The National Specificity of the Proverbial Fund: Basic Concepts and Procedure for Determining

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The article presents an attempt to define the basic concepts and proposes a methodology for identifying the national specificity of the proverbial fund of a given language in the synchronic plan. In modern linguistics, more and more attention is paid to the study of interlingual specificity / generality of proverbs, both in the theoretical (typological, language and cultural), and in the applied (linguodidactic, lexicographic) terms. However, in linguistics there is no special methodological apparatus for establishing and describing the national specificity of proverbs. The aim of the research is to develop and test the basic concepts and methodology for identifying the national specificity of the proverbial fund of the language in the synchronic plan. Research methods - interlingual comparison, structural and semantic modeling, ethnolinguistic analysis, language and cultural description. The research material was over 1,500 of the most actively used Belarusian proverbs (from its paremiological minimum, the main paremiological fund, the corpus of literary texts), as well as proverbs of the Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, Romanic, Finno-Ugrian languages (more than 220,000 proverbs from the most authoritative paremiographic sources in 34 modern European languages). As a result of the study, it was found that for the differentiation of common with other languages and specific units of the proverbial fund of the language, the synchronic analysis based on the structural and semantic modeling of proverbs is the most objective. The linguistic content of the concepts “national specificity of a proverbial fund”, “unique, international, universal proverb”, “national specificity of a proverb”, “national and language specificity, national and cultural marking of a proverb” has been determined and verified. The methodology for describing the national specificity of a proverbial fund has been developed and tested. It includes the principles and methods of selecting the most representative units for analysis, the determination of the interlingual specificity / generality of proverbs, the ascertainment of their national and language, national and cultural specificity, the identification of the degree and nature of the national marking of the exact language proverbs. It is proved that the national specificity of the proverbial fund is qualitatively and quantitatively determined not by proverbs that are unique against the background of other languages, but by the national and language and / or national and cultural marking common (international and universal) proverbs of other languages.

About the authors

Eugene E. Ivanov

Mogilev State A. Kuleshov University

Author for correspondence.

PhD of Philological Sciences, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Foreign Languages

1, Kosmonavtov Str., Mogilev, Belarus, 212022

Olga V. Lomakina

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN); Moscow State Pedagogical University (MGPU)


Doctor of Philology, Professor, Department of Foreign Languages at the Faculty of Philology, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University); Professor of the Department of Russian Language, Institute of Philology, Moscow State Pedagogical University (MGPU)

6, Miklukho Maclay Str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198; 1, st. Malaya Pirogovskaya, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991

Julia A. Petrushevskaya

Mogilev State A. Kuleshov University


PhD of Philological Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Foreign Languages

1, Kosmonavtov Str., Mogilev, Belarus, 212022


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