Czech and Ukrainian Parallels to the Proverbs of Russian Paremiological Minimum (based on thematic group "Person")

Research article
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.60797/RULB.2024.54.8
Issue: № 6 (54), 2024
Suggested:
07.04.2024
Accepted:
21.05.2024
Published:
10.06.2024
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Abstract

In this paper, we will analyze one of the thematic groups represented in the Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs with English Parallels published by prof. M. Y. Kotova in 2000 – thematic group №2 "Person". The aim is to compare how it is reflected in the paremiological vision of the world in Ukrainian and Czech languages, to analyze the types of proverbial parallels and to find the possible lacunae. The analysis of the Russian proverbs that belong to the 2nd thematic chapter "Person" of the Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs with English Parallels and their parallels in two Slavonic languages – Czech and Ukrainian – demonstrates that the paremiological vision of the world of these three Slavonic languages has a lot in common. The existence of paremiological lacunae in such a closely related Slavonic language as Ukrainian emphasizes the unique features of the Russian paremiological fund and the peculiarities of the Russian mentality.

1. Introduction

Proverbs are an integral part of the culture of any nation. They absorb the history of the nation, reflect and record all stages of its historical development, convey the spirit and energy of people who speak a certain language, the peculiarities of their mentality and attitude towards life

.

The process of selecting proverbial parallels in different languages lies within the interest of different disciplines – comparative paremiology, comparative linguoculturology and theory of translation. In this research, we will analyze the types of proverbial parallels in Czech and Ukrainian to the proverbs of the Russian paremiological minimum that form the concept "Person" (human being) in the Russian proverbial picture of the world. We will compare how this concept is reflected in the paremiological vision of the world of Czech and Ukrainian languages and will reveal the possible lacunae.

2. Tradition of thematic classification of proverbs

The most outstanding collections of proverbs with thematic classifications appeared in the 19th century – the golden age of the European paremiography. We are talking about the famous dictionaries of V. I. Dahl, 1st edition 1861-1862

, F. L. Čelakovský, 1st edition 1852
and A. P. Záturecký, 1st edition 1897
. In the history of Ukrainian paremiography one should mention the fundamental collection of M. Nomis Українськi приказки, прислiв’я i таке iнше first published in St. Petersburg in 1864
. It was the first collection of Ukrainian proverbs compiled according to a thematic principle.

An important contribution to the comparative Slavonic paremiology and thematic systematization of proverbs became the Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs with English Parallels (further – RSDP) published by prof. M. Y. Kotova in 2000

. Kotova used 500 proverbs of Permyakov’s Russian paremiological minimum as the basis of this dictionary to which parallels in seven Slavonic languages were picked out, including 508 Czech proverbs and 826 Ukrainian proverbs. For her dictionary, Kotova created her own thematic index of Russian proverbs consisting of 12 thematic chapters or groups, each divided into further subgroups.

The thematic group no. 2 "Person" (human being) comprises 56 Russian proverbs divided into 7 subgroups: "Appearance", "Virtues – vices", "Drunk – Sober", "Intellect – stupidity", "Intellect – age", "Dodger – simpleton", "Language, speech – silence".

3. Sources of Czech and Ukrainian parallels to the proverbs of Russian paremiological minimum

In RSDP, Kotova used Mudrosloví národu slovanského ve příslovích by F. L. Čelakovský

as a primary source for proverbial parallels in other Slavonic languages. The choice of 508 Czech proverbs that were included in RSDP was based on a preliminary research of actual proverb usage in the correspondent languages. The results of the subsequent sociolinguistic paremiological experiment and an Internet search of the use of Czech proverbs in modern discourse were summarized in the Handbooks of Paremiographer. Issue 2. Czech Proverbial Parallels of Russian Proverbs from Paremiological Minimum
. Below, we’ll list the number of respondents (out of a total amount of 100) that continued the analyzed proverbs.

Another source of Czech parallels to the proverbs of the Russian paremiological minimum has become Východoslovanská přísloví a pořekadla v pohledu od češtiny – the collective work headed by E. Mrhačová

.

The Ukrainian proverbial parallels in this research also come from RSDP as well as the results of a sociolinguistic paremiological experiment among Ukrainian language speakers and an extensive Internet search of the use of these proverbs in modern Ukrainian, which was described by Kotova

.

4. Findings

First of all, we strive to find a full or relative proverbial equivalent in the target language, that is a foreign proverb that coincides in semantics, vocabulary, grammatical structure, figurative and pragmatic meaning, as well as in stylistics (slight lexical, grammatical or lexico-grammatical differences are possible).

Only 17 proverbs (that is 30%) of thematic chapter №2 "Person" have full or relative equivalents in both Ukrainian and Czech languages. Here we will list some of them:

Глаза ⎯ зеркало души /lit. 'Eyes are the mirror of the soul'/ – Ukr. Очі – дзеркало душі – Cz. Oko – do duše okno (HP-2, 55 resp.)

Что у трезвого на уме, то у пьяного на языке /lit. ' What's on the mind of a sober person is on the tongue of a drunk'/ – Ukr. Що у тверезого на умі, те в п’яного на язиці – Cz. Co u střízlivého na mysli, u opilého na jazyku

Старого воробья на мякине не проведёшь /lit. 'You can't fool an old sparrow on chaff '/ – Ukr. Стріляного горобця на полові не зловиш – Cz. Starého vrabce plevami neošidíš

«Посмотрим», ⎯ сказал слепой /lit. 'We’ll see – said the blind'/ – Ukr. Сліпий казав (сказав) – побачимо – Cz. Uvidíme, řekl slepý (HP-2, 17 resp.)

For the 31 proverbs of thematic chapter №2 "Person" we found equivalents only in Ukrainian. It means that in total, 86% of all the proverbs of this chapter have equivalents in Ukrainian. At the same time, only 30% of the proverbs have equivalents in Czech.

When it’s not possible to find an equivalent proverbial parallel in the target language, we look for an analogue – a proverb with a different figurative basis which however can be used as a sign of the same or similar situation. Many dictionaries, including RSDP and Slovník české frazeologie a idiomatiky 4 – Výrazy větné

also provide phraseological analogues when it is not possible to find a proverbial parallel.

Among the Russian proverbs that belong to thematic chapter "Person" 5 proverbs (9%) have proverbial analogues in Ukrainian and 25 proverbs (45%) have proverbial and phraseological analogues in Czech. For example:

По одёжке встречают, по уму провожают /lit. 'They greet according to the clothes, they see off according to what he knows'/ – Ukr. По одягу зустрічають, по розуму проводжають – Cz. Člověka poznáš podle bot /lit. 'You can tell a man by his shoes'/ (HP-2, 20 resp.) and Šaty dělají člověka /lit. 'Clothes make the man'/ (HP-2, 94 resp.). The number of respondents listed in the Handbooks of Paremiographer prove that the second proverb is far more popular. The Czech proverb however only corresponds to the first part of the Russian proverb, which is also often used in its reduced form По одёжке встречают.

Some more examples of proverbial analogues to the Russian proverbs in Czech and Ukrainian:

С лица воду не пить /lit. 'You don’t have to drink water from the face'/ – Cz. Krása není všechno /lit. 'Beauty is not everything'/.

Береги платье снову, а честь смолоду /lit. ' Take care of the dress when it’s new, and of your honor when you are young'/ – Cz. Čest máš jen jednu /lit. 'You only have one honor'/.

Мал золотник, да дорог /lit. 'Zolotnik [an old Russian measure of weight, equivalent to 4.26 gr.is small but expensive'/ – Ukr. Маленьке, але (та) важкеньке /lit. 'Small, but (and) heavy'/ – Cz. Malé ryby – taky ryby /lit. 'Small fish are also fish'/.

If there are no proverbial parallels in the target languages to a certain Russian proverb, we mark such cases as paremiological lacunarity. Of the 56 proverbs of thematic chapter "Person" only 2 Russian proverbs lack proverbial or phraseological parallels in both Czech and Ukrainian:

/Что/ Взглянет ⎯ рублем подарит /lit. 'If he/she looks at you, it’s as if he/she gave you a rouble'/. Языком болтай, а рукам воли не давай /lit. 'You can wag your tongue, but don't be free with your hands'/.

There are 4 more Russian proverbs that don’t have parallels only in Ukrainian: На брюхе шелк, а в брюхе щелк /lit. 'There is silk on the belly, and a click in the belly'/; Пить ⎯ пей, да себя разумей /lit. 'You can drink, but you need to mind yourself'/; Пить ⎯ пей, да (но) дело разумей /lit. 'You can drink, but don’t forget about the business'/; На всякого мудреца довольно простоты /lit. 'There is enough simplicity for any wise man'/.

In Czech language, 12 more Russian proverbs of this thematic chapter miss proverbial or phraseological parallels, for example: Ни в сказке сказать, ни пером описать /lit. 'Neither in a fairy tale to say, nor with a pen to describe'/; Глаза боятся, а руки делают /lit. 'The eyes are afraid, but the hands do it'/; Горбатого могила исправит /lit. 'Only the grave will fix the humpback'/; Пьяному море по колено /lit. 'The sea is knee-deep for a drunk'/; Дурная голова ногам покою не даёт /lit. 'A crazy head doesn’t give rest to the legs'/; Федот, да не тот /lit. 'Fedot, but not the one'/; Язык до Киева доведёт /lit. 'The tongue will bring you to Kiev'/.

5. Conclusion

Our analysis of the Russian proverbs that belong to the 2nd thematic chapter "Person" of the Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs with English Parallels and their parallels in two Slavonic languages – Czech and Ukrainian – demonstrates that the paremiological vision of the world of these three Slavonic languages has a lot in common. Naturally, there are more overlaps in Ukrainian – 86% of the Russian proverbs from this group have equivalents in Ukrainian, an additional 9% have proverbial analogues in Ukrainian. In Czech language we found equivalents to 30% of the Russian proverbs from the 2nd thematic group, an additional 45% have proverbial and phraseological analogues in Czech.

In total, 21% of the Russian proverbs representing the concept "Person" in the Russian paremiological minimum miss parallels in Czech, while only around 7% don’t have parallels in Ukrainian.

The existence of paremiological lacunae in such a closely related Slavonic language as Ukrainian emphasizes the unique features of the Russian paremiological fund and the peculiarities of the Russian mentality.

Abbreviations:

Cz. – Czech;

HP-2 – results of the paremiological sociolinguistic experiment published in the Czech Handbooks of Paremiographer

;

lit. — literal translation of all components of a proverb;

resp. – number of respondents of the paremiological sociolinguistic experiment in Czech language;

RSDP – Russian-Slavonic Dictionary of Proverbs with English Parallels

;

Ukr. – Ukrainian.

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