You are on page 1of 38

2

Table of Contents
Introduction..3 5 Chapter 1. Proverbs in the English language....6 - 16
1.1 . Phraseology: Phraseological units and their types.4 11 1.2 . Proverbs as phraseological units. 12 - 16

Chapter 2. Structural and semantic peculiarities of proverbs17 - 34


2.1. Structure of the English proverbs.17 29 2.1.1 The Syntactic Structure of the English Proverbs....18 - 29 2.2. Semantic characteristics of the English proverbs.....30 34

Conclusion...35 36 List of references37 38 Summary39

INTRODUCTION In folklore among all the variety and richness of its poetical significance and form it is difficult to find more interesting and researchable genre than proverbs. It was the subject of deep study of scientists in most different ideological branches. Most of the scientists agree that the proverbs are folklore speech where not only the person's point of view but also general people's outlook is expressed. Proverbs play an important role in any language. They give emotionality and expressiveness to the speech. They have certain pure linguistic features that must always be taken into account in order to distinguish them from ordinary sentences. Proverbs are brief statements showing uncondensed form of the accumulated life experience of the community and serving as conventional practical symbols for abstract ideas. They are usually didactic and image bearing. Many of them become very polished and there is no extra word in proverbs. Summarizing above mentioned information the following definition can be given to a proverb: it is a short, meaningful statement with the rhythmic organization that people have been creating for centuries in their social and historical life. The actuality of the study of the proverbs in English is that their usage in speech is of great importance. The correct application of the proverbs is also important. While translating any other work of art we should pay close attention to this point. Without having any idea about the structural and semantic peculiarities of the proverbs we will not be able to grasp its meaning and therefore apply it in our everyday life. The proverbs in their actual use are the object of this paper. The subject of the paper is the peculiarity of their semantic and syntactic structure. The tasks and aims of the course paper: - to define proverbs and investigate their belonging to the phraseology;

- to point out the structural characteristics of the English proverbs and classify them according to the type of the syntactic structure; - to view the connection between the components of the proverb and its meaning; - to illustrate the peculiarities of the semantics of proverbs by forming semantic groups. The practical value of this paper lies in the fact that it will serve as a good manual for those who want to master modern English language. The practical result and all the given examples can be used in practical lessons, writing compositions in colloquial and written speech. We consider also that the topicality of the paper consists in the use of actual materials on proverbs use and classification, which were mostly published in the Internet. Quite a large number of scholars made a groundbreaking research in the field of the English proverbs. In the course paper we used the works by V.A. Koonin, V.V. Vinogradov, I.V. Arnold, N.N. Amosova, H.B. Antrushina. O.O. Selivanova, A.I. Hensorsky, M.M. Pugachiv made an attempt to investigate the problem of proverbs being phraseological units. Richard Nordquist in his work Proverb used a number of definitions of proverb to better illustrate its meaning. A great work was done by Dundes, Kimmerle and Milner. They tried to profoundly analyze the structure of the proverbs. In addition, the systematization of the semantic sphere of the proverbs can be found in the work by Professor V.N. Telia. The results of these works and some other were included into the current investigation. The methods used in our paper are the methods of comparative analysis, the method of semantico-syntactic analysis, contextual analysis, and the use of dictionary definitions. The paper consists of: introduction, two chapters, conclusion and the list of references. The introduction presents brief description of the paper, its object, subject, actuality, practical significance and fields of amplification.

Chapter 1 gives a general overview of the English proverbs, the classification of phraseological units and their definitions. Focus is made on the belonging of proverbs to phraseology. Chapter 2 deals with the structural and semantic peculiarities of the English proverbs. It demonstrates the semantic groups and syntactic classification of the proverbs. Conclusion presents the results of the research received in the process of working on the paper. List of references covers nearly 30 sources of theoretical materials.

CHAPTER I. PROVERBS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 1.1 PHRASEOLOGY: PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS AND THEIR TYPES By phraseology we mean the branch of linguistics dealing with stable wordcombinations characterized by certain transference of meaning. A. Koonin says that phraseology is the science of phraseological units, i.e. of stable combinations of words with complicated semantics. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech. They exist in the language as ready-made units. Just like words phraseological units express a single notion. [9] There is a certain divergence of opinion as to the essential features of phraseological units as distinguished from other word-groups and the nature of phrases that can be properly termed phraseological units. The terms setexpressions, set-phrases, phrases, idioms, word-equivalents, fixed wordgroups, collocations denote more or less the same linguistic phenomenon [1, p. 87], but are sometimes treated differently by linguists. The term set expression implies that the basic criterion of differentiation is stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure of word-groups. The term word-equivalent stresses not only semantic but also functional inseparability of certain word-groups, their aptness to function in speech as single words. The term idioms generally implies that the essential feature of the linguistic units under consideration is idiomaticity or lack of motivation. Uriel Weinreich expresses his view that an idiom is a complex phrase, the meaning of which cannot be derived from the meanings of its elements. He developed a more truthful supposition, claiming that an idiom is a subset of a phraseological unit. [23, p.31 - 34] Ray Jackendoff and Charles Fillmore offered a fairly broad definition of the idiom, which, in Fillmores words, reads as follows: an idiomatic expression or construction is something a language user could fail to know while knowing everything else in the language [15, p.501 538].

Unlike components of free word-groups which may vary according to the needs of communication, member-words of phraseological units are always reproduced as single unchangeable collocations. E.g., in a red flower (a free phrase) the adjective red may be substituted by another adjective denoting colour, and the word-group will retain the meaning: the flower of a certain colour. In the phraseological unit red tape (excessive bureaucracy or adherence to official rules and formalities [27, p. 1221]) no such substitution is possible, as a change of the adjective would cause a complete change in the meaning of the group: it would then mean tape of a certain colour. It follows that the phraseological unit red tape is semantically non-motivated, i.e. its meaning cannot be deduced from the meaning of its components, and that it exists as a ready-made linguistic unit which does not allow any change of its lexical components and its grammatical structure. Grammatical structure of phraseological units is to a certain degree also stable: red tape a phraseological unit; red tapes a free word-group; Still the basic criterion is comparative lack of motivation, or idiomaticity of the phraseological units. Semantic motivation is based on the coexistence of direct and figurative meaning. Many scientists devoted their works to investigation of phraseology. They gave their definitions to the science and elaborated the classification of phraseological units. Taking into consideration mainly the degree of idiomaticity phraseological units may be classified into three big groups. This classification was first suggested by Academician V.V. Vinogradov. These groups are: phraseological fusions, phraseological unities, phraseological collocations, or habitual collocations. [4]

Phraseological fusions are completely non-motivated word-groups. The meaning of the components has no connection at least synchronically with the meaning of the whole group. Idiomaticity is combined with complete stability of the lexical components and the grammatical structure of the fusion. Phraseological unities are partially demotivated word-groups as their meaning can usually be understood through the metaphoric meaning of the whole phraseological unit. Phraseological unities are usually marked by a comparatively high degree of stability of the lexical components and grammatical structure. Phraseological unities can have homonymous free phrases, used in direct meanings. to skate on thin ice to skate on thin ice (to risk); to play the first role in the theatre to play the first role (to dominate).

There must be not less than two notional words in metaphorical meanings. Phraseological collocations are word-groups with a partially changed meaning. They may be said to be clearly motivated, that is the meaning of the unit can be easily deduced from the meanings of its constituents. In phraseological collocations variability of components is strictly limited. They differ from phraseological unities by the fact that one of the components in them is used in its direct meaning, the other in indirect meaning, and the meaning of the whole group dominates over the meaning of its components. As figurativeness is expressed only in one component of the phrase it is hardly felt. [4] to break a promise, a rule, news, silence; to meet demands, requirement, necessity; to set free; to set at liberty; to make money, journey;

The vocabulary of a language is enriched not only by words, but also by phraseological units. Phraseological units are word-groups that cannot be made in the process of speech. They are compiled in special dictionaries. The same as words, phraseological units express a single notion and are used in a sentence as one part of it. American and British lexicographers call such units idioms. We

can mention such dictionaries as: L. Smith Words and Idioms, V. H. Collins A Book of English Idioms etc. In these dictionaries we can find words, peculiar in their semantics (idiomatic), side by side with word-groups and sentences. V.H.

Collins writes in his Book of English Idioms: "In standard spoken and written English today idiom is an established and essential element that, used with care, ornaments enriches the language. [26] Phraseological units represent what can probably be described as the most picturesque, colourful and expressive part of the languages vocabulary [1, p. 86] A.V. Koonin [9] classified phraseological units according to the way they are formed. He suggested the classification system of phraseological units based on the combined structural-semantic principle. He also considered the stability of phraseological units. According to him, phraseological units are subdivided into the following four classes depending on their function in communication determined by their structural-semantic characteristics. 1. Nominative phraseological units are represented by word-groups, including the ones with one meaningful word, and coordinative phrases of the type wear and tear, well and good. The first class also includes word-groups with a predicative structure, such as as the crow flies, and predictive phrases of the type see how the land lies, ships that pass in the night. 2. Nominative-communicative phraseological units include word-groups of the type to break the ice the ice is broken, that is, verbal word-groups which are transformed into a sentence when the verb is used in the Passive Voice. 3. Phraseological units which are neither nominative nor communicative include interjectional word-groups (e.g. pretty kettle of fish, not for all the tea in China).

10

4. Communicative phraseological units are represented by proverbs and sayings (e.g. he who lives by the sword dies by the sword, honesty is the best policy, let the dead bury their dead). [9] Dubrovska I.B. in her work Biblical and Christian metaphor in the German language: nominative aspect analyzed the biblical and Christian metaphorical units according to their structure and found out that 72,1% of the total number of metaphorical language signs belong to phraseological BCMU (Biblical and Christian metaphorical units). She considers phraseological BCM as a special subclass of language metaphor having non-autonomous character of metaphorical nomination. Biblical phraseological units are, in her words, not only the emotive colouring of language, but also means of nomination. [7] Professor A.I. Smirnitsky offered a classification system in which he tried to combine the structural and the semantic principles. [11] He points out the following structural types: a) attributive-nominal such as: a month of Sundays, grey matter, a millstone round ones neck and many others. Units of this type are noun equivalents and can be partly or perfectly idiomatic. In partly idiomatic units sometimes the first component is idiomatic, e.g. high road, in other cases the second component is idiomatic, e.g. first night. In many cases both components are idiomatic, e.g. red tape, blind alley, bed of nail, shot in the arm and many others. b) verb-nominal phraseological units, e.g. to read between the lines, to speak BBC, to sweep under the carpet etc. The grammar centre of such units is the verb, the semantic centre in many cases is the nominal component, e.g. to fall in love. In some units the verb is both the grammar and the semantic centre, e.g. not to know the ropes. These units can be perfectly idiomatic as well, e.g. to burn ones boats, to vote with ones feet, to take to the cleaners etc. Very close to such units are word-groups of the type to have a glance, to have a smoke. These units are not idiomatic and are treated in grammar as a special syntactical combination, a kind of aspect.

11

c) phraseological repetitions, such as: now or never, part and parcel, country and western etc. Such units can be built on antonyms, e.g. ups and downs, back and forth; often they are formed by means of alliteration, e.g. cakes and ale, as busy as a bee. Components in repetitions are joined by means of conjunctions. These units are equivalents of adverbs or adjectives and have no grammar centre. They can also be partly or perfectly idiomatic, e.g. cool as a cucumber (partly), bread and butter (perfectly). [11] Phraseological units can be classified as parts of speech. This classification was suggested by I.V. Arnold. Here we have the following groups: a) noun phraseological units denoting an object, a person, a living being, e.g. bullet train, latchkey child, redbrick university, Green Berets; b) verb phraseological units denoting an action, a state, a feeling, e.g. to break the log-jam, to get on somebodys coattails, to be on the beam, to nose out, to make headlines; c) adjective phraseological units denoting a quality, e.g. loose as a goose, dull as lead; d) adverb phraseological units, such as: with a bump, in the soup, like a dream, like a dog with two tails; e) preposition phraseological units, e.g. in the course of, on the stroke of; f) interjection phraseological units, e.g. Catch me!, Well, I never! etc.[3] In I.V. Arnolds classification there are also sentence equivalents, proverbs, sayings and quotations, e.g. The sky is the limit, What makes him tick, I am easy. Proverbs are usually metaphorical, e.g. Too many cooks spoil the broth, while sayings are as a rule non-metaphorical, e.g. Where there is a will there is a way. To sum up, the phenomenon of phraseological units is complicated. The classifications of the reaserchers still have common features. However, the place of proverbs, sayings and familiar quotations with respect to set-expressions is a controversial issue. In the next chapter we will try to present different opinions concerning this problem.

12

1.2. PROVERBS AS A PHRASEOLOGICAL UNITS The nominative structure of phraseological units is diverse and complicated. To phraseology belong word-combinations, sentences and even microtexts. That is why some phraseologists suggest that a line should be drawn between idioms and proverbs and sayings. Other scientists think that proverbs and sayings should be removed from phraseology and taken to folklore. Ukrainian researcher O. O. Selivanova assumes that such final differentiation is not justified, since proverbs and idioms incorporate features of reproducing, stability, cultural marking, as well as high level of cumulativeness and translatability [10, p. 645]. The question about belonging of proverbs and sayings to phraseological stock of languages under investigation was examined in the studies of scientists of previous century, but also did not come to unanimous solution. Supporters of the so called broad understanding of phraseology stress that proverbs and sayings should be regarded as peculiar communicative type of phraseological units. A.V. Koonin pointed out that proverbs should be studied in folklore as well as in phraseology, but from different points of view. In phraseology they are learned as the units of phraseological stock of language, which are endowed by particular semantic, stylistic and structural peculiarities [8, p.17]. Under proverbs we usually understand short aphoristic sayings of intstructive meaning in rhythmically organized form. [9, p. 176] V.V. Vinogradov [4] think proverbs must be studied together with phraseological unities. Others like A.I. Smirnitsky [11] and N.N. Amosova [2, p.123-144] think that unless they regularly form parts of other sentences it is wrong to include them into the system of language because they are independent units of communication. N. N. Amosova even thinks that there is no more reason to consider them as part of phraseology. This standpoint is hardly acceptable especially if we do not agree with the narrow limits of phraseology offered by this author. In the preface to he Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs its editor J. A. Simpson indicated that there is an opinion that proverbs and sayings go out of

13

fashion, or are simplified to clichs. However, it should be mentioned that although the role of proverbs and sayings in English literature has changed, their popularity is still unchangeable. [28] Learning proverbs as the source of phraseological derivation is of great importance to phraseology. It is also necessary to mark out those features that differentiate proverbs and sayings from the other phraseological units: 1) taking into consideration the syntactic structure, the proverbs are accurately structured sentences; for example: Boys will be men [29, p.27]; 2) they express judgement, generalized thought, morality, unlike other phraseological units that usually denote some concept or thing: A man at sixteen will prove a child at sixty [29, p.27]; 3) The structure of proverbs and sayings is based on contrast: Young saint, old devil [29, p.27]; 4) proverbs and sayings are word-combinations, in which the meaning of every word doesnt change when we do not use it in this combination, but the combination itself is stable due to frequent use and rhythmic form: Children and chicken must always be picking [29, p.28]. A. I. Hensorsky indicates that from other word-combinations they differ: a) semantically on the completeness of self-sufficient limited thought in them; b) structurally on frequent two-syllable structure of the construction and quite stable order of its components. [5, p.175] Through proverbs and sayings opens natural ability of the folk creator of its language to profound, detailed and objective reflection of the phenomena, which are inherent in human society and nature. M.M. Pugachov defines proverbs as brief, concise, and sometimes rhymed expressions, which in aphoristic form transmit the results of the observation by man their life, practical activities and natural phenomena. [25, p. 6] In my opinion, the proverbs should exist not only in folklore but also in phraseology. As to the argument that in many proverbs the meaning of component parts does not show any specific changes when compared to the meaning of the same words in free combinations, it must be pointed out that in this respect they do not differ from many set-expressions, especially from those which are emotionally

14

neutral. Another reason why proverbs must be taken into consideration together with set-expressions is that they often form the basis of set-expressions. For example; the last straw breaks the camel's back: the last straw; a drowning man will clutch at a straw: to clutch at a straw; it is useless to lock the stable door when the steed is stolen: to lock the stable door. Both set-expressions and proverbs are sometimes split and changed for humorous purposes, as in the following quotation where the proverb all is not gold that glitters combine with an allusion to the setexpression golden age: it will be an age not perhaps of gold, but at least of glitter. The problem of defining proverbs appears to be as old as man's interest in them. People who consciously used them or began to collect them in antiquity obviously needed to differentiate proverbs from other gnomic devices such as apothegms, maxims, aphorisms, quotations, etc. Jan Fredrik Kindstrand [18] reviewed some of these early definition attempts in his fascinating paper on The Greek Concept of Proverbs. Richard Nordquist [21] in his work Proverb considers a proverb to be a short, pithy statement of a general truth, one that condenses common experience into memorable form. [21] He used the definitions suggested by Miguel de Cervantes, Paul Hernadi, Stefan Kanfer, Sydney J. Harris. As defined by Cervantes, proverb is "a short sentence based on long experience." "[Proverbs are] brief, memorable, and intuitively convincing formulations of socially sanctioned advice." (Paul Hernadi, "The Tropical Landscape of Proverbia." Style, Spring 1999) "The aphorism is a personal observation inflated into a universal truth, a private posing as a general. A proverb is anonymous human history compressed to the size of a seed." (Stefan Kanfer, "Proverbs or Aphorisms?" Time, July 11, 1983) "A proverb is a statement we enthusiastically embrace when we are unwilling to examine the particulars in a general situation." (Sydney J. Harris) According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2006) a proverb is a wellknown phrase or sentence that gives advice or says something that is generally true[27].

15

Proverb is a brief saying that presents a truth or some bit of useful wisdom. It is usually based on common sense or practical experience. The effect of a proverb is to make the wisdom it tells seem to be self-evident. The same proverb often occurs among several different peoples. True proverbs are sayings that have been passed from generation to generation primarily by word of mouth. They may also have been put into written form. The Book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible, or old Testament, is the most notable collection of such sayings. They include: Hope deferred month the heartsick. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. A soft answer turneth away. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. [13] Proverbs often find their way into literature. Many of the lower-class characters in the Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer refer to proverbs. Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote contains many proverbs. Cervantes collected the proverbs from the Spanish pea sands. The term itself was introduced by Soviet linguists to denote a specific group of phrases and is generally accepted in our country. The Book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible is also known as the Proverbs of Solomon because according to tradition King Solomon wrote it. However, scholars believe that the book's assortment of moral and religious sayings, poems and warnings come from various periods of the history. The Book of Proverbs has earned universal interest because it contains material valuable to all people who hope to live a life of wisdom, honesty, responsibility. Many of the book's sayings have become part of everyday speech. Proverbs were always the most vivacious and at the same time the most stable part of the national languages, suitable competing with the sayings and aphorisms of outstanding thinkers. Picturesqueness of national thinking was more vividly expressed as well as their features of national character in the proverbs and sayings. The proverbs and sayings are the paper of folklore which is short but deep in the meaning. They express the outlook of the amount of people by their

16

social and ideal functions. Proverbs and sayings include some certain features of historical development and the culture of people. Many scholars tried to do research to show the differences between proverbs and sayings in order to point out their border of limit. As Dr. Panos Karagiorgos writes, proverb is a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people. Saying is a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations. [16] However, the borderline between proverbs and sayings is not clearly discernible. One of the outstanding Russian scholars the author of "Dictionary of vivid Russian language" and "The proverbs of Russian nation" V.I. Dahl wrote: saying is the bud and proverb is the fruit [6]. A pure proverb has a

metaphorical meaning. It says one thing and it means another. There has been much discussion, and disagreement, among modern paroemiographers on the subject, but Aristotle had already clarified the point by stating laconically: 'Some of the proverbs are also sayings.' So from this point of view we can see that proverbs express the full finite meaning and saying is a phrase which expresses the fugitive meaning. The sayings are considered to be the part of the proverbs. We can also add that proverbs and sayings are separate genres which are different from each other. The meaning and explanation of these terms show that semantically their meanings are various and this fact confirms our above given ideas.

17

CHAPTER 2. STRUCTURAL AND SEMANTIC PECULIARITIES OF PROVERBS 2.1. STRUCTURE OF THE ENGLISH PROVERBS This part of the course paper is dedicated to structure of English proverbs, which are considered paradigmatically. General characteristics of proverbs syntax and the most widely used proverbial constructions are cleared out here. Like all sentences proverbs possess a certain syntactic structure and belong to a certain communicative type. The structure of English proverbs was profoundly analyzed in the work of Alan Dundes On the Structure of the Proverb. He cites the work of Kimmerle (1947) and Milner (1969) in particular in his discussion On the Structure of the Proverb. According to him, Kimmerle's analysis was more of surface structure than deep structure to employ the Chomsky metaphor [14, p.104, 1987]. As he rightly points out, it is highly questionable whether parts of speech per se can significantly illumine the structure of proverbs [14, p.104, 1987]. He also criticizes Milner's definition of proverbs as traditional sayings consisting of quadripartite structure [14, p.105, 1987]. A quadripartite analysis assigns four quarters (minor segments) to a proverb and they are grouped into two halves (major segments) which match and balance each other. The opening half is called the head while the word or words in each quarter are then assigned a plus or minus value as in: + + -

soon ripe soon rotten The second half is labelled the tail. According to Dundes [14, p.107, 1987] one cannot define any structural element in total isolation from the whole syntagmatic sequence or the whole paradigm which is what Milner's quadripartite analysis does. Hence, it is rejected with the discussion of the proverb England has mild winters but hard summers . In this proverb, the structural significance of winters cannot be understood without taking summers into account. But clearly winters and summers are in opposition just as mild and hard. Milner, however, assigns plus

18

or minus values to each of the quarters as though the other three quarters were not present [14, p.107, 1987]. After rejecting Kimmerle (1947) and Milner (1969), he proposes his own structural definition of a proverb as: a traditional propositional statement consisting of at least one descriptive element, a descriptive element consisting of a topic and comment [14, p.115, 1987]. He arrives at this definition from Westermarck [24, p.5-6] by replacing his subject and predicate with topic and comment. The problem with this definition is that it is too broad, and so equally suffers from the defect of the extension. Any sentence that is not a proverb can have a topic and a comment. For example, both topics and comments are present as members of contrastive pairs in a traditional statement, such as, A good man helps but a bad man harms or Good people are humble but bad people are arrogant (A good man / Good people, A bad man / bad people; helps / humble, harms / arrogant). This is not a proverb whereas Man proposes but God disposes (Man/God; proposes/disposes) is a proverb. So also A proverb is a short sentence of wisdom [19, p.109-143] can be contested by saying that shortness is a relative term but it can be fixed to contain a certain number of words and so can be taken as an essential textual characteristic of proverbs but not a short sentence of wisdom because all short sentences (of wisdom) need not be proverbs. For example, Honesty is the best policy is a proverb while Dishonesty is the worst policy is not. Therefore, we need a mixed uncommon characteristic of a proverb. It is a common linguistic characteristic found in the prototype - categorial instantiation property of proverbs. 2.1.1 The Syntactic Structure of the English Proverbs A sentence occurs in two clause patterns: 1. simple; and 2. complex (which includes both coordination and subordination) yielding four major syntactic classes: 1. Statements (declaratives); 2. Questions (interrogatives); 3. Commands (directives); 4.Exclamations (exclamatory). Again, each major syntactic class is further divided into different classes and types. In a similar way are also the clauses patterns. In addition,

19

each dependent clause performs various functions such as subject, object, complement, or adverbial in the superordinate clause [22, p. 315]. A complete analysis of the structure of proverbs involving not only the simple and complex sentence clause patterns but also such aspects as phrasal coordination, apposition, phrase structure, etc. will be worthwhile to contrastively describe the structure of proverbial and normal languages. In the major class of statements, in the clause pattern of complex sentence, in the (sub-) class of nominal clause, in the that-clause type, the that clause performs five functions: as the subject (e.g. That she is still alive (S) is a consolation.), direct object (e.g. {I told him / I knew} that he was wrong (D.O.).), subject complement (e.g. The assumption is that things will improve (S.C.).), appositive (e.g. Your assumption, that things will improve, is unfounded.), and adjectival complement (e.g. Im sure that things will improve (Adj.C). in normal language [22, p. 316 17]. Whereas in proverbs, only three functions are enumerated in the English examples. In spite of that, it does not mean the absence of the remaining two functions in proverbs; it only means that so far they have not been made use of, or not recorded, or not identified. That it is so is because of the open-ended nature of the form of proverbs. For example, the syntactic structure of a proverb is historically not found to be absolute as we see in different variations of the same proverb starting from the Biblical Time Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: Do as you would be done by; Do it to him before he does it to you; Do others before they do you; Do unto others as others do unto you; Do unto others as though you were the others; Do unto others before they do to you; Dont do to others what you would not have done to you; What you do not like done to yourself do not do to others.

20

It appears that almost all the major structures up to the clause type are made use of in the formation of proverbs. Owing to the constraints of space, only a few representative samples are provided. Simple Sentence Proverbs According to Quirk and Greenbaum [22, p.166 67], simple sentences are divided into seven clause types, based on the presence of the normally obligatory elements in a clause: 1. SVA; 2. SVC ; 3. SVO; 4. SVOA; 5. SVOC; 6. SVOO; and 7. SV [where S is subject; V verb; O object; A adverbial; and C complement]. In proverbs also, all these are used even though the frequency of their occurrence may vary. For example, statements and commands are numerous while questions are very few and exclamations rare as can be noticed from a reading of the two proverbial dictionaries ADAP (A Dictionary of American Proverbs by Mieder) and ODEP (The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs by Wilson) in the major syntactic classes for simple sentence clause types. Possibly, even among the seven clause types, some may be more, some may be less. For example, the incidence of SVOO and SVOC type clauses is less while that of others is more. [14] A few examples for simple sentence proverbs are given below. a. Declaratives SVA [e.g. Mary is in the house.] A womans place is in the house; The absent are always in the wrong. SVC [e.g. Mary is (kind / a nurse).] Love is blind; No one is infallible; Ignorance is bliss. SVO [e.g. somebody caught the ball.] Familiarity breeds contempt; A stitch in time saves nine. SVOA [e.g. I put the plate on the table.] You cant put a round peg in a square hole; Dogs dont kill the sheep at home; SVOC [e.g. we have proved him (wrong / a fool).] Six feet under make all men equal; The pot calls the kettle black;

21

SVOO [e.g. she gives me expensive presents.] Every man thinks his own geese swans; You cant teach an old horse new tricks. SV [e.g. The child laughed.] Money talks; Time flies; A barking dog never bites. b. Interrogatives Proverbs do not initiate an exchange in their basic form. A question is basically a request for an answer be it an yes/no question or Wh - question or Alternative question but proverbs are not requests for answers and hence they do not belong to the major class of interrogatives. They are not even exclamatory questions in the strictest sense but they are proper rhetorical questions implying positive or negative assertion [22, p.191 200]. A few examples of interrogative proverbs are given below. Rhetorical Questions Who will bell the cat? ; What is a pound of butter among a kennel of hounds? Question / Answer Proverbs There are some proverbs in English which have both a question and an answer joined together as a set, i.e., the rhetorical question is provided with the positive or negative assertion plus a comment as the answer which will not be in rhetorical question type proverbs. Is a woman ever satisfied? No, if she were she wouldnt be a woman; Avarice and happiness never saw each other; How, then, should they be acquainted?

In a rare combination of a question with an answer to indicate refusal is listed as a proverb in ODEP: a) Which way to London? A poke full of plums. In another instance, an elicitation is given with an answer as part of the proverb: b) What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy dogs tails thats what little boys are made of. c. Imperatives Commands are classified as:

22

Commands with / without a Subject You must cut your coat according to the cloth; Every man should cultivate his own garden; Commands with Let Let every cat cover up his own stink; Let one hat cover one face. Negative Commands Dont cast your pearls before swine; Persuasive Imperatives Persuasive imperatives are created by the addition of do before the main verb in English and they are rare in English proverbs. d. Exclamations Exclamations in English proverbs are not common. However, ODEP gives a few examples of exclamations in simple and complex sentences. God bless the duke of Argyle! Farewell, Gentle Geoffrey! Normally, proverbs in other syntactic classes can be converted into an exclamation depending upon the context. For example, a declarative proverb A stitch in time saves nine! into: A stitch in time saves nine! to express the emotional realization of the value of a stitch in time. Proverbs with what or how introducing the initial phrase are rare. Complex Sentence Proverbs In Quirk and Greenbaum (1989), unlike earlier classifications, a complex

sentence which contains more than one clause consists of both coordinate and subordinate clauses. It can be finite, non-finite and verbless. In addition, it can have nominal, adverbial, comparative, and comment clauses. Moreover, each of these four clauses has its own sub-varieties. What is more, each sub-variety performs different functions such as subject, object, etc. in a sentence. Based on the above-mentioned classification, a clausal analysis of English proverbs is done in order to know their syntactic structure at the complex sentence level. a. Coordination in Proverbs

23

In proverbial clausal coordination, the three (important) coordinators and, or, and but are represented both syndetically (with coordinators present), and asyndetically (without coordinators). Quasi coordination is expressed by as well as, as much as, rather than, and more than. Syndetic Coordination by And, Or, and But Give a beggar a horse and hell ride it to death; Look before or youll find yourself behind; Eagles fly alone, but sheep flock together. Asyndetic Coordination You scratch my back; Ill scratch yours. [(and) Ill] Sink, swim or die. [ (or) swim] Beauty lasts only a day; ugly holds its own. [(but) ugly] Quasi Coordination by As Well As, As Much As, Rather Than, and More than Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb; You learn as much ripping as sewing; There are few who would rather be hated than laughed at; Keep no more cats than will catch mice; In addition to clausal coordination, and and or also function as phrasal

coordinators in general while but is used to link adjective phrases and adverb phrases only in simple and complex sentences [22, p. 267]. Phrasal Coordination in Complex Sentences Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me; If you cant go over or under, go through; Whistling girls or crowing hens are neither fit for God nor men. b. Subordination in Proverbs Subordination is a non-symmetrical relation, holding between two clauses in such a way that one is a constituent or part of the other [22, p.309]. In English proverbs, subordination occurs frequently and even with complexity of subordinate clauses (SC) within main and subordinate clauses.

24

If you cant beat them (1SC), join them; When you open a door (1SC) you do not know how many rooms lie beyond (2SC); If you do(1SC) what you should not (2SC), you must hear what you would not (3SC). A few examples are given below for each main type of a subordinate clause. b.1. Nominal Clause UGE (A University Grammar of English by Quirk&Greenbaum, 1989) mentions six types of nominal clauses. All these are used in the formation of English proverbs. A few examples are given below for each type of a clause. That Clause The only sure thing about luck is that it will change. [- subject complement] ; It is not good that the man should be alone. [- adjectival complement]; If you fear that people will know, dont do it. [- direct object] Interrogative Clause It all depends on whose ox is gored; Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are; You cant tell what a man can do. Nominal Relative Clauses Whoever steals the neighbours shirt usually dies without his own; Home is where the heart is; To-infinitive Nominal Clauses It is hard to carry a full cup; The easiest way to lose ground in an argument is to throw mud. Nominal ing Clauses God never helps those who are caught helping themselves. Bare Infinitive and Verbless Clauses Bare infinitive and verbless clauses are rare in proverbs. However, on common structure in which the to of the infinitive is optionally omitted is in the comparative constructions with better. For example; Better cut the shoe than pinch the foot.

25

Such constructions are the elliptical forms of [It is better to than to .] type. b. Adverbial Clause According to UGE [22, p.322 330], adverbial clauses can be divided into twelve important types. They are illustrated below with proverbial examples. Clauses of Time (with Subordinators after, before, until, till, when, etc.) It is too late to close the well after the goat has fallen in; Clauses of Place (where, wherever) Fools rush in where angels fear to tread; Clauses of condition and concession a. Condition a. If you want to dance, you must pay the fiddler; b. Concession Though most be players, some must be spectators; Clauses of Reason or Cause An ass thinks himself a scholar because he is loaded with books. Clauses of Circumstance Clauses of circumstance with the special circumstantial compound conjunction seeing (that) are rare in proverbs. However, because, since, and as are observed as clauses of circumstance in proverbs in addition to clauses of reason or cause. Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get. Clauses of Purpose One must first scale the mountain in order to view the plain; Clauses of Result The leopard is absent, so they play with the cubs; Clauses of Manner and Comparison Short tailed dog wag his tail same as a long un; Clauses of Proportion and Preference The bigger the tree, the harder she falls;

26

Non finite and Verbless Clauses (Implied Subject) Truth is simple, requiring neither study nor art; C. Comparative Sentences In comparative clauses, the comparative element can be any of the main elements of clause structure (apart from the verb) [22]. It can occur as the subject, subject complement, direct object, indirect object (very rarely), and an adjunct. A few examples are given below. more.than) Sequences of Correlation (It is) better (to have) a dry morsel with quietness than (to have) a house full of sacrifice with strife; Enough and Too You are never too wise to Equational (asas) and Differentiating (lessthan ;

A rainbow is big enough for everyone to look at; learn; So . (that) and such.(that)

There is no pain so great that time will not soften; E. Comment Clauses Comment clauses may be disjuncts or conjuncts such as : 1. as you probably know ; 2. I believe (main clauses) ; 3. as you know (adverbial clause) ; 4. Whats more (relative clause) ; 5. to be honest (to infinitive clause) ; 6. speaking as a layman (-ing clause) ; 7. stated bluntly (-ed clause), etc. [22, p.335 36] The very nature of comment clauses such as these which give informality or warmth are not a feature of proverbs. As such, their occurrence is very rare. For example, The cat may look at a king, they say, but would rather look at a mouse any day. However, clauses that introduce direct speech may be considered comment clauses [22, p.337]. Therefore, Wellerisms can be analysed in terms of comment clauses wellerisms are direct speech of notations. Wellerisms Every man to his taste, said the farmer when he kissed the cow .

27

Proverbs with Parenthetic Matter There are certain proverbs which contain two units separated by dashes, commas, or semicolons one main unit and another aside or comment. There are always two sides to every argument his and the wrong side. F. Other Syntactic Classes (Complex Sentence) Among complex sentences also, we get questions, imperatives, and expressions in proverbs. Imperatives are very common while rhetorical questions are a few and expressive the least in American English. Rhetorical Questions Whats the good of a fair apple if it has a worm in its heart? Imperatives (Complex Sentences) When you see a mules fixing to throw you, you jes git off. Exclamations (Complex Sentence) Walk, drab, walk! Proverbs with the exclamatory structure introduced by wh - words such as: What a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.

G. Other Types of Adjective Clauses Quirk and Greenbaum [22, p. 378 83; 119 20] analyse relative, verbless, and contingent adjective clauses. Relative Clause Relative clauses are very highly productive, especially, after pronouns occurring at the beginning of a proverb. The relative pronoun in a relative clause agrees with the head on the basis of a two-term gender system, personal and non-personal. In such cases, the pronoun who/which is used. However, in many cases in (American) English, a general pronoun that which is independent of the personal or non-personal character of the antecedent and also of the function of the pronoun in relative clause [22, p. 300] is used. A few examples are given below to illustrate its use in proverbs. He who scatters thorns should not go bare-footed.

28

Case is used to indicate the status of the relative pronoun in its clause. The relative pronoun can indicate whether it is the subject of the relative clause or the object or the prepositional complement: He who laughs last just got the joke. [who as the subject of the relative clause] Verbless Adjective Clause An adjective clause, according to Quirk and Greenbaum [22, p. 119], can function as a verbless clause as in the following examples : (By then) nervous, the man opened the letter. Contingent Adjective Clause A contingent adjective clause expresses the circumstance or condition under which what is said in the superordinate clause applies. For example, (When) enthusiastic, they make good students. Such clauses are present in proverbs but they are not easily encountered. Friendship, like persimmons, is good only when ripe. The former offers an interesting example of how syntactic structuration is variable and fluid. For example, in The time to pick berries is when theyre ripe, when theyre ripe is a full subordinate clause which is a little more expanded in another proverb. In practice proverbs are represented by all possible types of sentences, with the obvious exception of nominative sentence consisting of one word.

29

2.2. SEMANTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ENGLISH PROVERBS Proverbs were always the most vivacious and at the same time the most stable part of the national languages, suitable competing with the sayings and aphorisms of outstanding thinkers. In the proverbs and sayings picturesqueness of national thinking was more vividly expressed as well as their features of national character. The semantic sphere of proverbs is very wide and cannot limit them. In order to systematize them Professor V.N. Teliya [12, p.103-131] suggested the following principal macrocomponents (formed by semantic ultimate constituents) in the semantic structure of phraseological units: 1. Denotational (descriptive) macrocomponent contains the information about the objective reality, it is the procedure connected with categorization, i.e. the classification of phenomena of the reality, based on the typical idea about what is denoted by a phraseological unit (about denotatum). 2. Evaluational macrocomponent contains the information about the value of what is denoted by a phraseological unit, i.e. what value the speaker sees in this or that object / phenomenon of reality the denotatum. The rational evaluation may be: a) positive: a home from home a place or situation where one feels completely happy and at ease; b) negative: the lions den a place of great danger; c) neutral: in the flesh in bodily form. 3. Motivational macrocomponent correlates with the notion of the inner form of phraseological unit. The notion motivation of a phraseological unit can be defined as the aptness of the literal reading of a unit to be associated with the denotational and evaluational aspects of meaning. For example, the literal reading of the phraseological unit to have broad shoulders is physical strength of a person. The idea is indicative of a persons strength becomes the base for transference and forms the meaning of being able to bear the full weight of ones responsibilities.

30

4. Emotive macrocomponent is the contents of subjective modality expressing feeling-relation to what is denoted by a phraseological unit within the range of approval / disapproval, for example, a leading light in something a person who is important in a particular group (spoken with approval), to lead a cat and dog life used to describe a husband and wife who quarrel furiously with each other most of the time (spoken with disapproval). 5. Stylistic macrocomponent points to the communicative register in which a phraseological unit is used and to the social-role relationships between the participants of communication: a) formal: sick at heart very sad; b) informal: be sick to death to be angry and bored because something unpleasant has been happening for too long; c) neutral: pass by on the other side to ignore a person who needs help. 6. Grammatical macrocomponent contains the information about all possible morphological and syntactic changes of a phraseological unit, for instance, to be in deep water = to be in deep waters; to take away smbs breath = to take smbs breath away; Achilless heel = the heel of Achilles. 7. Gender macrocomponent may be expressed explicitly, i.e. determined by the structure and / or semantics of a phraseological unit, and in that case it points out to the class of objects denoted by the phraseological unit: men, women, people (both men and women). For instance, compare the phraseological units every Tom, Dick and Harry meaning every or any man and every Tom, Dick and Sheila which denotes every or any man and woman. Gender macrocomponent may be expressed implicitly and then it denotes the initial (or historical) reference of a phraseological unit, for example, to wash ones dirty linen in public discuss or argue about ones personal affairs in public. The implicit presence of the gender macrocomponent in this phraseological unit is conditioned by the idea about traditional womens work (cf. with Ukrainian: ). The implicit gender macrocomponent

31

is defined within the range of three conceptual spheres: masculine, feminine, intergender. Compare, for instance, the implicitly expressed intergender macrocomponent in to feel like royalty meaning to feel like a member of the Royal Family, to feel majestic and its counterparts, i.e. phraseological units with explicitly expressed gender macrocomponent, to feel like a queen and to feel like a king. Because proverbs are usually spoken and not written, they relate to everyday wisdom people want to convey in speech. As a result, they relate matters or everyday interest, such as the weather: March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, folk medicine or observations about health: An apple a day keeps the doctor away and Early to bed, early to rise, religion: Man proposes, God disposes, family: Spare the rod and spoil the child, the law: A man's house is his castle, and superstitions: Marry in March, repent always. Proverbs are usually illustrated with homely imagery using household objects, farm animals, pets, and events of daily life. Many proverbs are based on customs that are obsolete. For example, in English, the proverb If the cap fits, wear it refers to the medieval fool's cap used in parts of Europe. Quite frequently, a proverb's origin is unknown. The same proverb can be found in the same language in several forms. For example, in English, the proverb Money is the root of all evil is also used as The love of money is the root of all evil. The proverbs describe the every branch of people's life. The fact is that proverbs and sayings are similar in meaning in spite of their diversity in form and language. While investigating on the given course paper theme we have analyzed proverbs on the semantic point of view. We have come across on the following noticeable themes, such as Friendship, Motherland, Time, Knowledge, Beauty, Health, Work, and a lot other different subjects. We have classified some example on the given topics: Friendship
1.

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

32

2. 3. 4. 5.

A friend's frown is better than a foe's smile. Among friends all things are common. Even reckoning makes long friends. Who keeps company with the wolf, will learn to howl. Motherland

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

East or West home is best. Every bird likes its own nest. There is no place like home. Never cast dirt into that fountain if which you have sometimes drunk. Don't cut the bough you are standing on. Time

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Time and tide wait for no man. Time cures all things. Time flies. Time is money. Time is wonders Knowledge

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

To know everything is to know nothing. Soon learnt soon forgotten. Live and learn. It's never too late to learn. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Beauty

1. 2. 3. 4.

All that glitters is not gold. Appearances are deceptive. Handsome is as handsome does. There is no rose without a thorn.

Health
1.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

33

2. 3. 4. 5.

A sound mind in a sound body. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Good health is above wealth. Health is not valued till sickness comes.

Work
1. 2. 3 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

A bad workman always blames his tools. A good beginning is half the worn. A good beginning makes a good ending. An attempt is not torture. All is well that ends well. As a man sows so let him reap. Chickens are counted in autumn. Man proposes bad disposes. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

The meaning of the proverbs can by fully or partly figurative. A. Koonin differentiates between one- and two-component proverbs [Koonin, p.177-178]. Proverbs with metaphorical sense of one component: brevity is the soul of wit (Hamlet), calamity is a man's true touchstone - ; familiarity breeds contempt , , ; like begets like ; like cures like - . In proverbs like begets like and like cures like the word like stands in the beginning and in the end, forming a frame. Such repetition seldom occurs in proverbs. Necessity is the mother of invention - "; procrastination is the thief of time . Proverbs with two metaphorical components: faults are thick where love is thin , ; speech is silver, but

34

silence is golden , - ; that which was bitter to endure may be sweet to remember - ". Along with two distant but relative to each other metaphorical components is possible the presence in the proverbs of metaphorical word-combination: life is not a bed of roses . There is quite a large number of proverbs with comparative meaning in modern English: blood is thicker than water ; a miss is as good as a mile ; words cut (or hurt) more than swords , ; - . Proverbs are characterized by having a single meaning. This is probably due to a high degree of generality of their meaning and immobility in the text [9, p.178] Proverbs contain deep sense and national wisdom, which have roots far in the past. They reflect peoples way of thinking and perception of the world. The proverbs are the paper of folklore which is short but deep in the meaning. They express the outlook of the amount of people by their social and ideal functions. Proverbs and sayings include certain features of historical development and the culture of people.

35

CONCLUSION The paper makes up the part of the research devoted to the special stratum of the English proverbs. Focus is made on the role and advantages of using proverbs, peculiarities of their meaning and structural complexity. The investigation of the proverbs and its effective use in everyday life has become a popular and requisite material recently. A classification of proverbs according to their syntactical structure and semantic characteristics are presented. Taking into consideration the analysis of the research investigated, we may present the following results: - the opinions of different scholars on the subject of proverbs as phraseolgical units were presented; - the definition of proverbs as was introduced; - the structural characteristics of the English proverbs and their classification according to the type of the syntactic structure were examined; - the components of the semantic sphere of the proverbs were described; - the peculiarities of structure of the proverbs and their semantic character were illustrated by multiple examples. Because proverbs are the speakers and writer's most important tools, the use of proverbs must be an important and ongoing part of classroom learning. The constant use and presence of proverbs in a student's vocabulary will have a direct influence upon the descriptiveness, accuracy, and quality of his or her speaking and writing. After conducting different researches I came to the conclusion that we are not likely to use the English proverbs properly without knowing their exact meaning and the sphere of application. To understand a proverb really well, one must consider it in terms of the images it employs. A profound work in the field of semantic structure of the proverbs was done by V.N. Teliya and A.V. Koonin. The former suggests the principal macrocomponents (formed by semantic ultimate

36

constituents) in the semantic structure of phraseological units, while the latter differentiates between one- and two-component proverbs. The investigation by Alan Dundes shows that a sentence occurs in two clause patterns: 1. simple; and 2. complex yielding four major syntactic classes: 1. Statements (declaratives); 2. Questions (interrogatives); 3. Commands (directives); 4.Exclamations (exclamatory). Again, each major syntactic class is further divided into different classes and types. In a similar way are also the clauses patterns. In addition, each dependent clause performs various functions such as subject, object, complement, or adverbial in the superordinate clause. This investigation proved that conformity of the structure and meaning is clearly manifested. Like all sentences, proverbs possess a certain syntactic structure and belong to a certain communicative type. According to it, proverbs are more or less homogenous.

37

LIST OF REFERENCES 1. , .. : /.. , .. , .. . : , 1999. 288 c. 2. A . . . ., 1963. 208 c. 3. , .. : /.. . : , 1986. 295 c. 4. , .. . . : , 1977. 310 c. 5. . . - / . . . . : - , 1961. 283 c. 6. , . : . : 2 - ... 2. . : , 1989. 447 c. 7. , .. - : . , 2001. 20 c. 8. , .. . M., 1970. 342 c. 9. . . : . - . . . 2-., . / . . . . : . . ; : . , 1996. 381 c. 10. . . : / . . . : -, 2006. 716 c. 11. , .. . ., 1956. 259 c. 12. , .. . , . .: , 1996. 288 c. 13.Copeland, Mark A. The Book of Proverbs. Executable Outlines, Copyright, 2007. 67 p. 14. Dundes, Alan. An Introduction to the Second Edition. Morphology of the Folktale by Vladimir Propp. Austin: Texas University, 1968. 158 p. -------- " On the Structure of the Proverb. Proverbium 16 (1971) 20, 1987.

38

ed. by Wolfgang Mieder. New York: Peter Lang. 961-973, 1975. 15. Fillmore, Charles J., Kay, Paul & OConnor, Mary Catherine. Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone. Language 64, 1988. 538 p. 16. Karagiorgos, Panos. Greek and English Proverbs. Corfu, 1999. 213 p. 17. Kimmerle, Marjorie M. A Method of Collecting and Classifying Folk Sayings. Western Folklore 6, 1947. 351-66 p. 18. Kindstrand, J.F. The Greek Concept of Proverbs, en Eranos 76/2, 1978. 71-85 p. 19. Mieder, Wolfgang. Popular Views of the Proverb. Proverbium 2, 1985. 109-143 p. 20. Milner, G.B. "What is a Proverb". New Society, 332, 1969. 199-202 p. 21. Nordquist, Robert. Proverb. http://grammar.about.com/od/pq/g/proverbterm.htm 22. Quirk, Randolf & Greenbaum, Sidney. A University Grammar of English, Harlow: Longman Group Ltd, 1989. 496 p. 23.Strssler, Jrg. Idioms in English: a pragmatic analysis/ Jrg Strssler. Tbingen: Narr, 1982. 165 p. 24.Westermarck, Edward. Wit and Wisdom in Morocco: A Study of Native Proverbs. London, 1930. 448 p. DICTIONARIES 25. / . . . . . : . ., 1961. 122 c. 26. Collins V.H. A Book of English Idioms. L., 1960. 258 p. 27.Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English/Compiled by A.S. Hornby. Oxford Universtity Press, 2006. 1715 p. 28.he Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs / Edited by J. A. Simpson. Oxford University Press, 1982. 256 p. 29.The Penguine Dictionary of Proverbs / Compiled by Rosalind Fergusson Market House Books LTD : Allen Lane, 1983. 331 p.

39

SUMMARY , . . , , . , . . . . , . , . , .