XLVIII Международная филологическая научная конференция

The typology of proverbs seen through the contemporary use of proverbs

Outi Lauhakangas
independent researcher

12:40 - 13:00

Ключевые слова, аннотация

Typology of proverbs, proverb usage, discussion forums, social values.


The Matti Kuusi international typology of proverbs reflects not only the spheres of human life but especially the functions of proverb use in social interaction. The typology is constructed to map the shared topics and structures of proverbs in different culture areas. It is based on folkloristic tradition of science and uses structuralist methods to classify proverbs to types. The Finnish folklorist Kuusi communicated with his Russian colleague G. Permyakov both having a comparable aim to understand international corpora of proverbs. The local nuances of proverb lore was the point of interest of both scholars. Only by comparing proverbs of different cultures it was possible to analyze the general and specific traits of this genre. The general aim of this report is to use Kuusi’s typology and database of international proverbs to perceive the scale of social values recorded to this speech genre. Research of human values is primarily social psychologists’ area of study, but proverb lore gives cultural and historical background to different emphasis on values. The practical aim of this report is to find situations where people explain and justify their opinions using traditional proverbs or modified proverb like expressions. People are inclined to appeal to common sense especially in ambiguous decision situations (Lauhakangas 2004). Reactions to news or claims in different discussion forums in the Internet are nowadays a public way to convince others — and ourselves. Through this contemporary material it is possible to study, how traditional values of proverbs or proverb like expressions are still in action.