24 November 2010

Proverbs are not tidy

"Part of the difficulty with defining proverbs is that they do not conform to a neatly categorised genre. Their form, origins, content, purpose, structure, application, and a range of other aspects are so varied as to sometimes give the impression that there is no such single entity as a proverb. In some cases, a proverb can be something as basic as a moralising generalisation, while at the other end of the scale, it can be a complex and extremely culture-bound metaphor, conforming to an intricate structure, and containing several layers of encoded meaning."
Paul Moon in Traditional Maori Proverbs: Some General Themes published in Deep South v.3 n.1 Autumn 1997 /Copyright (c) 1997 by Paul Moon, Auckland Institute of Technology.

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