The Female and Male World in Croatian Proverbs
Proverbs as concise textual structures are primarily defined as oral (folk) literary forms in which universal thoughts are expressed on the basis of individual experiences understandable to speakers of the language, i.e., of the social community in which they originated. In relation to, for example, idioms, the use of proverbs in today’s public discourse is much rarer, and proverbs in Croatian are most often recorded in printed form, while online edited lexicographic sources of proverbs are rare. Folk customs, human character and physical features, social and religious values, the relation of human and nature are the most common motives in proverbs. Male-female relationships are also the subject of numerous proverbs. Given the past times when they were created, they can be considered the source of a stereotypical image of the status of women and men in society that exists in human consciousness. Based on proverbs with the component woman, grandmother, mother, daughter, sister, girlfriend, widow, father, son, husband…, this paper will analyze proverbs with the topic of male-female relations, e.g. Ljubav daj ženi, ali tajnu odaj samo majci i sestri. (Give your love to your wife, but reveal the secret only to your mother and sister.), or proverbs referring to an individual feature attributed to a man or a woman, e.g., Kakvo drvo, takav klin, kakav otac takav sin. (Like tree, like wedge; like father, like son.)., Ženi sina kad hoćeš, a kćer kad možeš. (Marry a son when you want and a daughter when you can.). The analysis includes the following: 1. representation of proverbs in other lexicographic (printed and online sources), 2. representation of such proverbs in contemporary public discourse, 3. structural and semantic features of proverbs motivated by male-female relationships. In conclusion, the role of proverbs on the topic of male and female in the contemporary context is discussed – what is their perspective and whether the corpus has replaced traditional recorders and word of mouth today.
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