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a short, rhythmically organized, graphic, idiomatic folk expression.
Proverbs lend themselves to polysemous use based on the principle of analogy. The statement “When wood is chopped, the chips fly” is not of interest because of its direct meaning, but because it can be applied to other, analogous situations. The subject of the utterance is considered in the light of the universally acknowledged truth expressed in the proverb, and it derives ideational and emotional substance from that universal truth. The compositional articulation of the reasoning in proverbs— often reinforced by rhythm, rhyme, assonance, and alliteration —coincides with the syntactic articulation.
REFERENCESPotebnia, A. A. Iz lektsii po teorii slovesnosti: basnia, poslovitsa, pogovorka. Kharkov, 1914.
Dal’, V. I. Poslovitsy russkogo naroda [4th ed.]. Moscow, 1957.
Permiakov, G. L. Ot pogovorki do skazki. Moscow, 1970.
Proverbium, Helsinki, 1965–74, nos. 1–24.
V. P. ANIKIN