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DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.18454/RULB.6.37

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"ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN EQUIVALENTS TO THE PROVERBS OF CZECH ACTIVE PAREMIOLOGICAL FUND". Russian Linguistic Bulletin №2 (6), (2016): 76. Wed. 18. May. 2016.
Sergienko O.S. (2016). Russian Linguistic Bulletin, №2 (6), 76-77. http://dx.doi.org/10.18454/RULB.6.37
Sergienko O.S. ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN EQUIVALENTS TO THE PROVERBS OF CZECH ACTIVE PAREMIOLOGICAL FUND / O.S. Sergienko // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2016. — № 2 (6). — С. 76—77. doi:10.18454/RULB.6.37

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Сергиенко О.С.1
1Кандидат филологических наук, Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет
АНГЛИЙСКИЕ И РУССКИЕ ЭКВИВАЛЕНТЫ ЧЕШСКИХ ПОСЛОВИЦ АКТИВНОГО ПАРЕМИОЛОГИЧЕСКОГО ФОНДА
Аннотация
В статье анализируется понятие пословичного эквивалента и подбираются эквиваленты в русском и английском языках для чешских пословиц, относящихся к активному чешскому паремиологическому фонду.
Ключевые слова: паремиология, пословица, активный паремиологический фонд, пословичная параллель, эквивалентность, пословичный эквивалент, английский язык, чешский язык, русский язык.
Страницы: 76 - 77

Sergienko O.S.1
1PhD, Saint-Petersburg State University
ENGLISH AND RUSSIAN EQUIVALENTS TO THE PROVERBS OF CZECH ACTIVE PAREMIOLOGICAL FUND
Abstract
This article describes the concept of proverbial equivalent, and such equivalents for the Czech proverbs of active paremiological fund are found in Russian and English languages.
Keywords: paremiology, proverb, active paremiological fund, proverbial parallel, equivalence, proverbial equivalent, English language, Czech language, Russian language.
Pages: 76 - 77
Почта авторов / Author Email: olesyaserg@mail.ru

Proverbs have always been studied by different scientists – folklorists, ethnographers, theorists of literature and, finally, linguists. Prof. Valerij M. Mokienko notes in the Introduction to The Big Dictionary of Russian Proverbs, that while in the XXth century the main purpose of studying proverbs was to get to know “the spirit of nation”, today there is more attention to purely linguistic characteristics of these units – their usage in spoken and written language, interaction with folkloric fund of other nations, problems of translation into other languages [Mokienko V.M., Nikitina T.G., Nikolaeva E.K., 2010, p. 4].

The aim of this research is to find equivalents in Russian and English language to the proverbs of Czech active paremiological fund or paremiological minimum and to analyze the level of their equivalence.  

The idea of a ‚paremiological minimum‘ as a minimum number of proverbs known by the language-speakers was introduced by Russian folklorist G. Permjakov in the 1970ies. His studies became the basis for many dictionaries of commonly used proverbs, for instance, Russian-Bulgarian dictionary of proverbs by S. Vlakhov and multi-language dictionary by M. Kotova. The theory of paremilogical minimum has generated a lot of research in paremiology and paremiography (works by D. Bittnerova, R. Blatna, F. Cermak, P. Durco, M. Hanzen, H. Haas. P. Grzybek, G. Kapchits, M.Yu. Kotova, W. Mieder, V.M. Mokienko, L. Petrova, F Schindler and others) and continues to inspire linguists all over the world.

Some scientists however doubt the justification of using the enquete method introduced by G. Permjakov to determine the paremiological minimum. Among them is Czech phraseologist F. Cermak. He used an alternative approach that became possible thanks to the existence of the Czech National Corpus (CNC), which allowed to study the actual usage of proverbs, even though it is not the spoken language that is reflected in the Corpus, but mostly written language. The biggest advantage of this method is a possibility to see, document and study full variability of proverbs (Čermák, 2003, p. 18). Let us not forget, however, that the enquete method also provides opportunities to find out all possible variants of proverb endings. As a result, Cermak offers his version of a paremiological minimum – a list of 100 Czech proverbs on the decreasing frequency scale from 89 to 10 [10].

It is obvious though that both of the above described methods should be combined to determine the most up-to-date paremiological minimum. The enquete results should be checked against the National Corpus, as in the first case the aim of research is the knowledge of proverbs, and in the second case – their usage in written language.

The corpus of most frequently used and well-known Czech proverbs has not been yet analyzed for proverbial parallels in Russian and English languages. Neither Czech-Russian nor Czech-English dictionary of proverbs exists which complicates translation of Czech proverbs. We have taken advantage of the most successful attempts of determining Czech paremiological minimum, and combined the following four lists:

  • Proverbs from Dr. F. Schindler’s Das Sprichwort im heutigen Tschechischen. Empirische Untersuchung und semantische Beschreibung (1993) with recognition percentage of 90 and higher – 102 units;
  • Czech proverbs marked as known in the dictionary by D. Bittnerova & F. Schindler Česká přísloví – Soudobý stav konce 20. století (1997) with 17-19 respondents – 334 units;
  • Czech proverbs – parallels to the proverbs of Russian paremiological minimum of G. Permjakov picked by M.Yu. Kotova and presented in her Doctor’s Thesis (Kotova, 2004, p. 456-540), continued by more than 90 participants of a survey – 103 units;
  • Dr. F. Cermak’s list of 100 Czech proverbs presented in his study Paremiological Minimum of Czech: The Corpus Evidence (2003) – 100 units.

Following a comparative analysis of these four sources we formed a list of 142 proverbs putting aside the 47 proverbs that occurred only in one of those sources. This list should reflect the most up-to-date Czech active paremiological fund.  

The next step was to find proverbial parallels in Russian and English languages for the 142 Czech proverbs selected for our research. The following paremiological dictionaries became the sources for these parallels: Mudrosloví národu slovanského ve příslovích [9], Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs [3], Slovník české frazeologie a idiomatiky: Výrazy větné [11], NTC’s Dictionary of Proverbs and Cliches [12], The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs (Oxford, 1979), The Big Dictionary of Russian Proverbs (Mokienko V.M., Nikitina T.G., Nikolaeva E.K., 2010), Proverbs of Russian People [1], the article by F. Cermak Paremiological Minimum of Czech: The Corpus Evidence [10], as well as Internet sources and proverbs from our own paremiological vocabulary.

If we apply A. Shveitser’s levels of equivalence [7, p. 76-92] to the translation of proverbs, and combine it with classification of idiom translation methods defined by V. Komissarov, A. Kunin, S. Vlakhov and S. Florin, then it is logical to talk about the following types of parallels: full equivalent, relative equivalent, analogue, phraseological analogue, contextual analogue, calque (loan translation) and translation by paraphrase.

A ‘full equivalent’ is a foreign proverb that coincides with a proverb in the target language in semantics, vocabulary, grammatical structure, figurative and pragmatic meaning, as well as in stylistics. In case that such a proverb is used as frequently in target language as the original proverb, then such full equivalent would satisfy all levels of equivalence defined by A. Shveitser – on pragmatic, semantic and syntactic levels [7, p. 76-92]. 

We suggest to consider equivalence to be “full” even when the only difference between analyzed proverbs is their word order or some minor grammatical discrepancies caused by grammar structure of the target language. Some linguists call such cases relative or partial equivalence. Let us not forget however about such a characteristic feature of almost every proverb as variability. This does not allow us to apply very strict rules to full equivalence in case of proverbs.

We found full equivalents in both Russian and English for 29 analyzed Czech proverbs. Here are a few examples:

Co můžeš udělat dnes, neodkládej na zítřek – Не откладывай на завтра то, что можно сделать сегодня – Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today; Člověk míní a bůh mění – Человек предполагает, а Бог располагаетMan proposes, God disposes; Jablko / ovoce nepadá daleko od stromu – Яблоко от яблони недалеко падает – The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; Kdo se směje naposled ten se směje nejlíp – Хорошо смеется тот, кто смеется последний – He laughs best who laughs last; Kuj železo, do­kud je žhavé – Куй железо, пока горячо Strike the iron while it is hot; Mluvit stříbro, mlčeti zlato – Слово – серебро, молчание – золотоSpeech is silver, silence is golden; Ne samým chlebem živ je člověk – Не хлебом единым жив человек – Man doesn’t live by bread alone; Oko za oko, zub za zub – Око за око, зуб за зубAn eye for an eay and a tooth for a tooth; To­nou­cí se sté­bla chy­tá – Утопающий и за соломинку хватается – A drowning man will clutch at a straw.

Most of these proverbs are of international character loaned from Latin (Times change; Man proposes, God disposes; Strike the iron while it is hot; A barking dog never bites and other), the Bible (Search and you shall find; He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; Man doesn’t live by bread alone and other) and literary sources (He laughs best who laughs last; If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain; Much ado about nothing).

An interesting fact is that there are more full equivalents for the language pair Czech – Russian than for Czech – English, probably due to genetic relatedness of Russian and Czech. For example, there is a full equivalent in Russian for Czech proverb Dlouhé vlasy, krátký rozum – Волос долог, ум короток while in English no proverbial parallel has been detected. Overall, we found full equivalents only in Russian for 17 Czech proverbs and only in English for 8 Czech proverbs.

S. Vlakhov and S. Florin in their studies also talked about ‘relative equivalents’ [2]. Compared to the original proverb, relative equivalents have slight lexical, grammatical or lexico-grammatical differences, and at the same time, they still satisfy all levels of equivalence. For this reason a relative equivalent is often as adequate for translation purposes as a full equivalent. We found such relative equivalents in Russian for 36 Czech proverbs and in English for 44 proverbs. Here are a few examples:

Každý (je) svého štěstí/osudu strůjcem – Всяк своего счастья кузнец – Every man is the architect of his own fortune.

In this group of relative equivalents only one component of each proverb varies: strůjce (constructor)кузнец (blacksmith) – architect, which does not affect the semantics – ‘your own decisions and your own actions determine what your life will be like’.

Nekupuj zajíce v pytli – Кота в мешке не покупают – Don‘t buy a pig in a poke.

These proverbs warn against accepting an offering or a deal without examining it first, but the Czech buy a ‘hair in a poke’, the Russian ‘a cat in a poke’, and the English – ‘a pig’.  

Když se dva perou, třetí se směje – Когда двое дерутся, третий радуется – Two dogs fight for a bone, and a third runs away with it.

The above proverbs state ‘when two people quarrel, a third person benefits from it’. The English parallel contains an image of a “dog” while the Czech original as well as its Russian relevant equivalent are of a more neutral character.

So when a proverb has a full or a relevant equivalent in the target language it makes it much easier to reach an adequate translation, in most cases, however, it is only possible to find an ‘analogue’ or a non-cognate proverb, as F. Cermak puts it [10, p. 29]. It is a proverb of a very similar meaning but a different form, based on a different image [4, p. 92]. Such analogues can differ from the original proverb in lexical and grammatical structure and even in stylistics. It is still possible to use analogues for translation purposes, especially when a proverb analogue does not contain explicit national features. But it is not the subject of this research.

It is worth mentioning that those Czech proverbs that have equivalents in Russian and English – full or relevant – are among the most recognized and actively used. The majority of most frequently used Czech proverbs lack any specific national features or cultural elements, which would be difficult to translate. Most of these proverbs are of international character, and exist in many world languages in one form or another.

In conclusion, we would like to point out that we see perspective development of this topic in further research of the Czech paremiological minimum by checking all the extracted proverbs against the most current data of Czech National Corpus and Internet sources, as well as with the help of a new paremiological experiment among Czech language speakers. Our further goal is to create a multilingual Czech-Russian-English dictionary of proverbs based on the most recognized and actively used Czech proverbs that is proverbs of the paremiological minimum.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Даль В. И. Пословицы русского народа / В. И. Даль. – 3-е изд. – в 2 т. Т. 1. – 382 с. Т. 2. – 399 с. – М.: Худож. литература, 1984.
  2. Влахов Н. Непереводимое в переводе / Н. Влахов, С. Флорин. – М. : Международные отношения, 1980. – 341 с.
  3. Котова М. Ю. Русско-славянский словарь пословиц с английскими соответствиями / М. Ю. Котова ; под ред. П. А. Дмитриева. – СПб. : Изд-во СПбГУ, 2000. – 360 с.
  4. Котова М. Ю. Очерки по славянской паремиологии / М. Ю. Котова. – СПб.: Филол. фак-т СПбГУ, 2003. – 230 с.
  5. Котова М. Ю. Славянская паремиология: дис. … д-ра филол. наук / М. Ю. Котова. – СПб., 2004.
  6. Мокиенко В. М. Большой словарь русских поговорок. Более 40 000 образных выражений / В. М. Мокиенко, Т. Г. Никитина ; под общ. ред. проф. В.М. Мокиенко. – М. : ОЛМА Медиа Групп, 2008. – 784 с.
  7. Швейцер А. Д. Теория перевода: Статус, проблемы, аспекты / А. Д. Швейцер. – М. : Наука, 1988. – 216 с.
  8. Bittnerová D., Šindler F. Česká přísloví: Soudobý stav konce 20. století. – 2. vyd. – Praha: Nakladatelství Karolinum, 2003. – 313 s.
  9. Čelakovský F.L. Mudrosloví národu slovanského ve příslovích. – Praha: Lika Klub, 2000. – 928 s.
  10. Čermák F. Paremiological Minimum of Czech: The Corpus Evidence // Flut von Texten – Vielvalt der Kulturen. Ascona 2001 zur Methodologie und Kulturspezifik der Phraseologie / Hrsgb. H. Burger, A. Häcki Bufofer, G. Greciano. – [S.l.] Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, 2003. – P. 15–31.
  11. Čermák F. Slovník české frazeologie a idiomatiky 4 – Výrazy větné. – Praha: LEDA, 2009. – 1267 s.
  12. NTC’s Dictionary of Proverbs and Cliches. – Chicago: NTC Publishing group, 1993. – 321 p.
  13. The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs. – 3-rd ed. – Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1982.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Dal V. I. Poslovicy russkogo naroda [Proverbs of the Russian people] / V. I. Dal. – 3-rd ed. – In 2 vol. Vol. 1. – 382 p. Vol. 2. – 399 p. – Moscow : Hudozh. literatura, 1984.
  2. Vlahov N. Neperevodimoe v perevode [Untranslatable in translation] / N. Vlahov, S. Florin. – Moscow : Mezhdunarodnye otnoshenija, 1980. – 341 p.
  3. Kotova M. Ju. Russko-slavjanskij slovar’ poslovic s anglijskimi so-otvetstvijami [The Russian-Slavic dictionary of proverbs with the English compliances] / M. Ju. Kotova ; ed. by. P. A. Dmitrieva. – St. Petersburg : St. Petersburg State University Publishing, 2000. – 360 p.
  4. Kotova M. Ju. Ocherki po slavjanskoj paremiologii [Outlines of Slavic paramiology] / M. Ju. Kotova. – St. Petersburg : St. Petersburg State University Publishing, 2003. – 230 p.
  5. Kotova M. Ju. Slavjanskaja paremiologija: dis. … d-ra filol. Nauk [Slavic paramiology : dis. … of PhD in Philology] / M. Ju. Kotova. – St. Petersburg, 2004.
  6. Mokienko V. M. Bol’shoj slovar’ russkih pogovorok. Bolee 40 000 obraznyh vyrazhenij [Big dictionary of the Russian sayings. More than 40 000 tropes] / V. M. Mokienko, T. G. Nikitina ; ed. by. prof. V.M. Mokienko. – Moscow : OLMA Media Grupp, 2008. – 784 p.
  7. Schweitzer A. D. Teorija perevoda: Status, problemy, aspekty [Translation theory: Status, problems, aspects] / A. D. Schweitzer. – M. : Nauka, 1988. – 216 p.
  8. Bittnerova D., Sindler F. Česká přísloví: Soudobý stav konce 20. Století [Czech proverb: the current state of the late 20th century]. – 2. vyd. – Praha: Publishing house Karolinum, 2003. – 313 p. [in Czech]
  9. Chelakovsky F.L. Mudrosloví národu slovanského ve příslovích [Slavic nation sayings in proverbs]. – Praha: Lika Klub, 2000. – 928 p. [in Czech]
  10. Chermak F. Paremiological Minimum of Czech: The Corpus Evidence // Flut von Texten – Vielvalt der Kulturen. Ascona 2001 zur Methodologie und Kulturspezifik der Phraseologie [Flood of texts - diversity of cultures. Ascona 2001 on the Methodology and the Cultures of Phraseology] / Hrsgb. H. Burger, A. Häcki Bufofer, G. Greciano. – [S.l.] Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, 2003. – P. 15–31. [in German]
  11. Chermak F. Slovník české frazeologie a idiomatiky 4 – Výrazy větné [Dictionary of Czech phraseology and idioms 4 - Expressions of sentence]. – Praha: LEDA, 2009. – 1267p. [in Czech]
  12. NTC’s Dictionary of Proverbs and Cliches. – Chicago: NTC Publishing group, 1993. – 321 p.
  13. The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs. – 3-rd ed. – Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1982.

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