Publication details [#7913]

MikuliÄc, Gordana. 1991. On understanding proverbs. 15 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


A theory that cultural knowledge, in the form of schemata, is necessary for the comprehension of proverbs out of context is tested in an experiment involving American university students with three years of study in Croatian (N = 10). A list of 60 Croatian proverbs taken from recent newspapers & native speakers (N = 4) was presented for interpretation of figurative meaning & identification of an equivalent English proverb. Proverbs are classified according to two variables: (1) structural type & subtype, & (2) figurative category. Among the latter, hyperbole was easiest to understand & metonymy most difficult; no correlation was found between structural type & quality of interpretation as rated by native-speaker judges (N = 3). As expected, a high correlation existed between knowledge of an equivalent English proverb & quality of interpretation. (LLBA, (c) CSA [1992]. All rights reserved)