Proverbs, Idioms and Maxims

I’ve always liked and enjoyed using proverbs and idioms.

A proverb is ‘a short pithy saying in common use, a concise sentence … held to express some general truth‘ and a maxim ‘a proposition expressing a general truth‘  according to the OED.

An idiom is (among other things) ‘a phrase etc which is understood by speakers of a particular language despite its meaning not being predictable from that of the individual words‘.

So, I presume that  ‘once in a blue moon’  or ‘dog days’ (the sultry days of summer) are idioms.

I’m starting to add sections on proverbs and idioms to Surface Languages in different languages.

I’m going to ignore the ‘in common use’ part of the definition as it could prove too limiting.  A proverb such as ‘an old bull plows a straight furrow’  (thanks Dad) wouldn’t be included in that rather strict definition. (Interestingly it doesn’t seem to exist on the internet ….  Well, you could knock me down with a feather.)

Breaking News. It seems following the comment below that the reason it doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet is that someone (Dad) changed the original slightly. The original proverb is ‘an old ox makes a straight furrow’. Apparently.

This will be as in so much in  life a ‘work in progress’.  Whenever I have enough proverbs/idioms in a given language I will try and have audio recorded. I also need some way of comparing the same proverb in different languages.

I need to sleep on this (literally) before starting. I like the idea but can’t decide on the best implementation.

I’ll be tickled pink when I’ve added this, but remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.



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4 Responses to Proverbs, Idioms and Maxims

  1. ASIYA says:

    How do you express using proverbs and expressions? thanks

    • moonface says:

      I guess it depends what you want to say.

      Probably the best way to start (and it isn’t easy) is to decide on a proverb that you like, understand its meaning and think of situations when you could use it.

      For example, I like “one mans meat is another mans poison” meaning (roughly) that we all like different things. I like this, use it now and then, and have learnt it in other languages, and use it in them (every now and then).

      Have fun.



  2. wow thankyou for make this blogg so informatiff

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