runenklinge (runenklinge) wrote in linguaphiles,


Hello linguaphiles!
While reading a bunch of books and articles about idioms and especially proverbs, I´ve stumbled over something.

Proverbs are described as self-contained micro-texts that are enclosed and therefore independent from context. The article claims that proverbs are understandable regardless of context since they state a general truth/wisdom which is applicably in a wide variety of situations.

Another article claims that provers are not timeless and pancultural, but very culture- and history-specific and thus need to be interpreted with help from the context. The author states that proverbs show how culture used to work and how people thought at that time.

What do you think?
Do proverbs depend on context or not? Are proverbs timeless? How can a general truth be specific?
(and if you have an answer or want to share your thoughts, could you provide an example? I´m not an expert on English proverbs so it would be interesting to see if the langauge of the proverb would have an effect)

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