How Do Proverbs Get Their Meanings? The Model of Interpretation Based on a Metaphor Theory.
Granbom-Herranen, L. (2011). How Do Proverbs Get Their Meanings? The Model of Interpretation Based on a Metaphor Theory.. In B. Nowowiesjski (Ed.), Bialostockie Archiwum Jezykowe (pp. 47-67). Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Bialystok. Bialostockie Archiwum Jezykowe, 10.
Published inBialostockie Archiwum Jezykowe
© Granbom-Herranen & Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Bialystok, 2011.
The constellation of proverbs is quite permanent. Only one third of proverbs are supposed to change in about one hundred years (Kuusi 1994: 117−118). This means that the proverbs used in the 21st century are much the same as the proverbs in the beginning of the 20th century and quite the same as in 1850’s. In this article I focus on the proverb as a significant unit. Even if the proverbs are unchangeable, their meanings are not. The proverbial expressions can be looked from at least four stand points: (1) What is the proverb decoded to mean? (2) What do the words mean? (3) What does the speaker mean? (4) How does the listener interpret the proverb? With all the four ways there are some weak points. In the first case the meaning is an etic-interpretation and it is given outside. Most often there exists hardly any context information about the use of proverbs. Paremiologists do quite often make interpretations based on the common knowledge by using a standard proverbial interpretation (SPI) (Norrick 1985: 109−117). There exists a presupposition of universality and the cultural prejudices are included in the interpretation. The second case is a matter of the lexical meaning. The interpretation is bound in the meanings of the words in some space (time and place). If the lexical meaning is used there is no need to interpretation. Anyhow, when looking at the words and the meaning of the sentence in a new space, the meaning might appear absurd. It is possible that even the lexical meaning has changed. [Continues - please see the article] ...
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