Irish Proverbs

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Irish Proverbs

Masuma Kabir
Eng 215


Studying proverbs from different cultures can help us understand the similarities and differences of other cultures compared to our own. The proverbs of some different cultures can be used to illustrate the differences between cultures. Whether called maxims, clichés, idioms, expressions or sayings, proverbs are small statements of general truths about people’s values and beliefs, which may be applied to common situations. Values like ambition, virtue, generosity, patience, etc, are addressed in sayings in almost every culture. Still each culture have proverbs that are unique to it. The saying, “If you want to know a people, know their proverbs”, illustrates this. From this we can decipher that when it comes to understanding a culture even better, knowing their proverbs are likely to be quite helpful, because most of these proverbs are generated from different aspects of that particular culture. For this paper, I have chosen to take a good look at some Irish proverbs and investigate a bit on each of them with the purpose of trying to find out as to what part of their culture have inspired each of the proverbs. Irish sayings and proverbs were based on the reality of the peoples lives, no more so than in any culture. Before going any further though, it is crucial to have a some idea on the Irish language itself. Irish (Gaeilge) is a Goidelic language, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language but only by a small minority of the Irish population but is also used as a second language by a larger and expanding minority. The first proverb, that will be discussed now, relate to Ireland’s weather which is usually damp, cold and very windy. Thus, it can be understood as to why so many proverbs were inspired in relation to their chilly weather. One such proverb is, "Gaoth na scrataí Bothair", which can be translated...
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