English Proverbs

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  • Topic: Book of Proverbs, Proverb, Proverbs
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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL SURVEY ON PROVERBS

§ 1 Definition and Origin of Proverbs

Linguists have been long intrigued by the remarkable capacity and internal structural complexity of proverbs. Indeed, despite their outward simplicity, proverbs and proverbial phrases are far from being simple. On the one hand they are language phenomena similar to ordinary phraseological units and on the other hand they are logical units. This accounts for the fact that proverbs have attracted attention of linguists, folklorists and other specialists in this domain. Carrying our investigation of proverbs we began with the study of various approaches to their definitions. Proverbs have been carried out from generation to generation, and each meaning surely defers from generation to generation. One fact about proverbs is that you are allowed to use it in whichever way you feel is correct to your situation. There are many proverbs that contain proper names. The same as other proverbs, they came from people's everyday life, folklore, prose and poetry, myths, fairy tales, fables, songs, slang and other sources. Quite a few proverbs with proper names are familiar to people of different nationalities, and it's natural that a student of English wants to know how to say those colorful expressions in English. It should be pointed out, though, that proverbs with proper names are not often used in speech or writing. Here is a list of proverbs which contain proper names people's names, e.g.: 1) Bacchus has drowned more men than Neptune. Бахус (Вакх) утопил больше людей, чем Нептун. 2) Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.

Жена Цезаря должна быть выше подозрений. 3) If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain. Если гора не идет к Магомету, Магомет должен идти к горе. 4) Jack of all trades is master of none.

Тот, кто все умеет, ни в чем не специалист.

geographical names, e.g.:
1)All roads lead to Rome.
Все дороги ведут в Рим.
1)Rome was not built in a day.
Рим не за один день был построен. 2)When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
В чужой монастырь со своим уставом не ходят.

nationalities, e.g.:
1)An Englishman's home is his castle.
Дом англичанина - его крепость. 2) I fear the Greeks even when bringing gifts.
Боюсь греков (данайцев), даже приносящих дары. 3) The Dutch have taken Holland!
Голландцы захватили Голландию!

months, e.g.:
1)April showers bring forth May flowers.
Ливни в апреле родят цветы в мае. 2)March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Март приходит как лев, а уходит как ягненок.

objects or places that are capitalized and used as names, e.g.: 1)All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
Работа без отдыха отупляет человека. 2)East or West, home is best.
В гостях хорошо, а дома лучше. I. Arnold considers that a proverb is a short epigrammatic saying, which expresses popular wisdom, a truth or a moral lesson in a brief and imaginative way. [I. Arnold, p. 34], e.g.: A friend in need is a friend indeed. Друг познаётся в беде. According to other definitions proverbs and sayings are: a) short statements of wisdom or advice that passed into general use; more homely than aphorism, proverbs and sayings generally refer to common experience and are often expressed in a metaphor, alliteration or rhyme, e.g.: When the cats away, the mice will play. Без кота и мышам раздолье. b)wise sayings; they are usually popular and memorable, e.g.: All is well that ends well.

Всё хорошо, что хорошо кончается. c)they are short and to the point, e.g.:
Practice makes perfect. Повторение - мать учения. d)they provide wise advice, e.g.:
Slow but sure wins the race.
Медленно, но...
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