Why Money Cannot Buy Happiness. The Painful Truth about Traditional Proverbs and Their Modifications
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Can one imagine language without proverbs? Do we really need these somewhat clichéd adages like An apple a day keeps a doctor away, Once bitten, twice shy, or Crime doesn’t pay? Are they still influential, or perhaps modern society should give them a new lease of life? This paper aims to reveal the “painful truth” behind traditional proverbs and especially their modified versions. Leading paremiologists (Wolfgang Mieder, Nihada Delibegović Džanic, Anna Litovkina) introduce a number of terms in reference to the latter, and so this study discusses the etymology and the semantic import of such labels as anti-proverbs, twisted proverbs, quasi-proverbs, and pseudo-proverbs. However, its basic aim is to propose a classification of modified proverbs based on a number of examples, such as Man proposes, mother-in-law opposes; A good beginning is half the bottle; Crime pays – be a lawyer; A new broom sweeps clean, but the old one knows the corners, and many others. Finally, based on Ronald Langacker’s conception of the profile-base distinction, deriving from the figure-ground alignment, this paper makes an attempt to prove the necessary link between traditional proverbs and their innovative modifications.
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