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Derivation of Meaning in Proverbs

Derivation of Meaning in Proverbs

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It is work in progress. It offers an interpretation of meaning of proverbs from the view of Ka:rmik Pragmatics (Ka:rmatics) developed from the Ka:rmik Linguistic Theory of Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar.

Please bear with me. The diagrams and symbols are distorted in the upload. I tried to correct them but I could not because it is not allowing me to do so. if someone can help me- i will be thankful.
It is work in progress. It offers an interpretation of meaning of proverbs from the view of Ka:rmik Pragmatics (Ka:rmatics) developed from the Ka:rmik Linguistic Theory of Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar.

Please bear with me. The diagrams and symbols are distorted in the upload. I tried to correct them but I could not because it is not allowing me to do so. if someone can help me- i will be thankful.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: bhuvaneswar Chilukuri on Apr 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Working Paper 5 inSemantics12
July 2000 1 Derivation of Meaningin Proverbs
Derivation of Meaning in Proverbs: A Ka:rmik LinguisticAnalysis
Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar, CIEFL, Hyderabad, India
Symbols used in the Article
I-I-I Network Node; Impacts on; Gives Rise to by Transformation;Leads to in the Direction of the Arrow; Apparently Transformsinto;
Reflected on
(like an adjunct)
Reflected in (like a quality)
Delink intrer-categorially leads to as opposed to Intra-categorially leads toa:nushangikally gives rise to; inherently qualified ;Through the Means of Connecting Node in a Cyclic Network; Superimposed Onis analyzed● Heart or Nucleus of the Circular/Cyclic Network 
The Individual Consciousness (soul or the ji:va)
The Triad of Qualities [ 
(luminosity or cognitivity) giving knowledge of activity;
(activity or analyticity) giving choice and pattern of activity by traits;and
(inertia or substantivity) giving inertia or materiality of activity by va:sana:s] of Disposition
Horizontal Line
Vertical Line
Diagonal Line; Horizontal, Vertical, andDiagonal Axes
I, II, III, and IV
the quadrants 1, 2, 3, and 4
Reversal of Order
I. Introduction
When proverbs are used, they are
understood, misunderstood,
or even
not understood
depending on the abilities of the participants in the discourse.When both the speaker and the hearer 1. know
the referential, prototypical,and contextual
correctly and at the same time, 2. the performance(by the speaker) and the reception (by the hearers) are also successful, theproverb is understood; on the other hand, if any one of them is defectiveeither in the knowledge of the meaning of the proverb or theperformance/reception, the proverb will be misunderstood; and finally, if the
Derivation of Meaning in Proverbs
speaker is successful while the hearer is defective in the knowledge orreception of the proverb and vice versa, the proverb may not be understoodat all. For a successful encoding or decoding of a proverb, the followingconditions are necessary.1. The meaning of the proverb as
an expression (sentence or phrase)-in-context 
(an expression that was formed by its use in a context but now apotential utterance, but not an actual utterance as opposed to
a sentence-in- vacuo
which is not so formed) should be clear to both the speaker and thehearer.2. The speaker should have the proverbial competence to perform theutterance of the proverb appropriately in an actual world and performed itaccordingly. 3. The hearer should have the proverbial inference (decoding) ability andinferred it accordingly.If any of the abilities are lacking in the participants, the use of the proverbwill be a failure, and if all of them are present, it will be a successfulperformance. Therefore, it is essential to know why and how proverbs meanwhat they mean and what is the process of their use and inference. Let usdiscuss these issues one by one.
A. Propositional Meaning in Proverbs: Its Derivation
Proverbs have different meanings. First, as an expression (a phrase, asentence, or even more than one sentence including Wellerisms), it has
aliteral meaning
. A literal meaning is the expressional meaning derived fromthe collective literary meaning of all the words in the expression. A literarymeaning is derived not only from literal proverbs such as
Honesty is the best  policy; It is easier to forgive than forget; Reason succeeds where force fails;
but also figurative proverbs such as
Faraway cows have long horns; Adead dog never bites; Sleeping cats catch no mice;
etc. Let us take thefollowing examples for an illustration of their literal meaning.
1 Set: Literal Proverbs
i. Honesty is the best policy.ii. A little learning is a dangerous thing.iii. That must be true which all men say?iv. When in doubt, leave it out.v. Better late than never.In Set 1, the literal meaning of the sentences is the sentence-in-contextmeaning of the proverb in
a possible world
(because the proverb is not yetused in
a real world
). For example,
 A little learning is a dangerous thing
hasthe meaning with the proposition P
that a little learning is a dangerous thing
Derivation of Meaning in Proverbs
as an assertion. This is its literal or
referential meaning
. When the proverb isused as an utterance, for example, in the following Indian Englishconversation that took place between two brothers (A: elder; B: younger) in areal world– A injured his leg badly while taking his moped up the footstepsinto the house and got a bandage from an allopath; after five days he took adose of Natrum Mur 200 on his own:A: I thought a higher dose of Natrum Mur will heal my bruise quickly, butnow, allover my body, I got black pigmentation.B: A little learning is a dangerous thing. Consult a qualified homeopathimmediately. It is not good to take medicines without properknowledge.
 A little learning is a dangerous thing
means exactly that much with referenceto the use of medicines, i.e.,
an incomplete knowledge (about homoeopathicmedicines) is dangerous
cognized by the speakerirrespective of its
truth value
-- the user might or might not have used themedicine according to the science of homoeopathy -- because it may not beadequate enough to treat an illness and therefore such an inadequateknowledge may lead to problems instead of solving the problem, if it isprohibited. To put it technically, the literal meaning of the proverb is thesame as the utterance meaning of the same proverb – of course, it iscontextually extended to imply knowledge about homoeopathic medicines,giving its third level meaning which is
the contextual meaning
(which will bediscussed later). Proverbs such as these whose literal (sentence orreferential) meaning and utterance meaning are the same are called
(as opposed to
proverbial speech acts
. This meaning is capturedin the following equation (1):
(1) Proverbial Meaning :Literal (Referential or Sentence) Meaning Utterance MeaningProverb Meaning2 Set: Figurative Proverbs
 There are many types of proverbs which contain figures of speech such as
simile, hyperbole, paradox, metaphor, etc.
A few examples are discussedbelow to arrive at a generalization about the meaning in figurative proverbs.
2.1. Similaic Proverbs 
i. News spreads like wild fire.ii. Calumny is like coal it either burns you or besmirches you.iii. Money, like promises, is easier made than kept.iv. Like mother, like daughter.v. Disgraces are like cherries: one draws another.

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