«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
On the Hypervariability of Some Fixed Expressions on the Internet
The contemporary Internet abounds in all kinds of sayings, as well as their modifications and improvisations induced by them – "usual" proverbs, parodies of proverbs (so-called anti-proverbs), aphorisms, proverbial phrases, idioms, slogans, metaphors, demotivators entitled with folkloric "memes," etc., etc., which raise difficult questions for the general theory of folklore:
•Which of these text variants belong to folklore and which ones do not?
•Is it somehow possible to divide that jungle of texts into a certain number of "different proverbs" (i.e., discrete typological, or "emic" units)?
•Is everything that we see in such thickets the progeny of a single ancestor or, if not, from which roots does each of them actually originate?
•How are loaning and so-called generatio aequivoca (spontaneous generation) related in these sets of texts?
•To what extent has the generation of neologisms been induced by knowledge of traditional recurrent syntactic-logical formulas as "empty slots" to be filled, and to what extent by knowledge of certain prototypical examples as wholes?
They also raise questions relevant to the theory of humor:
•Is there any possibility to distinguish here between the "serious" utterances and "antis"?
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