takes the form of vertical alliteration, or head rhyme, that is, both propositions of a proverb start with the same vowel, or consonant and vowel. Horizontal alliteration within one proposition occurs frequently as well. Grammatical rhyme occurs due to the fact that the two propositions of the proverb run parallel.


Ада чокта чартык өскүс,

Ава чокта бүдүн өскүс.


Ada čokta čartïk ösküs, ava čokta büdün ösküs.

Without father - half orphan, without mother - complete orphan.


Биче чалгаа улуг чалгаага чедер.


Biče čalgaa ulug čalgaaga čeder.

Small laziness leads to big laziness.


Боду ушкан уруг ыглавас.


Bodu uškan urug ïglavas.

The child that falls by itself does not cry.


Буура кырыыр,

Бодаган өзер.


Buura kïrïïr, bodagan özer.

The camel stallion grows old, the camel foal grows up.


Даартагы чагдан бөгүнгү өкпе дээре.


Daartagï čagdan bögüngü ökpe deere.

Today's lung is better than tomorrow's fat.

(Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow).


Даг аьтты човадыр,

Кылык ботту човадыр.


Dag ahttï čovadïr, kïlïk bottu čovadïr.

The mountain makes the horse suffer, anger makes oneself suffer.


Даг көрбейн эдээң азынма,

Суг көрбейн идиң ужулба.


Dag körbeyn edeeŋ azïnma, sug körbeyn idiŋ užulba.

Without seeing the mountain, do not tuck up your skirt, without seeing the water, do not take off your boots.

(Do not act prematurely).


Далашкан күске сүтке дүжер.


Dalaškan küske sütke düžer.

The hurrying mouse falls into the milk.

(Haste makes waste).


Думчукка тулганда бызаа сугжу.


Dumčukka tulganda bïzaa sugžu.

When [water] reaches up to the nose, the calf is a swimmer.


Кадарчыга дайангыыш херек,

Хаалгага сенчи херек.


Kadarčïga dayangïïš xerek, xaalgaga senči xerek.

A herdsman needs a staff, a door needs a bolt.


Кижи өзер,

Кидис шөйлүр.


Kiži özer, kidis šöylür.

Man grows up, felt wears out.

(The old grow old, the young grow up).


Кудук суунда балык чок,

Кургаг ыяшта бүрү чок.


Kuduk suunda balïk čok, kurgag ïyašta bürü čok.

There is no fish in well-water, there is no leaf on dry wood.


Кускун кара-даа болза төлүнге ынак.


Kuskun kara-daa bolza tölünge ïnak.

Even though it is black, the raven loves its young.


Куш уялыг,

Кижи чурттуг.


Kuš uyalïg, kiži čurttug.

A bird has a nest, man has a home.


Кырган аьт орук часпас.


Kïrgan aht oruk časpas.

The old horse will not mistake the road.


Кээргеннер тоорук чуур,

Хелиңнер эреге чуур.


Keergenner tooruk čuur, xeliŋner erege čuur.

Nutcrackers crack cedar seeds, monks crack rosary beads.


Мал киштежип таныжар,

Кижи чугаалажып таныжар.


Mal kištežip tanïžar, kiži čugaalažïp tanïžar.

Livestock become acquainted by neighing to one another, people become acquainted by talking to one another.


Мурнай үнген кулакты соңнай үнген мыйыс эртер.


Murnay üngen kulaktï soŋnay üngen mïyïs erter.

The horn that came out last will pass the ear that came out first.

(The pupil surpasses the master).


Өдүрээн часса-даа, xөлүн часпас.


Ödüreen čassa-daa, xölün časpas.

Even though he misses his duck, he will not miss his lake.

(To be not entirely mistaken).


Сөглээн сөс,

Керткен ыяш.


Sögleen sös, kertken ïyaš.

A spoken word, carved wood.

(One should keep one's promise).


Xат чокта сиген бажы шимчевес.


Xat čokta sigen bažï šimčeves.

Without wind, the ears of the grass do not move.

(There is no smoke without a fire).


Xырны тотса-даа, караа тотпас.


Xïrnï totsa-daa, karaa totpas.

Even though his stomach is satiated, his eye will not be satiated.


Чаңгыс инектиң мыйызын кагарга, муң инектиң мыйызы аарыыр.


Čaŋgïs inektiŋ mïyïzïn kagarga, muŋ inektiŋ mïyïzï aarïïr.

When hitting the horn of a single cow, the horns of a thousand cows hurt.

(A community is troubled when one member is troubled).


Чут болурга ыт семириир,

Аарыг болурга лама байыыр.


Čut bolurga ït semiriir, aarïg bolurga lama bayïïr.

When there is killing weather, the dogs grow fat, when there is disease, the lamas grow rich.


Чыткан теве аксынче каңмыыл кирбес.


Čïtkan teve aksïnče kaŋmïïl kirbes.

Tumbleweed will not enter into the mouth of the lying camel.

(No pain, no gain).


Чыткан теве аксынга каңмыыл кирген.


Čïtkan teve aksïnga kaŋmïïl kirgen.

Tumbleweed entered the mouth of the lying camel.

(Said of a person who is lucky without taking trouble).


Ыт кудуруун айбылаар.


Ït kuduruun aybïlaar.

The dog orders its tail.

(To shirk work).


Эки кижээ эш xөй,

Эки аьтка ээ xөй.


Eki kižee eš xöy, eki ahtka ee xöy.

A good person has many friends, a good horse has many masters.