«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
What Does It Mean to Be a Good Man According to Proverbs? – An Analysis of Italian Paroemia
Introduction: Anthropocentrism and Proverbs
Language is considered to be anthropocentric by nature (Pajdzińska, 2006:104), which is clearly visible on various levels: For instance, in grammar one can observe it in the predication structure, in lexis there are many examples, one of which is, the neo-semantization of faunal terms. The anthropocentric character of language is also confirmed by semantic analyses conducted by Anna Wierzbicka (1985).
As to phraseology, understood in the broad sense of the word, it also reflects the attitude of humans towards the world: In its centre there is man. In fact, many constituents of phraseological units are human-related words. In general, the vast majority of fixed expressions directly refer to humans, their characteristics, habits, activities and many other aspects of human functioning. Arvo Krikmann (2009 :51–57) states that proverbs also show a strong tendency of humano-centricity, as they concern man and his life.
Proverbs have been discussed from a number of perspectives, covering chronologically varied material, ranging from those occurring in written records from ancient times (cf. Mieder, 1997:3; Grandl, 2011) to contemporary units, with a number of creative uses (Mieder, 1982a & 1985a & 1989b; Litovkina & Mieder, 2006). The proverb has been defined by many paremiologists (Whiting, 1994 ; Mieder, 1989a & 2004; Paczolay, 1998), so various definitions can be found in extensive literature (Mieder, 1982b & 1990 & 1993 & 2001). Defining the proverb is so difficult, that...
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