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Plantele în proverbe româneşti
Plants in Romanian proverbs

Author(s): Constantin Drăgulescu
Subject(s): Classification, Ethnohistory, Oral history, Social history, Gender history
Published by: ASTRA Museum
Keywords: România; analysis proverbs with plants; ecology; medicine; dendrology;

Summary/Abstract: Proverbs are succinct enunciations that concentrate in just a few words a diversified human typology, tackled from the vantage point of appearance, ethics, social-cultural stance etc. Of the several thousand Romanian proverbs and sayings that I have collected so far, over 360 include some reference to plants from 75 species. Most proverbs refer to generic plant names such as flower, grass, (fruit) tree, weed, thistle or bramble. An analysis of such proverbs shows that half of them express observations regarding the morphology, physiology (particularly phenology), or the ecology of certain species (whether wooden or grassy, cultivated or wild). They are given in such a manner that turns them into: (potential) knowledge; moral precepts; culture (including agriculture, but especially horticulture and its branches: fruit and flower growing, viticulture, or vegetable growing); science (biology, ecology, medicine, dendrology) and so forth. One fifth of all proverbs indicate, via metaphors, physical and behavioural flaws that are either hereditary or not. The most frequent subjects are foolishness and ignorance (which lead to failure), ugliness, laziness (and its consequence, poverty), dishonesty, ungratefulness, impudence, intemperance, boastfulness, greed, witchcraft etc. Some proverbs reflect people's qualities, such as kindness, knowledge or skill, understanding, kindness, patience – features that sometimes go unappreciated by other people. One tenth of the proverbs are in the form of advice, teachings, or brief lessons in agriculture, behaviour (including ecological self-conduct). There are then proverbs that express a perception of false images or situations, or unpredictable happenings, surprises.

  • Issue Year: XXVIII/2014
  • Issue No: 28
  • Page Range: 129-134
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Romanian