[Lingtyp] Metaphorical subject-object order in proverbs with parallel sentences
sivakalyan.princeton at gmail.com
Fri Jun 18 12:41:02 UTC 2021
At least some Sanskrit proverbs have the "metaphorical subjects" preceding the "metaphorical objects". The example that comes to mind is the following:
varam eko guṇī putro na ca mūrkhaśatair api
ekaścandrastamo hanti na ca tārāgaṇair api
“A single intelligent son is preferable to a hundred fools;
[just as] the sun is not blotted out by the multitude of stars.”
Also the following:
na daivam iti saṃcintya tyajed udyogam ātmanaḥ
anudyogena kas tailaṃ tilebhyaḥ prāptum arhati?
“Do not abandon your work, thinking it is foreordained by fate;
[for] who is capable of obtaining oil from sesame plants without effort?”
(Both of these examples are from the 12th-century text Hitopadeśa.)
In addition, all the examples of metaphorical proverbs in Tamil that I can think of also have the subject-before-object order. (I don’t remember the original, but one of them goes along the lines of, “Don’t think that only your relatives can help you; the poison that you are born with may threaten your life, but the herb that saves you may come from a distant mountain”.)
At the very least, there are probably strong areal tendencies here. I wouldn't be surprised if Sinospheric languages pattern one way, and Indospheric languages pattern the other way.
By the way, I wouldn’t recommend using “subject” and “object” to talk about metaphor, given how overloaded these terms are already. I think the standard way of talking about metaphors is in terms of “source domain” (= your “object”) and “target domain” (= your “subject”).
> On 18 Jun 2021, at 2:08 pm, JOO, Ian [Student] <ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk> wrote:
> Dear all,
> in Korean proverbs consisting of two parallel sentences, the metaphorical object precedes the metaphorical subject:
> 호랑이는 죽어서 가죽을 남기고, 사람은 죽어서 이름을 남긴다. A tiger leaves its hide when it dies, and a person leaves their name when they die.
> 열 길 물 속은 알아도 한 길 사람 속은 모른다. You can see through ten feet deep water, but you cannot see through a one foot deep heart.
> In these proverbs, the metaphorical objects (tiger, water) precede the metaphorical subjects (person, heart).
> I have been assuming that this is the “natural” way of making a parallel comparison, until I came across Mongolian proverbs today that have the opposite structure:
> Хүн ёс дагана, нохой яс дагана. A person follows traditions, and a dog follows bones.
> Уур биеийг зовоодог, уул морийг зовоодог. The anger torments the body, and the mountain torments the horse.
> I assume here that the person and the body are being compared to the dog and the horse (and not the other way around).
> Is this metaphorical subject - metaphorical object order common in proverbs of other languages as well?
> From Hong Kong,
> This message (including any attachments) contains confidential information intended for a specific individual and purpose. If you are not the intended recipient, you should delete this message and notify the sender and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (the University) immediately. Any disclosure, copying, or distribution of this message, or the taking of any action based on it, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful.
> The University specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through University E-mail Facilities. Any views and opinions expressed are only those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the University and the University accepts no liability whatsoever for any losses or damages incurred or caused to any party as a result of the use of such information.
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Lingtyp