25 Assamese Idioms,Phrases and Proverbs Translated into English

Recently, I happened to stumble upon a blog post which showcased a few gems of African proverbs translated into English and to be honest, I was simply amazed and dumbfounded at the beauty. At the same moment however, I couldn’t help but wonder that my mother tongue, Assamese, the sweetest of languages, had a few tricks up its sleeve too and that is when with the help of Raj Kishore Gogoi and ChunuRanjan Dutta, two over-enthusiastic idle fellows like myself, we decided to translate a few of the Assamese gems into English. Well, the saying goes that the essence is lost when something is translated and I along with Gogoi and Dutta are of the same view but so that the world or the six foreign people that read my blog, get a glimpse of what Assamese literature hides, we indulged into a four or five hour session trying to retain the original wordings in a decent and proverbial fashion while translating as far as possible. This task of course, has been done on numerous times by more recognised writers and better than ours. Albeit, ours is a humble attempt of us novice and a few errors may creep in somewhere. Here Goes!

1.Words grace a man, Words disgrace a man.1481313870756

2.The millstone used in grinding wheat must not be unknown.


3. An old cow doesn’t die on a vulture’s wish


4.The sum earned in sin is spent on its atonement.


5. A priest is judged by his prayers and a cow by the its pasture.


6.Two hands are needed to set the plates, but only one thumb holds the spoon.


7.A bird’s spring, it sings, A man’s spring, it swines.


8. A fish is caught on a fishing-rod not because of the fisherman’s skill but because of the fish’s greed.


9. Earn like a pauper, live like a prince. Poverty is his and he is poverty’s.


10. The stick, the spear and the broom comes off the same plant of bamboo.


11. The metal which hasn’t seen fire cannot be moulded .


12.  It doesn’t matter if it was Rama or Ravana who killed him. For him, death is death.


13. Two bulls fought; the grass beneath them died.


14. A gardener forgets not his flower’s death. A snake forgets not the blows it had.


15. No matter how sharp a chisel is, it only cuts when it strikes.


16. Only the one who travels to a dozen places learns a dozen things.


17. The grains of rice differ from stalk to stalk. And so do men


18. Sharing the cake ends your hunger, Stealing it for self only starts it.


19. Bright in the skin, dark in the gut.


20. Harvest knocks on his door and he’s still mending his plough.


21.Each bird feeds on the fish, the kingfisher is blamed for the crime.


22. A wolf in sleep can’t catch the sheep.


23.  Even the tiniest of ants survives the flood when in the swarm


24. The boys are spoiled in the narrow streets and the girls in the great baths.


25. The flesh of a deer is its true enemy


Thank You for reading!

P.S. In #17, It should have been ‘so do’…

In #24, It should be ‘spoiled’ and also’হয়’ instead of ‘হৈ’.

35 thoughts on “25 Assamese Idioms,Phrases and Proverbs Translated into English

  1. Your wonderful translations verify what I’ve always suspected: we, the people of the world, have similar wisdom to impart. We, the people of the world, teach our children the same cautions. We, the people of the world, no matter the language, are all the same…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading your translations to these words of wisdom. As one who is fond of wordplay, I could not resist suggesting an ever so slight, one word revision to #5.

    A Pastor is judged by his prayers and a cow by its pasture.

    Liked by 1 person

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