Home Random Page



Classification and functions of proverbs.

Different categorizations of proverbs have been proposed by different scholars. For the purpose of the present article two main categorizations will be presented. The first categorizations is one outlined by Norrick, who analyzed a sample of the proverbs from the oxford dictionary of English Proverbs. He developed a more empirically oriented and less grandiose schematization that categorizes proverbs according to the type of figuration they use. He distinguished five types of figurative proverbs: synecdoche, metaphoric, metonymic, hyperbolic and paradoxical. It must be mentioned that in Norrick's words figurative proverbs have figurative meanings that differ from their literal meaning. These types will be explored on briefly:

A. Synecdoche Proverbs

The proverbs in which the literal reading and standard proverbial interpretation or SPI '' stand in a relation of macrocosm to microcosm''. These includes examples such as the early bird catches the worm, make hay while the sun shines, and Fair words break no bones. In these proverbs, the literal meaning is quite different from the figurative meaning.

B. Metaphoric Proverbs

In metaphoric proverbs, a nominal becomes metaphoric due to its interaction with another proverb constituent, or the nominal symbolize some characteristic attribute. An example of the first is, Favor will as surely perish as life and of the second, Fair play is a jewel.

C. Metonymic Proverbs

This type of proverb is based on association between something literally named and the thing intended. One example of a metonymic proverb is ''who has a fair wife needs more than two eyes'' in which the eye stands metonymically for the ''sight''.

D. Hyperbolic Proverbs

According to Norrick ''hyperbole has traditionally been considered a rhetorical figure along with, if not quite of the same importance of synecdoche, metaphor and metonymy''. In fact hyperbole counts as amplification. Amplification says more than necessary. For example the proverb ''faint heart never won fair lady'' is a hyperbolic proverb due to the existence of never in it.

E. Paradoxical Proverbs

Proverbs in which there is a contradiction or whose interpretation entails a logical contradiction are considered as paradoxical proverbs. In fact paradoxical proverbs have a “second interpretation”. An example of paradoxical proverb is “fair is not fair, but that which please”. The first clause of this proverb asserts a clear logical contradiction. The proverb “a man’s house is heaven and hell as well” is a paradoxical proverb as well.[21]

There are also several types of proverbs describe below:

Universal proverbs - on comparing proverbs of culturally unrelated parts of the world, one finds several ones having not only the same basic idea but the form of expression, i.e. the wording is also identical or very similar. These are mainly simple expression of simple observations became proverbs in every language.

Regional proverbs – in culturally related regions – on the pattern of loan-words – many loan-proverbs appear besides the indigenous ones. A considerable part ot them can be traced back to the classical literature of the region’s past, in Europe the Greco-Roman classics, and in the Far East to the Sanskrit and Korean classics.

Local Proverbs – in a cultural region often internal differences appear, the classics (e.g. the Bible or the Confucian Analects) are not equally regarded as a source of proverbs in every language. Geographical vicinity gives also rise to another set of common local proverbs. These considerations are illustrated in several European and Far-Eastern languages, as English and Korean.

Proverbs were always the most vivacious and at the same time the most stable part of the national languages, suitable competing with the sayings and aphorisms of outstanding thinkers. In the proverbs and sayings picturesqueness of national thinking was more vivid expressed as well as their features of national character.

The proverbs and sayings the paper of folklore which is short but deep in the meaning. They express the outlook of the amount of people by their social and ideal functions. Proverbs and sayings include themselves the some certain features of historical development and the culture of people.

The semantic sphere of proverb is very wide and cannot limit them. The proverbs describe the every branch of people’s life. The fact is that proverbs and sayings are similar in meaning in spite of their diversity in form and language. While investigating on the given qualification theme we have analyzed proverbs on the semantic point of view. We have come across on the following noticeable themes, such as Motherland, Time, Knowledge, Beauty, Health, Work and a lot other different subjects. We have classified some example on the given topics:


1. East or West home is best.

2. Every bird likes its own nest.

3. There is no place like home.

4. Never cast dirt into that fountain if which you have sometimes drunk.

5. Don’t cut the bought you are standing on.


1. Time and tide wait for no man.

2. Time cures all things.

3. Time flies.

4. Time is money.

5. Cost time is never found again.


1. To everything is to know nothing.

2. Soon learnt soon forgotten.

3. Live and learn.

4. It’s never too late to learn.

5. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


1. All that glitters is not gold.

2. Appearances are deceptive.

3. Handsome is as handsome does.

4. There is no rose without the thorn.


1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

2. A sound mind in a sound body.

3. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man health’s, wealth’s wise.

4. Good health is above wealth.

5. Health is not valued till sickness comes.


1. A bad workman always blames his tools.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 11331

<== previous page | next page ==>
Chapter one | Functions of proverbs.
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2024 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.013 sec.)