Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar CIEFL, Hyderabad

In addition to sentences and clauses, there are a significant number of phrases occurring
independently as proverbs in Telugu. Such proverbial phrases are embedded in sentences
generally to perform different functions in discourse.

In this paper, the very first collection of Telugu proverbs Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika, published
in 1868 by Captain M. W. Carr, has been examined as a case in point to find out the range of
phrasal structures represented in Telugu proverbs from the very beginning of such collections.
From such an examination, it has been found out that three types of phrases have been used
productively in the formation of proverbs. They are: 1) noun phrases premodified by adjectival
phrases; and 2) adverbial phrases postmodified by adverbs;and 3) phrases indicating analogy
(or comparison or similarity).

In this paper, the first type of phrases from Carr (1868) are examined and illustrated with
examples. Most of these noun phrases contain adjectival phrases premodifying them but some
others are postpositional. An analysis of them shows that both these types of phrases contain
social or natural praxis that has been prototypicalized to function as proverbs.

In the structural analysis of Telugu proverbs, phrasal proverbs are not
comprehensively studied so far. There is a need for such analysis to find out how
they function in conversation and how they are related to the sentential proverbs
which helps us to know the essential characteristics of proverbs.

A. Aims and Objectives
In this paper, an attempt will be made to identify and analyse the internal structure
of the noun phrases from among the other types of phrases in a corpus of about
500 proverbial phrases collected from Carr (1868).



B. Materials and Methods
Captain M. W. Carr‟s (1868) Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika has been selected as the
source for the collection of proverbial phrases for the following reasons:

i. It is the first collection ever to be published. So, its corpus gives us a
historical perspective to the choice of proverbs.
ii. Its size is both comprehensive as well as compact. Hence, the corpus
can be easily analysed.
iii. Its explanations are so elaborate that we know the meaning of the
proverbs as they are used at that time.

A comprehensive analysis of Telugu proverb phrases has not been made so far - as
far as I know. In Bhuvaneswar (2003a), a review of more than 250 references in
Telugu proverb literature has been made – which is so far the most comprehensive
bibliographical review since 1868 – and in it, there is no mention of any specific
analysis of phrases in Telugu proverbs apart from this and the next two articles in
this series.

According to Quirk and Greenbaum (1989: 17 59) an English noun phrase can be
basic or complex. A basic noun phrase consists of “Pronouns and numerals, and
of nouns with articles or other closed system items that can occur before the noun
head such as predeterminers like all” (ibid. 59). A complex noun phrase consists

of a head either premodified notably by adjectives and nouns or postmodified by
prepositional phrases, non-finite clauses, and relative clauses (ibid. 375-76).

An example of a basic noun phrase containing the predeterminers „all‟, of-
construction „of‟, determiner „the‟ and the quantifier „many‟ premodifying the
noun „boys‟ is:

(1a). all of the many boys (ibid. 63)
Another example of a basic noun phrase containing the determiner „the‟, the
ordinal numeral „first‟, the cardinal numeral „three‟ premodifying „planes‟ is:

(1b). the first three planes (ibid. 65)

An example for a complex noun phrase containing the determiner „the‟, the
adjective „pretty‟ and the noun „college‟ premodifying the head „girl‟;

and the non-finite clause „walking on the lawn‟, the prepositional phrase „in the
garden‟ the relative clause „who smiled sweetly‟, the clause of reason „because I
waved to her‟ and the clause of time when I saw her‟ postmodifying the same head
„girl‟ is:

(2). The pretty college girl walking on the lawn in the garden who smiled
sweetly because I waved to her when I saw her (is Sonali).

In Telugu also such complex noun phrases are possible according to the rules of
Telugu grammar. For example, (1b) has an equivalent in Telugu as follows:

(1c). moda[i mu:qu ¢inima:lu
first three planes
[There is no specific word for the definite article „the‟ of English in Telugu
and hence it is not found in the phrase.]

(1a). can be translated in Telugu as follows:
(1d). t]a:la kurra ua:[[ a lo: andaru:
many boys in all
„All in many boys‟

(2) has an equivalent in Telugu as follows:
(2a). uanamu lo: pat]t]ika lo: naqustunna andamaina
garden in lawn in walking pretty

e: ka[a:¢a:la ba:la ne:nu a:menu t]s:t]in(a) appuqu
which college girl I her seeing then

(a:menu) palakarint]ina mu:la:na: tijjaga:
(her) greeting because of sweetly

nauuindo: a:me so:na:li.
smiled she Sonali

„which pretty college girl walking in the lawn in the garden smiled sweetly
because of (I) greeting her when on seeing her, that (girl) is Sonali‟.
(2) as given earlier in the normal English version.

According to Venkateswarlu, V. (1982:99), adjectival phrases are formed by the addition
of adjectival postpositions to nouns or noun equivalent adjectives. For example, in

(3). u:ri uelupali t]euuu
town outside tank
„The tank outside the town‟

t]euuu is a common noun. uelupali is a postposition. It joins with u:ri to form an
adjectival phrase „u:ri uelupali‟ and that qualifies the noun t]eruuu. Since the
postposition is used in the formation of an adjectival phrase, it is called an adjectival
postposition.An adjectival postposition is formed by the suffixation of the particle /i/, and
sometimes /[i/, or /ti/ to the noun from which it is formed. In the case of the above
adjectival postposition /pali/ is added as follows:

(3a). ueli (noun) > uelupali (adjectival postposition)
out outside

The derivation of uelupali from ueli is difficult and is not as straight forward as the other
adjectival postpositions such as:

(3b). ualanu (noun) > ualana (adv. postp) > ualani (adj. postp)
because because because
(3c). t]e:ji (noun) > t]e:ta (adv.postp) > t]e:t i (adj.postp)
hand hand hand
[a or ta or [a is added to nouns to form the adverbial postposition.]
These nouns ueli „out‟ and lo: „in‟ do not get the „a‟ / „i‟ changes as in other
postpositions. The particle pala/pali is added to them to get the adverbial and adjectival
postpositions. Sometimes „[i' replaces „li‟ and [a, „la‟.
(3d). ueli/lo: + pali > uelupali / lo:pali ; u:ru + uelupali > u:ri uelupali
out in outside inside town outside > outside the town


(3e). uelupali/lo:pali + [i > uelupa[i /lo:pa[i
outside inside outside inside

There are many proverbs that are formed by the addition of adjectival postpositions and
suffixes to nouns. They are given below:

A. Adjectival Postpositional Phrases
i. The noun krindu „down‟ gives rise to krinda „down‟ as an adverbial
postposition and k(r)indi „down‟ as an adjectival postposition. krindi is very
productive in forming noun phrases that contain adjectival postpositions. The
following examples are observed in Carr (1868). The nouns are separated
from the adjectival phrase by a bar.

(4). t]eppu kindi / te:lu
sandal under / scorpion
„A scorpion under a sandal‟
[„A ruffian under restraint‟ (No.915, p.165)]

(5). tala kindi / koriui
head under / brand
„A brand under (one‟s) head‟
[„A dangerous companion‟ (No.999, p. 180)]

(6). talagaqa(:) kindi pa:mu
pillow under snake
„A snake under the pillow‟
[„A dangerous companion‟ (No.1002, P. 180)]

(7). diui[i: kinda / di:pamu
torch under light (lamp)
„A lamp under a torch‟
[„One insignificant before the other‟ (No.1164, p.207)]

(8). re:gu t]e[[u kind i / musala:me sameta
Regu tree under old woman proverb
„The old woman under the Regu tree proverb‟
[Regu is zizyphus Jujuba. „To knock off the fruit, boys were throwing
stones into the tree, and they fell on the old woman who was too infirm to
move away‟. (No.1879, P.325)]
„An unfortunate disposition‟. sa:meta was translated as „like‟ by Carr (No.
1879, P. 325)
„Like the old woman under the Regu tree.‟

ii. The noun mi:d u „on‟ gives rise to mi:d a „on‟ an adverbial postposition and
mi:di „on‟ an adjectival postposition. The following examples are observed in
Carr (1868).
(9). aqqa go:qa mi:di pilli
cross wall on cat
„A cat on the cross wall‟
[„It can jump down either side. Applied to an unprincipled, double-dealing
person. Jack o‟ both sides.‟ (No. 44, p. 9)]
(10). midde mi:di parugu
terrace on running
„Running on the terrace (of a house)‟
[„A hasty beginning‟. (No. 1734, p. 300)]
(11). liqgamu mi:di eluka
lingam on rat
„A rat on the lingam‟
[„ One is afraid to knock the rat off lest he should strike the lingam, and at
the same time he cannot bear to see the emblem so insulted.
A difficult dilemma‟ (No. 2593, p. 75 (Supplement))]

A lingam is an idol which is a cylindrical stone sanctified by divine ritual to represent
Lord Siva.

iii. The noun t]e:ji „hand‟ gives rise to t]e:ti „of hand‟ an adjectival postposition.
The following examples are observed in Carr (1868).

(12). koti t]eti pu:la danqa
monkey hand flower garland
„A flower garland in a monkey‟s paw‟
[„A good thing thrown away on a stupid person‟ (No. 720, p. 130)]
(13). ueRRi ua:qi t]e:ti ra:ji
mad man‟s hand in stone
„A stone in a mad man‟s hand‟
[„A dangerous experiment‟ (No. 2009, p. 348))]
(14). uaidi:kuni t]e:ti uiqemu
Brahmin‟s hand betel nut
„A betel nut in the hand of a Vaidiki Brahmin‟

iv. The noun na:qu „ a place, day or time‟ gives rise to na:[i „place‟ an adjectival
postposition. The following examples are observed in Carr (1868).

(15). taddinamu na:[i d¸andjamu
death ceremony day of yagjnopavithamu (sacerdotal thread)
„The jandhayamu (put) on the day of death ceremony‟
[„It is worn temporarily by Sudras on such occasions.
Said of any temporary honour.‟ (No. 2358, p. 37 (Supplement))]
(16). juga:la na:[i judi][iriqu
yugas of Yudhishthira
„A Yudhishtira of the olden days‟
[„Applied ironically, to a great liar.
He shall have the king‟s horse. (No. 2572, p. 71)]

v. The particle /i/ or /a/ joined to nouns is the singular or plural possessive case
suffix which is added to nouns. The words in possessive case exhibit a
relationship with the latter noun in an adjectival form. The following examples
are observed in Carr (1868).

(17). attaga:ri sa:d impu
mother-in-law‟s teasing (rancour)
„The rancour of a mother-in-law‟
[„Among Hindus the husband‟s mother, when living, rules the house, and to
her the wife is subject.‟ (No. 49, p. 9)]
(18). pa:kalapa:[iua:ri raqa kommu
Pakalapati people‟s war horn
„The war horn of the Pakalapati family‟
[„Said of a loquacious person‟ (No. 1406, p. 247)]
(19). danija:lu + a ( g.c.s. ) > danijala
coriander s > corianders‟
The word danijalu is in plural ending with „lu‟. So it becomes „la‟ by the
replacement of „u‟ by „a‟. [g.c.s. = genitive case suffix]
(20). pe:dala biguuu
poor men‟s superciliousness
„Poor men‟s superciliousness‟
(20 a). pe:dalu + a ( g.c.s.) > pe:d ala
poor people > poor people‟s

(b). The noun paji „on‟ gives rise to pajina „on‟ an adverbial postposition
and paji „on‟ an adjectival postposition. The following example is
observed in Carr (1868).
(21). me:qika:ja pai misimi
fig fruit on luster
„The lustre of a green fig‟
[„It often has worms in it. Outwardly fine but inwardly bad‟. (No. 1810, p.

vii. The noun lo:nu „in‟ gives rise to lo:na „in‟ an adverbial postposition and
lo:ni „in‟ an adjectival postposition. The following examples are observed
in Carr (1868).

(22). aqakattu lo: ni po:ka
nippers in nut
“A nut in the nippers‟
[„adakattu are nippers used for breaking areca nuts‟. (No. 35, p. 7)]
The modern variant of this proverb is:
(22a). aqakattera lo: po:ka t]ekka la:ga
nippers in areca nut like
„Like an areca nut in the nippers‟
(23). pa:nakamulo: ni pulla
molasses in twig
„A twig in molasses (sherbet)‟

The modern variant is:
(23a). pa:nakamlo: puqaka la: ga
molasses in twig like
„Like a twig in molasses‟
(24). addamu lo:ni muqupu
mirror in offering (of money)
„Like a bag of money in a mirror‟
[„Visionary prospects‟ (No. 66, p. 12)]

viii. tagina „suitable for‟ can be used as an adjective as in the following phrases.

(25a). ua:sa:niki tagga (tagina) ku:samu
rafter to suitable peg
„A peg fit for the rafter‟
[„A well matched pair‟ (No. 1969, p. 340)]
(25b). nuuuulaku tagina nu: ne
sesamum to befitting oil
„Oil according to the (auality of) sesamum‟ (No. 2443, p. 50)


So far we have discussed only noun phrases containing (premodified by) adjectival
phrases which are formed with postpositions.

B. Verb – Adjective Phrases
Adjectival phrases can also be formed with verb adjectives and these phrases can
premodify nouns, further creating noun phrases. This is a very productive process in
proverbial phrases. There are 26 such phrases identified in Carr (1868) with the
following numbers: 221, 445, 523, 601, 673, 839, 1233, 1291, 1438, 1465, 1503, 1536,
1618, 1619, 1678, 1729, 1757, 1952, 2024, 2052, 2237, 2388, 2392, 2441, 2560, and

A few examples are given below for illustration.
(26). iqguua ka[[ina guqqa
asafoetida being tied cloth
„A cloth tying asafoetida‟ or „A cloth that tied (held) asafoetida‟
[„Said of a man who is respected on account of his connection with the
family of some famous person, no longer living; or on account of his own
greatness, now passed away; (No. 221, p. 40)]

kattina is an infinite verb. iqguua is a noun which functions as the object of the infinite
verb. In addition, it qualifies the noun guqqa as an adjective. iqguua ka[[ina is the
adjectival phrase qualifying the noun guqqa. Such words which perform the function of
a verb as well as an adjective are called kriya (verb) – viseshnamulu (adjectives) and the
phrases formed with them are also called adjectival or (to be specific) verb-adjectival
phrases. By using verb adjectives, the length of an utterance is drastically reduced.

Especially in the case of Telugu, adjectival clauses are long and turning them into
participial phrases drastically reduces the length (see Bhuvaneswar, 2003). For example,
(26) has an equivalent adjectival clausal construction as follows:
e: guqqato: iqguuani ka[[:ro: a: guqqa ….
which clothe with asafoetida (obj. case) tied that cloth ….
„That cloth with which (they) tied asafoetida…‟

Sometimes, additional words indicating similarity or analogy in the form of adverbs are
added to the noun phrases containing the verb-adjectival phrases as in:
(27). e:nugu miqgina uelaga paqqu uattu
elephant having swallowed wood-apple like
„Like a wood apple swallowed by an elephant‟
[„It is swallowed whole, and is said to be found afterwards empty though
unbroken. Said of a person in an influential position who does not benefit
others. (No. 445, p. 81)]
In the above example, enugu is in the subject position and velaga pandu is in the object
position of the verb. miqgina functions as the verb-adjective qualifying the wood-apple.
(28). kaqupu ninqina be: ramu
belly being filled up bargain
„A bargain that is belly filled (i.e. made with a person whose belly is full)‟
[A person in easy circumstances will drive a hard bargain‟. (No. 523, p.
(29). ka:li: ka:lani monqi ka[[e
burning not burnt hard log
„Burnt without being burnt hard log (i.e. half-burnt log)
[„said of a mean spirited creature who resents no affront‟ (No. 601, p.

In this example, the verb adjective (ka:li:) ka:lani modifies monqi ka[[e and monqi
further modifies ka[[e as an adjective.


(30). krutagnuniki t]e:sina me:lu
ungrateful person having done good
„Good done to an ungrateful person‟ (No. 673, p. 122)
(31). t]ekkara pu:ta pu:sina ui]amu
sugar coating coated poison
„A poison coated with sugar (coating)‟ (No. 839, p. 151)
(32). niuuru kappina nippu sa:mita
embers covered fire proverb (or like)
„(The proverb) fire covered with embers‟
[„Said of a very learned person and humble man‟. (No. 1291, 227)]
(33). pindelo: panqina panqu
(an unripe) fruit in ripened fruit
„A fruit ripened in its unripe stage (i.e., ripening a fruit before it is mature)‟
[„Said of a precocious youth (No. 1438, p. 252)]
(34). pu:sa ku:rt]ina t]andamu
bead having strung manner
„The manner of stringing beads‟ or „stringing (of) beads manner‟
[„All in harmony‟ (No. 1504, p. 263)]
(35). pe:qalo: podigina uulligaqqa
cattle-dung set onion
„An onion set in in cattle-dung‟
[„A bad man in like company‟ (No. 1536, p. 269)]
(36). ua (o:) qa pagilina kala:sula sa:mita
ship wrecked crew proverb
„Like the crew of a wrecked ship‟
[„In a miserable plight. Said of something sudden and alarming‟ (No. 1952,
p. 337)]
(37). me:kunu perikina ko:ti uale
nail (wedge) having pulled out monkey like
„Like the monkey that drew out the wedge‟
[“The monkey drew the sawyer‟s wedge and died;
Let meddlers mark it, and be edified.” (The Arnold‟s Book of Good
Counsels from the Hitopadesa, pp. 49, 50) (No. 2560, p. 69)]

le:ni is a verb-adjective formed from le:du „not is‟ or „without‟ and is very productive in
forming verb-adjectival phrases in proverbs. Eight such examples with the following

numbers in Carr (1868) are observed: 832, 1006, 1684, 1679, 1860, 1966, 2410 and
(38). gra:samu le:ni koluuu
fodder without work
„work without pay‟ (No. 832, p. 149)
(39). tala: to:ka le:ni kata, mukku: mukamu le:ni pilla
head tail without story, nose face without girl
„A story without a head and tail, a girl without a nose and face‟ (No. 1006,
p. 181)
(40). manasu le:ni manumu
mind without match (marriage)
„A match with out interest (i.e. an unhappy match)‟ (No. 1684, p 292)
(41). mati le:ni ma:[a, ¢rutile:ni pa:[a
mind less word, tuneless song
„A senseless speech, a tuneless song‟ (No. 1679, p. 291)
(42). ra:d¸u le:ni uu:[[u pu:d¸ale:ni guqi
king less towns, worship less temples
„Towns without a king, temples with out worship‟ (No. 1860, p. 322)
(43). ua:na le:ni ua[[i piqugu
rain less empty thunderbolt
„An empty thunderbolt without rain‟ („A useless thing‟. (No. 1966, p. 340))
(44). dorale:ni mu:kalu
leader less crowds
„Crowds without a leader‟ (No. 2410, p. 44 (Supplement))

C. Adjective – Noun Phrases
In I, verb-adjective phrases as premodifiers in noun phrases are explained. In addition to
such verb-adjective phrasal proverbs, adjective-noun phrasal proverbs are also formed in

A word that performs the dual functions of a verb and an adjective at the same time is
called a verb-adjective. Such words are formed by suffixation of the particles ua:qu, di,

ui, etc. to adjectives. For example, tellaniui „white ones‟; tellanidi „white one‟; and
tellaniua:qu „white man‟ are formed by the suffixation of ui ; di, and ua:qu to the
dependent adjective tellani „whitish‟ to become independent adjectives.

(46). tellani + ui > tellaniui
whitish + suffix „whitish ones‟
(dependent adjective) (independent adjective)

In the case of Telugu proverbs, this kind of a suffixation is productive and has been
innovatively extended to large phrases. There are 20 examples of this type in Carr (1868)
with the following numbers: 469, 624, 644, 1078, 1080, 1206, 1334, 1339, 1427, 1615,
1756, 1872, 2098, 2432, 2444, 2445, 2455, 2651, 2698 and 2700.
A few examples are given below for illustration.

(47) uaka kant]a:na tini, uaka mant]a:na paqukoneua:ru
one platter in eating, one bed in sleeping people
„Eating-in-one-platter, sleeping-on-one-bed persons‟

In this example, two simple sentences are turned into two participial clauses and joined
together and then made into the adjective-noun phrase by suffixing ua:ru the plural of
u:qu – to it.

(47a). oka kant]a:na tinna:ru > oka kant]ana tini,
„(they) ate in one platter‟ „eating in one platater‟
(47b). oka mant]a:na paqukonna:ru > oka mant]a:na paqukone:
„(They) slept on one bed‟ > „sleeping in one bed‟
(47c). oka kant]a:na… paqukone: + ua: ru > oka…ua:ru
„one platter in … sleeping‟ + people > „Eating-in-one…persons‟

(48). kunqallo: gua:lu to:le:ua:qu
plots among horses driving man
„A driver of horses among the pots‟
[„A man that sticks at home. A mollycoddle‟ (No. 624, p. 114)]
(49). kuppa tagalabe[[i pe:la:lu ue:jint]ukoni tine:ua:qu
heap burning parched grain roasting eating man
„A heap-burning-parched-grain-roasting-eating man‟

kuppa is the heap made by collecting all the rice-carrying stalks together in the rice-
forms. When the rice-grains are dried up, they are separated from the hay and then filled
up in sacks. A fool set fire to the whole heap and began to eat the parched grain.
[„The work of a fool‟ (No. 644, p. 117)]

(50). tinna in[i ua:sa:lu jenne:ua:qu
having eaten house‟s rafters counting man
„A man that counts the rafters of his benefactor‟s house‟
„Counting-the-rafters-of-a- benefactor‟s-house man‟
[„A person basely attempting to swindle another, who had befriended him,
out of his property‟ by laying his claim to it on the knowledge of the
number of rafters. (No. 1078, p. 193)]
(50a). tinna + illu > tinna illu + ua:sa:lu >
having eaten house having eaten house + rafters
tinna in[i (illu + [i = in[i) ua:sa:lu + jennu >
having eaten of house (house + of = house of) rafters + count
tinna in[i ua:sa:lu jennu + ua:du >
having eaten of house rafters counting + man
tinna in[i ua:sa:lu enne:ua:qu
having eaten of house rafters countingman
„The man counting the rafters of the eating house (i.e. the house in which
he has eaten)
(51). tinnaua:qe: mannaua:qu , mannaua:qe: maha:ra:d¸u
having eaten man prospered man prospered man great king
„He that ate is he that prospered, he that prospered is he that became a great
king‟. [No. 1080, p. 193]

In this proverb, simple adjective noun phrases are used:
(51a). tinina + ua:qu > t ininaua:qu > tinnaua:qu
„having eaten‟ „man‟ >„having-eaten-man‟ >„having-eaten-man‟
(51b). mannina + ua:qu > manninaua:qu > mannaua:qu
having prospered +man > having-prospered-man > having-prospered-man

(52). dua:rapu:qi pat]t]pu ua:qi uattu
Dwarapudi pick pocketing man like
„Like a pickpocket of Dvarapudi‟
[„Dwarapaudi is a notorious village in the (East) Godavary District.‟
(No. 1206, p. 213.)]

In this proverb, a noun Dwarapudi functions as an adjective to patepu u.
Again, pat]t]emu + ua:qu > pat]t]epu ua:qu is an adjective-noun phrase.

(53). nelaku mu:qa:maqa bi[[a pettuga: naqit]e:ua:qu
month for three amadas plate (tablet) as walking man
„walking-thirty-miles-in-a-month-as-fast- as-a-round plate (can be thrown)
man‟ (No. 1334, p. 234)
(54). ne:ti kunqa ne:labe[[i uo[[ikunda uu[[i mi:da
ghee pot putting on the floor empty pot sling on
putting man
[„The eye is blind if the mind is absent‟ (No.1339, p.235)]
(55). pa:re: t]i:ma t]appuqu uine:u a:qu
creeping out noise hearingman
„A creeping-out-noise-hearing man‟
[„As wary as a blind horse. He is so wary that he sleeps like a hare with his
eyes open‟ (No.1427, p.250]
(56). burada bukkaqamu uan[iua:qu
eel like man
„An-eel-like-man‟ or „A man like an eel‟.
[„Sloth, Apathy‟ (No. 1615, p. 281)]

Here, uan[i is an adjectival postposition formed from the root of the verb „po:lu‟ (like),
ua:qu is added to it to form the adjective-noun.

(57). saruamaka]a praja kalaua:qu
All knowing ability having one
„an-all-knowing man‟
[„Jack of all trades and master of none‟ (No. 2098, p. 363)]
(58). pagalu talli, ra:tri ba:rja ane:ua:qu
day time mother, night wife saying man
„calling - (in)- day – time - mother (and) –night – wife man‟
[„An unprincipled rascal‟ (No. 2455, p. 52)]
(59). re:gu t]e[[u kindi t]eui[I guqqiua:ni uattu
Regu tree under deaf blind man like
„Like a deaf-(and)-blind-man-under-the-Regu-tree.‟

D. Double Nouns
Sometimes proverbs are formed from phrases that contain „double nouns‟, i.e. the same
word performing the functions of two nouns at the same time. For example, in the

(60). a: illu pedda koqukudi
that house elder son‟s
„That house is of the elder son‟.
koqukudi is formed by the suffixation of the particle di to the noun koquku „son‟:
(60a). koquku + d i > kodukudi
son + of „of the son‟
to express the object indicated by the word „house‟.

However, this is not the same as koduku jokka „son of‟ which is in the possessive relation
with illu „house‟ in


(60b). koquku jokka illu
son of house
„The house of the son‟.

In this phrase, koduku jokka does not refer to the object indicated by the word illu
„house‟. kodukudi further performs another function by taking the adjective pedd a
„elder‟. Hence, the same word performs the functions of two nouns. Such words are
called double nouns or jugma na:mamulu by Venkateswarlu, V. (1982: 89).

Such words are used in proverbs but they do not form individual proverbs separately by
themselves. Double nouns are observed in 553, and 1872.
These examples are given below for illustration.

(61). kalalo: pa:lu ta:gaqa:naku (pa:tra) kant]ud (i)
dream in milk drinking for (vessel) bell metal‟s
aite:ne:mi kanakapud (i) aite:ne:mi
if being what gold‟s if being what
„For drinking milk in a dream, what if (the vessel) is bell metal‟s or gold‟s.‟
[„Building castles in the air‟ (No. 553, p. 101)]
(61a). kant]u + di > kant]udi
bronze + of > „of bronze‟
(61b). kanakamu + di > kanakamud i > kanakapudi
gold + of „of gold‟ „of gold‟

Both kant]ud i and kanakamudi are double nouns even though the object indicated by the
word pa:t ra „vessel‟ is not given in the proverb. The dual functions of these two words
can be derived as follows:

(61c). kalalo: pa:lu ta:ge pa:tra kant]udi/ kanakapudi
dream in milk drinking vessel of bronze/ of gold
“The milk-drinking vessel in the dream is „of bronze‟ / „of gold‟”.

In (61c), kant]udi / kanakapudi indicates the object referred to by the word pa:tra
„vessel‟, which is ellipted in the proverb. At the same it also takes an adjective as in

(61d). bra][amaina kant]udi / ¢re:][amaina kanakapudi
spoiled of bronze high quality gold of
„(vessel made) of bronze that is of‟ / „(vessel made) of gold that is of
high quality‟
Therefore, kant]udi / kanakapudi are double nouns.
(62). ra:jaqi taladi, t]a:kali moladi
lord‟s head‟s, washerman‟s waist‟s
„(The cloth) of lord‟s head, (the cloth) of washerman‟s waist‟.
[„The lord‟s head cloth is used by the washerman for a lower garment‟ (No.
1872, p. 324)]

taladi (tala + di) and moladi (mola + di) are double nouns since they express „the cloth‟
and also take the adjectives ra:jaqi and t]:a:kali.

In Section III, four important types of proverbial phrases have been analysed. All these
phrases are basically noun phrases that are premodified by adjectival phrases formed in
different ways. They are formed by postpositions, verb-adjectives, adjective-nouns and
double nouns.

The examples from the above analysis show that proverbs are not constrained by any
special syntactic patterns but they make use of such phrasal combinations as are required

to express a prototypical practice. This paper further supports the view that, contrary to
the commonly held belief, proverbs are open-ended in their choice of syntactic patterns
(Bhuvaneswar 2003, b, c, d, e, f)


Bhuvaneswar, Chilukuri. (2003a). “A Bibliographical Review of Telugu
Proverb Literature (1868-2000)”. An updated Ph.D. Assignment. Hyderabad:

_______ (2003 b). “A Survey of the Syntactic Structure of
Proverbs 1”: A Case Study of English in Quirk‟s Model‟. A Research Paper
e-published in Proverbiallinguists @ yahoogroups.com

________ (2003 c). “The Clause in Proverbs 1: A Case Study of
English”. A Research Paper e-published in Proverbiallinguists@yahoogroups.com

________ (2003 d). “The Clause in Proverbs 2: A Clase Study of
Telugu”. A Research Paper e-published in Proverbiallinguists@yahoogroups.com

________ (2003 e). “The Samasam (Compound) in Telugu
Proverbs: A Case Study of Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika”. A Research Paper
e-published in Proverbiallinguists @ yahoogroups.com

_______ (2003f). “The Phrase in Telugu Proverbs 2: A Case
Study of Adverbial and Analogical Phrases in Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika”. A
Research Paper e-published in Proverbiallinguists @ yahoogroups.com

Carr, M. W. (1988). Andhra Lokokthi Chandrika. First Reprint of 1868 Edition.
Madras. Asia Educational Services

Quirk, Randolph and Greenaum, Sydney. (1989). A University Grammar of
English. Harlow: Longman

Venkateswarlu, Vajjhala. (1982). Adhunika-Pramanikaandhra Vyakaranamu.
Visakhapatnam: Published by the Author

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