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This article examines one style of anti-proverb, the wellerism. It focuses on European (including Celtic) and North American data. It quantifies the frequency of wellerisms among anti-proverbs nowadays. It details which proverbs are used in wellerisms, and the common changes that they undergo. It also theorises about the processes that may occur after a proverb has been part of a wellerism. Based on examples collected by others it sets out the proverbs that occur in both wellerisms and other forms of anti-proverb, and points up that some proverbs become wellerisms but no other kind of anti-proverb. The article exemplifies wellerisms displaying the same proverb but different endings and the less common phenomenon, wellerisms created by different proverbs with the same ending. Indexing of wellerisms is discussed. Ireland is given as an example of how intensive searching can increase the stock of international wellerisms. The oral nature of the wellerism is highlighted and how this particular style of anti-proverb is unlikely to be used in advertising. The final point is about context and how it indicates that the purpose of constructing a wellerism on a proverb is to reinvent the proverb and ensure that its message is perpetuated.

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Studia Slavica
Authors:
В. М. МОКИЕНКО
and
Т. Г. НИКИТИНА

Wolfgang : Old Proverbs Cannot Die. They Just Diversify. A Collection of Anti-Proverbs . Burlington-Veszprém , 2005 . Margalits 1897 M argalits Ede

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In this study we analyze the results of a sociolinguistic survey conducted in Hungary in 2005–2006. The main purpose of this study was to employ the methods of correlational and quantitative sociolinguistics to assess how age, sex and education influence appreciation of humor in anti-proverbs (also known as alterations, parodies, transformations, variations, wisecracks). Each participant in the survey received a list consisting of 41 Hungarian anti-proverbs. The task of respondents was to read the antiproverbs and indicate their rate of funniness on a scale of 0 to 10.This paper focuses on three major questions. First, how do sex, age and education influence the overall scores of evaluation of funniness? The second goal was to consider differences in humor evaluation by sex, age and education with respect to some thematic categories treated in the anti-proverbs, including sexuality, obscenity, men, women, and modern technology. Our third aim was to establish the lists of the anti-proverbs which got the highest and lowest scores of funniness from the subjects as a group, as well as from respondents representing different subgroups: those who belonged to different age cohorts, genders, and those with different levels of education. We began our research with seven hypotheses generated by previous humor studies; the results of our study confirmed five of the hypotheses and disconfirmed one; the remaining hypothesis was neither confirmed nor disconfirmed.

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Studia Slavica
Authors:
Полина Оленева
and
Анна Литовкина

Alexander : Notes on Russian Anti-Proverbs . In: Baran Anneli , Laineste Liisi , Voolaid Piret (ed.): Scala Naturae. Festschrift in Honour of Arvo Krikmann . Tartu : ELM Scholarly Press , 2014 . 241 – 258 . Litovkina Anna T. : Old Proverbs

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In this study we analyze the results of a sociolinguistic survey conducted in Hungary in 2004–2005, with the goal of exploring some popular views of the proverb and anti-proverb and their functions in contemporary Hungarian society. Using data collected from 298 subjects, we focus on three major questions. First, our aim was to establish the lists of the proverbs most frequently used nowadays, as well as the ones most popular for variation. Our second goal was to discover our subjects’ thoughts about the use of proverbs and anti-proverbs, as well as about their views of the people who use them. And, last but not least, our third task was to compare what people say about their own usage of proverbs and anti-proverbs to what they think about the ways in which other people use these expressions.The complex analysis of the results of the survey can illumine interesting aspects; for example, the correlation between the subject’s gender and age and the use of proverbs and anti-proverbs. We also have to deal with the contradictions of folk concepts concerning this topic: there is a significant contrast between the ways in which subjects describe their own habits and the ways in which they talk about other people’s use of proverbs and anti-proverbs.

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The paper discusses the treatment of proverbial wisdom in Polish graffiti by drawing upon nearly 100 paremic structures collected on Polish Internet sites in the last decade. Proverbs in mural writing are classified as existential graffiti inscriptions due to their general rather than individualized reference. Graffiti writers challenge the potential of universal application of proverbs, paraphrazing the original forms, creating anti-proverbs in the process, with an eye to exposing the limited application of paremic wisdom or rejecting proverbs as entirely unsuitable in the context of modern Polish society. The paper explores the ways in which humour is employed in the use of proverbs in Polish murals.

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Summary

Among old Dutch proverbs and those in Japanese there are many similar views of life, wisdom and moral lessons, even though the phrasing may differ. The present author discusses twelve proverbs from Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) in Berlin and corresponding old Japanese proverbs and sayings in Japanese art to compare expressions, items of each proverb, meaning, degree of morality and other concerns. The present author also refers to some literary (Erasmus, Anna Bijns, Donaes Idinau and Carolus Tuiman and other literati) as well as visual background (misericords, engravings by Frans Hogenberg, Nicolaes Clock and other artists) before and after Bruegel's time as parallel examples. Proverbs in Ukiyoe, illustrations of proverb books, and cartoons by Japanese artists, such as those by Utagawa Toyokuni the Elder, Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Kawanabe Kyôsai, make good comparisons of Bruegel's work. Bruegel's representation of “Casting roses before swine”corresponds to Kuniyoshi's “Gold coins to a cat.”Both indicate almost the same meaning to give valuable advice or things to those who are unable to appreciate them. However, Bruegel's “He falls from the ox onto the ass”is meant to denote falling from a higher position to a lower one, while Kyôsai's “To jump from a cow to a horse”signifies the opposite situation; that is, a man exchanges his old wife for a young wife. In general, Japanese proverbial images give us the impression of a more comic and humorous sentiment than we find in Bruegel's didactic world.

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When people use a proverb or a proverb-like saying, it mostly represents an action to change the atmosphere of the situation going on. A social-psychological approach gives an apparatus to interpret different functions of proverbial speech and its relations to the use of humour in general. The article is based on the author’s study of functions of proverbial speech in social interaction. Proverbs are considered as a special kind of social strategy. Among the categories of the functions of proverbial speech listed in the Appendix, priority is given to those strategies in which a humoristic solution is most often preferred to serious social strategies. An obvious category in which proverbs are used humorously is ‘turning the situation into a joke’. In potentially conflicting situations such as negotiations it is important that both parties have an opportunity to joke about the situation. The liberating effect of humour, when somebody is using a proverb in a proper situation, is often an outlet for an individual’s own inner emotional tension. Something of the socially unburdening function of proverbs has also been recorded for proverb texts themselves. One can find lots of exaggerating expressions and humorous incongruity in the imagery of proverbs.

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While a number of anti-proverb collections as well as linguistic studies of such proverb parodies have appeared in several languages during the past twenty-five years, they have for the most part ignored the folkloristic importance of anti-proverbs as the source of new folk proverbs. There is no doubt that most anti-proverbs are one-day-wonders in that they will never enter general folk speech by gaining a certain currency and traditionality. However, there are at least some anti-proverbs that do express new wisdom and which have by now been accepted as innovatively expressed wisdom based on traditional proverbial structures. All of this is taking place in the vast area of the mass media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet), enabling such newly discovered wisdom to reach thousands of people who in turn use these texts to such a degree that they can be considered to be new proverbs. It behooves paremiologists to study these new proverbs, and paremiographers should definitely include these proverbs in their revised or new proverb collections. Proverb scholarship throughout the world will not advance if scholars do not pay proper attention to the proverbial lore of modernity, with anti-proverbs at least in part being important sources for such new proverbs.

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Proverbs have never been considered sacrosanct; on the contrary, they have frequently been used as satirical, ironic or humorous comments on a given situation. Wolfgang Mieder has coined the term “Antisprichwort” (anti-proverb) for such deliberate proverb innovations (also known as alterations, mutations, parodies, transformations, variations, wisecracks, fractured proverbs). The focus of this study is on different mechanisms of variation in Anglo-American, German, French, Russian and Hungarian anti-proverbs. The mechanisms discussed and exemplified in the study include replacing a single word, substituting two or more words, changing the second part of the proverb, adding new words, adding literal interpretations, repeating identical or phonetically similar words, mixing two or more proverbs, word-order reversal, rhyme, changing the first part of the proverb, and omission of words.

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