«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
"Crossover" Proverbs: Spanish to English?
Shirley L. Arora
In his American Proverbs: A Study of Texts and Contexts (1989), Wolfgang Mieder devotes a chapter to "Proverbs of the Immigrants," and notes that "immigrants obviously use common Anglo-American proverbs as they communicate in English. Doubtlessly there are even some of these proverbs which get translated into the foreign language and gain currency as loan proverbs" (49). I was motivated by these observations to search for examples of the latter among the proverbs in Spanish recorded in a modest survey I had initiated of the sayings known to speakers of Spanish in California, using as a model – although of course on a far more limited scale – the American Dialect Society's enormous research project that culminated in the publication of A Dictionary of American Proverbs (1992), edited by Wolfgang Mieder, Stuart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsey B. Harder (hereafter DAP). In a sampling of apparent "loan proverbs" derived from English among the collectanea of my California project, I opted to employ the term 'crossover proverbs,' which seemed to me to convey more clearly the process by which a bilingual speaker might choose to translate an English proverb into Spanish in a conversation, or even in a written context, and to suggest as well the possibility of eventual adoption of that saying into the proverb repertoire of the "receiving" language (2009). The present study takes a brief look at the reverse process, the crossover from Spanish into English, as suggested by a number of entries...
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