The relevance of the topic
The purpose of the study
Objectives of the study
The object of study
2. Main part
Reflection of the national character of the British in proverbs.
Proverbs - identification of major national traits of the British.
Proverbs, created by the people, are invaluable richness of any language. They are centuries old wisdom of any nation. Proverbs and sayings are familiar to all of us. How convincingly and beautifully speech sounds, if the person straightens his thoughts with saying or a proverb! Proverbs for us is like a guide-book of life. Perhaps, no other literary genre reflects people’s life as much as a proverb. They may well be called the people's encyclopedia. Each generation accumulated its observations of the world, social and family relationships between people, and these observations, this knowledge and experience is reflected in proverbs.
The relevance of this study During English lessons we often talk about the national features of the British, rate them positively or negatively, relying on the texts from our books, information from television and the Internet. But, unfortunately, none of us has visited England yet, so our information about what kind of people Englishmen are, can be false and contradictory. And I wanted to find confirmation from the Englishmen themselves. This work is devoted to studying of the basic features of the national character of the British and their reflection in English proverbs. The relevance of the topic is obvious, taking into account contemporary multicultural dialogue. It helps to understand the pecularities of the country of studied language, broadens our mind, promotes interest to English language and to the culture of the country.
The purpose of the study: to determine the connection between individual character features of the British and their proverbs.
Objectives of the study:
To interview students of our school to identify their point of view on the character of the British;
To study cross-cultural, documentary and journalistic literature on the subject we study;
To make a literal translation of proverbs and determine their meaning;
To classify proverbs into groups, according to certain character features of the Britons;
The object of study: English proverbs that reflect the personality and lifestyle of the residents of the UK.
Methods of research: exploratory research, comparative, practical application of knowledge, survey, analysis.
The structure of work: corresponds to the content of research tasks and is built in a logical sequence. The work consists of introduction, theoretical and practical parts, survey analysis, conclusion, applications and references.
Hypothesis: Highlighting the most bright character features of British people, you can find them reflected in proverbs, as an essential attribute of a nation's culture, reflecting the life, way of thinking and the nature of the nation they belong to.
The research part of the work we decided to start with a survey of the students of our school, English language learners. Altogether, were questioned 136 students in grades 5-9. Respondents were asked to name the most characteristic feature of the British to their opinion. Survey data, for clarity, are presented in diagram:
Thus, we have identified a number of distinctive national traits of the British. What can English proverbs tell us about the English character? Do they confirm or deny common stereotypes? For this purpose, we analyzed more than 100 proverbs.
Proverbs is a great linguistic wealth of the people, developed over many centuries. A proverb is not an simple saying. It expresses the opinion of the people. It contains the assessment of life, observation of people's mind. Not every saying has become a proverb, but only one that is consistent with the thoughts and ways of life of many people - a saying could exist for thousands of years, passing from century to century. Behind each proverb, stands the authority of generations who created them. Proverbs don't argue or prove anything - they just claim or deny something, and they are confident that they say the universal truth. So we decided to rely on the proverbs completely in the assessment of character features of people in the UK.
Most popular in the survey were such qualities of character as conservatism and restraint in words and emotions. And indeed in such proverbs as:
Custom is a second nature. - Привычка - вторая натура.
There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle. – На старой скрипке можно сыграть много хороших мелодий.
Old friends and old wine are best. - Нет ничего лучше старых друзей и старого вина.
is pronounced one of the main features of the national character of the British - devotion to traditions and customs.
The British believe that self-control is the main virtue of human nature. Words: "Learn to control yourself" like nothing better express the motto of this nation. The better a person is able to control himself, the worthier he is. The famous English restraint, the desire to hide their emotions are the result of a strict upbringing. "Silence is gold", "Less said, faster fixed” - inspire children from a very young age. These people know the value of words, and the following proverbs say about this:
Great boast, small roast - Много слов, да мало дела.
First think, than speak - Сначала подумай, потом говори.
Keep your mouth shut and your ears open - Держи рот на замке, а уши открытыми.
No wisdom like silence - Нет ничего умнее молчания.
When angry, count to a hundred. - Когда рассердишься, сосчитай до ста.
1.3. No less popular in our survey were character features such as efficiency and prudence. Money is the idol of the British. None treats wealth in such high esteem. On every field they spend a lot of time to raise money.
Strike while the iron is hot – Куй, пока железо горячо
A golden key opens every door. - Золотой ключик открывает любые двери
These proverbs describe the British as clever entrepreneurs, energetic and tireless in inventing ways to make money.
According to the British point of view, money affects friendly relations between people:
When I lent I had a friend, when I asked he was unkind. - Я богат, и друг мне рад. Где должок? А он - молчок.
At the same time the British condemn dishonestly acquired wealth and believe that dishonest man does not deserve the wealth:
Lightly come, lightly go. - Что легко пришло, легко и уйдет
Ill-gotten gains never prosper. - Нечестно нажитое впрок не идет
1.4. Thus it is necessary to say that wealth does not come to the British easily, but come to them through hard work, integrity, and working skills, as you can read in proverbs:
Never do things by halves. - He делай ничего наполовину
The early bird catches the worm. - Кто рано встает, тому Бог подает
Don't put of till tomorrow what you can do today. - He оставляй на завтра то, что можно сделать сегодня.
You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. - Нельзя приготовить омлет, не разбив яиц.
Little strokers fell great oaks - Малые удары валят большие дубы
Such quality as laziness, was totally unacceptable to the British.
1.5. However, it is well known that the house occupies more significant place than work in the life of Englishmen. V. Ovchinnikov in his book "Sakura and the oak" writes: "England is a Kingdom of private life, coat of arms of which could be the image of the hedge and the motto: "My home is my castle!". And what English proverbs say about this? The proverb “There is no place like home.” ( Нет места подобного дому.) is transferring a great love for native home, inherent in these people. The same thing can be said about the saying “East or West, home is best” (В гостях хорошо, а дома лучше). Hearth takes a great place in their lives. Home for them is truly the center of existence.
With neighbors Britons stay friendly and helpful. With strangers or uninvited visitors usually speak only through the door, not inviting them inside. Guests are invited only in advance and only at a certain hour. An unexpected knocking at the front door is very rare in London. The house serves as the Englishman's castle, where he can hide not only from unwanted visitors, but also from boring troubles.
Let the world wag and take mine ease in mine inn. - Пусть мир шатается, но оставит меня в покое на моем постоялом дворе.
Dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad. - Сухой хлеб дома лучше, чем жареное мясо за границей
Love your neighbor, yet pull not down your fence. - Люби своего соседа, но из-за высокого забора.
A constant guest is never welcome. - Постоянному гостю не рады.
But despite the stereotype about the English, as contained people, it is impossible to judge their character so one-sided. Other proverbs provide more accurate representation of the variaty of the national character of the inhabitants of the "Albion":
United we stay, divided we fall. - Вместе мы выстоим, врозь – пропадем.
A house divided against itself can't stand. – Дом, разделившийся внутри, устоять не может.
1.6 The theme of family relations is very common in English proverbs, relations between parents and children. Deep down, Britons believe that the parents should better be more strict than soft. Widespread English proverb "Spare the rod means to spoil the child" confirms this. The higher in society you are, the more strictness you have to show.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. – consider the Britons.
While children grow at home, they should not be heard. And since school age, ideally, should not be visible. It is a characteristic feature of the English way of life. Being the birds lovers, the British made such proverb: "Chicks should be thrown out of the nest to learn how to fly."
Parents are patterns – Родители – образец для подражания
A man’s mother is his other God - Мать человека – его второй бог
1.7. For Russian people it is astonishing fact that in English families pets occupy a higher position than the children. The British have fervent love for pets. The British are convinced that the person who loves animals, can't be bad. They love animals.And many British people developed the most sincere and loving relationship with four-legged pets. The British find a common language with animals perfectly, although sometimes they are completely unable to find a common language with their children. Britons spend about 1.7 billion pounds a year on food for their pets - more than all tea and coffee market! Animals are allowed to do all the things in the house for which children, most likely, will be severely punished. Animals are considered to be incapable of any evil deed. Cruelty to animals is causing horror and disgust. That is why a special relationship to animals is reflected in the large number of proverbs:
A cat may look at a king. - Кошка может смотреть на короля
Love me, love my dog. – Люби меня, люби и мою собаку
The early bird catches the worm - Ранняя птичка червячка ловит
Every dog has his day. - У каждой собаки свой праздник
1.8. In a sociological survey pupils called such qualities of character as a caution, carefulness, patience. They are unconditionally peculiar to the Englishmen, before you make any deal, they will think several times, and that is confirmed by the following proverbs:
Everything is good in its season. - Всему свое время.
Look before you leap. — Осмотрись, прежде чем прыгать
Slow but save. – Медленно, но безопасно
Discretion is the better part of valor. - Осторожность — лучшая часть доблести
And totally unexpected for me was the large number of proverbs, which says that man is the master of his fate, should not give up, hope for the best and achieve goals. It says a lot about such feature of British character such as optimism. It was unexpected for my respondents too, because this feature was not popular in the survey. However, proverbs say about it:
Every man is an architect of his own fortune – Каждый человек творец своей судьбы
Never say never – Никогда не говори - никогда
Fortune favors the bold. — Удача любит смелых
Nothing venture, nothing ham (have). - Риск — благородное дело
1.9. Analyzing a large number of proverbs, we note that the ideal of Englishmen are such qualities as independence, scholarship, exquisite courtesy, dignity, honesty, tact and grace of manners. They all reflected in English proverbs.
1.10. However, it should be noted that such features as generosity, emotionality, openness were not popularity both in sociological survey and in our study of proverbs.
Proverbs is an amazing source of information about the world, history, culture of the people whose language we are studying as a foreign language. Behind the proverbs stands a many-centuries wisdom of the people, the experience of many generations.
The study of proverbs of English language contributes to the understanding of the mentality and national character of the speakers of that language. Proverbs are an additional source of cross-cultural knowledge. M. I. Dubrovin wrote: "Wisdom and spirit of the people display in proverbs, and knowing the proverbs of that or another nation not only contributes to a better knowledge of the language, but also a better understanding of the mindset and character of the people."
English proverbs are a kind of key to a proper understanding of the characteristics of the English language. And therefore, while learning English, character and lifestyle we must turn to proverbs as the most valuable pastterns of the language. No other language tools cannot compare with proverbs in amount of information about the customs, traditions and life of the British. Proverbs and sayings are the most valuable treasure of the spiritual culture of the people.
The analysis of a number of English proverbs and their classification shows that our hypothesis about the reflection of the most bright features of the national character of the British in their proverbs has confirmed. In addition, it became clear that the study of proverbs gives the opportunity to learn Englishmen from another side, but not from widespread stereotypes and judgments about this nation, it allows to open a little-known features of the English temperament, such as for example, risk-taking, optimism, etc.
The list of references
1. V. Ovchinnikov. The roots of the oak. Impressions and reflections about England and the English people.
2. A. S. Komarov. English Proverbs, sayings and aphorisms. - M., Prospect, 2005
3. G. A. Stefanovic, L. I. Shvydkaya. English Proverbs and sayings. - M., Education, 1980
4. Modesto B. C. English Proverbs and sayings and their Russian equivalents. - M.: Russian language, 2004.
5. Mitin I. E. Russian Proverbs and sayings and their English equivalents. - M: CARO, 2002.
6. M. I. Dubrovin. English and Russian Proverbs and sayings. - Moscow, Prosveshchenie, 1993
7. Zhukov, V. P., Dictionary of Russian Proverbs and sayings, - "Russian language", 1999.
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