Wolfgang Mieder
University of Vermont, United States Of America


evento: Colóquio Interdisciplinar sobre Provérbios
Tavira - 2007
organização: AIP
resumo: Almost forty years ago the internationally renowned proverb scholar Archer Taylor published his provocative query on "How Nearly Complete Are the Collections of Proverbs?" in the Proverbium journal (no. 14 [1969], 371) edited by his Finnish paremiological friend Matti Kuusi. As expected, Taylor pointed out that the thousands extant proverb collections are by no means complete, having failed to register numerous proverbs and their variants as they might be found in printed sources. Not much has changed in this regard, as I showed in a survey of future desiderata for regional, national, and international paremiography entitled "Prolegomena to Prospective Paremiography" in the yearbook Proverbium, 7 (1990), 133-144. At that time I argued that while the need for more and improved historical and comparative proverb collections remains, paremiologists should also collect and annotate the new proverbs of the modern age. Little progress has been made on collections of modern proverbs based on thorough scholarly principles, including the proof of their general currency, frequency, familiarity, traditionality, etc. among today's speakers. Regarding the Anglo-American language, Fred Shapiro and Jane Garry from Yale University, Charles Doyle from the University of Georgia, and I have recently secured a contract form Yale University Press to put together the first comprehensive collection of modern Anglo-American proverbs. Establishing the master list of over 500 proverbs whose origin does not predate the year 1900 was a major task. We are now hard at work researching the actual origin of each text by means of electronic searches, printed media, and my international proverb archives. Each proverb is also checked for possible appearance in previous collections, etc. Our dictionary will also include contextualized references from literature and the mass media as well as illustrations in the form of caricatures, cartoons, advertisements, etc. Our work procedure will be discussed in my talk, and I will, of course, also deal with the language, structure, form, metaphor, and content of these truly new proverbs by way of interesting examples. It is my hope that the discussion among ourselves might lead to an even better dictionary and subsequently also to similar collections of the modern proverbs from other languages. This in turn will result in a clearer picture of the (dis)similarities of modern proverbs throughout the world, giving us also a better understanding of what type of wisdom is contained in the proverbs of the modern age.