So, I don't know about you, but I am on my mom's (and of all of her Haitian friends...) email listserv, where they send me the most interesting emails on a daily basis. I was pleased to open this one up the other day, and wanted to share. I don't know where it's from, but it's great.
Our people have so much wisdom, humor....and sass.
Like in every culture, Haitian Creole is full with many valuable, wise and intelligent sayings and proverbs. They are extensively used in every day conversations, especially in rural areas. We have gathered a list of some of the most popular ones, with their English translation for your enjoyment and perhaps you might apply them in your own life.
-Piti piti, zwazo fè nich.
Little by little birds build their nests.
-Nan pwem lapriyè ki pa gen amen.There is no prayer without its amen.
-Sa'k rive kodenn nan, ka rive kòk la.
What happened to the turkey, can happen to the rooster.
-Sak vid pa kanpe.
An empty sack doesn't stand.
-Manman chen pa mode
pitit li jouk nan zo.
Female dog never bites
its' puppies to the bones.
-Sonje lapli ki leve mayi ou la.
Remember the rain that grew you your corn.
-Anpil men chay pa lou.
Many hands make a load lighter.
-Avan ou ri moun bwete, gad
jan ou mache.
Before laughing at those
who limp, check the way you walk.
-Bab pi long, men sousi pi vye.
Beard is longer, but eyebrows are older.
pa janm long.
The road to need is never too long.
-Depi ou nan labatwa, fok san vole sou ou.
If you are in the slaughter house, blood will get on you.
-Dèyè mòn gen mòn.
Behind the mountains, there are mountains.
-Evite miyò pase
To avoid is better than to ask for forgiveness.
-Jan ou vini, se jan yo resevwa ou.
The way you come,
is the way they will receive you.
Lè ou wè yon vye zo sou
chimen ou, sonje li t gen chè sou li.
When you see an old bone on your path, remember that it had skin on it once.
lagè avèti pa touye kokobe.
A warning of war doesn't kill the handicaps.
Pitit tig se tig.
The offspring of the tiger, are tigers.
Lè chat pa la, rat pran kay.
When the cat is not there, the rat take over the house.
Zanmi lwen se lajan sere, zanmi pre se kouto de bò.
Friends who are far away are money saved; friends who are close by are double edged knives.
Timoun fronte fè bab nan simityè.
Rude kids grow beards in the cemetery.
Twou manti pa fon.
The hole of lie, is not too deep.
Malere pa bwòdè.
The poor is not picky.
Avan chen manje zo, li mezire machwè'l.
Before the dog eats bones, he measures his jaw.
File kouto, veye dwèt ou.
Sharpen the knife, watch out for your fingers.
Padon pa geri maleng.
Sorry doesn't heal the scars.
Pa konnen pa al lajistis.
The "I don't know" don't go to court.
Makak Sou pa dòmi douvan pòt chen.
A drunk monkey doesn't sleep in front of a dog house.
Bay piti pa chich.
To give little is not being cheap.
Avèk pasyans w'ap wè tete foumi.
you will see an ant's breast.
Bouch granmoun santi,
pawòl nan bouch li pa santi.
The mouth of an old person might stink, but the words of that mouth don't stink.
Wont pi lou pase sak sèl.
Shame is heavier
than a bag of salt.
Toujou gen retay kay tayè.
There's always leftovers at the tailor's house.
Sòt pa touye, men li fè ou swe.
Stupidities doesn't kill, but makes you sweat.
Nan pwen metye ki pa nouri mèt li.
There's no craft that will not feed the craftsman.
Maladi pa konn vanyan.
Illness doesn't know the brave.
Lang pa lanmè, men li ka neye ou.
The tongue is not the sea,
but it can drown you.
Kouto pa janm grate manch li.
Knife can never scratch its handle.
Chen gen kat pye, li pa kouri nan kat chimen.
Dogs has four legs, but can't run in four paths at the same time.
Fanm pou yon tan, manman pou toutan.Wife for a time, mother for all time.
Grangou se mizè, vant plen se traka.
Hunger is misery,
a full stomach is trouble.
Kay koule twonpe solèy, men li pa ka twonpe lapli.
A leaking house (roof) fool the sun, but cannot fool the rain.
-Kote yo plimen kodenn, poul pa ri.
Where they pluck turkeys, chicken do not laugh.
-Lè pye bwa jwe ak van, li pèdi fèy li.
When the tree play with the wind, it loses its leaves.
-Madichon ou bay bèlmè ou, se li'k rive manman ou.
The curse that you give to your step mom, will happen to your mother.
-Malè pa gen klaksonn.
Misfortune has no horn.
-Menm nan lanfè gen moun pa.
Even in hell there are people from your clan.
-Moun ki bezwen deyò, chache chemen pòt.
He who must go out, search for the door.
-Pa pèdi founo pou yon grenn pen.
Don't loose the oven for a bread.
-Pòt tè pa goumen ak pòt fè.
A clay pot must not wrestle with the iron pot.
-Sa ou plante se li ou rekolte.
What you sow is what you will harvest.
-Se soulye ki konn si chosèt gen twou.
It is the shoe that knows if the sock has a hole.
-Sim te konnen toujou dèyè.
"If I had known" is always behind.
-Wòch nan dlo pa konn doulè wòch nan solèy.
Stones in water don't know the pain of stones in the sun.
-Zafè kabrit pa zafè mouton.
The goat's business is not the sheep's business.
Bwa pi wo di li wè, grenn pwomenen di li we pase'l.
The high tree says he sees far, the traveling seed says he see further.
Zèb ou pa vle leve nan jaden ou, leve devan pot ou.
Weeds you don't want to grow in your garden, grow in your front door.
Se pa lè moun ap neye pou montre'l naje.
Don't wait for someone to drown before showing them how to swim.
Merite pa mande.
The "deserved" don't have to ask.
Promès se dèt.
Promises are debts.
Lè bab kamarad ou pran dife, mete pa ou a la tranp.
When your friend's beard is caught on fire, put yours in water.
Chita pa bay.
Sitting doesn't give.
Kreyon bondye pa gen gòm
God's pencil doesn't have an eraser.
Sa'k nan vant ou se li ki pa ou.
What is in your stomach, is what's yours.
Mache sou pinga'w pou pa pile si ou te konnen.
Walk on caution so you don't step on "if I had known."
Kòfrefò pa swiv kòbya.
Treasure coffer doesn't follow casket.
Bèl fanm se traka.
Beautiful women are troubles.
Se nan Chimen jennen yo kenbe chwal malen.
It is in narrow path, they catch a maligned horse.
Byen pre pa lakay.very close is not home yet.
Bèf san ke, Bondye pouse mouch pou li.
The ox with no tail, God clears out the flies for it.
Bouch manje tout manje, li pa pale tout pawòl.
Mouth eats all kind of food, but doesn't speak every word.
Gwo vant pa gwòs, gwo tèt pa lespri.
A big belly doesn't mean pregnancy, a big head doesn't mean intelligence.
Tete pa janm twò lou pou met li.
Breasts are never too heavy for their owners.
Renmen tout fè ou pèdi tout.
Loving everything makes you loose everything.
Move zèb leve tou patou.
Bad weeds grow everywhere.
Mwen pa manje pwa, mwen pap kaka pwa.
I did not eat beans, I cannot poop beans.
Bourik fè pitit pou do'l ka poze.The donkey makes offsprings, so its' back may rest.
Chak chen leve pye'l pise jan'l konnen.
Every dog lifts its legs and pees its own way.
Djòl fè dèt, bouda peye.
The mouth makes debt, the behind pays back.
Fanm se kajou, plis li vye, plis li bon.
Woman is like mahogany: The older she is, the better she is.
Jan chat mache se pa konsa li kenbe rat.
The way the cat walks is not the way it chases rats.