When examining such counter proverbs, it is difficult to discern an underlying cultural value. With so many barriers to a simple calculation of values directly from proverbs, some feel "one cannot draw conclusions about values of speakers simply from the texts of proverbs". Many outsiders have studied proverbs to discern and understand cultural values and world view of cultural communities. Seeking empirical evidence to evaluate the question of whether proverbs reflect a culture's values, some have counted the proverbs that support various values.
For example, Moon lists what he sees as the top ten core cultural values of the Builsa society of Ghana, as exemplified by proverbs.
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In studying Tajik proverbs, Bell notes that the proverbs in his corpus "Consistently illustrate Tajik values" and "The most often observed proverbs reflect the focal and specific values" discerned in the thesis. A study of English proverbs created since showed in the s a sudden and significant increase in proverbs that reflected more casual attitudes toward sex. Another study mining the same volume counted Anglo-American proverbs about religion to show that proverbs indicate attitudes toward religion are going downhill.
There are many examples where cultural values have been explained and illustrated by proverbs. For example, from India, the concept that birth determines one's nature "is illustrated in the oft-repeated proverb: there can be no friendship between grass-eaters and meat-eaters, between a food and its eater".
Some scholars have adopted a cautious approach, acknowledging at least a genuine, though limited, link between cultural values and proverbs: "The cultural portrait painted by proverbs may be fragmented, contradictory, or otherwise at variance with reality It is clear that the Soviet Union believed that proverbs had a direct link to the values of a culture, as they used them to try to create changes in the values of cultures within their sphere of domination. Sometimes they took old Russian proverbs and altered them into socialist forms.
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Many proverbs from around the world address matters of ethics and expected of behavior. Therefore, it is not surprising that proverbs are often important texts in religions.
The most obvious example is the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Additional proverbs have also been coined to support religious values, such as the following from Dari of Afghanistan:  "In childhood you're playful, In youth you're lustful, In old age you're feeble, So when will you before God be worshipful? Clearly proverbs in religion are not limited to monotheists; among the Badagas of India Sahivite Hindus , there is a traditional proverb "Catch hold of and join with the man who has placed sacred ash [on himself].
A reference book to the eleven surviving major religions of the world by Selwyn Gurney Champion, from Some sayings from sacred books also become proverbs, even if they were not obviously proverbs in the original passage of the sacred book. Not all religious references in proverbs are positive, some are cynical, such as the Tajik, "Do as the mullah says, not as he does.
An Indian proverb is cynical about devotees of Hinduism, "[Only] When in distress, a man calls on Rama". Dammann wrote, "In the [African] traditional religions , specific religious ideas recede into the background The influence of Islam manifests itself in African proverbs Christian influences, on the contrary, are rare. Reflection of Christian values is common in Amharic proverbs of Ethiopia, an area that has had a presence of Christianity for well over 1, years. The Islamic proverbial reproduction may also be shown in the image of some animals such as the dog.
Although dog is portrayed in many European proverbs as the most faithful friend of man, it is represented in some Islamic countries as impure, dirty, vile, cowardly, ungrateful and treacherous, in addition to links to negative human superstitions such as loneliness, indifference and bad luck.
Though much proverb scholarship is done by literary scholars, those studying the human mind have used proverbs in a variety of studies. A similar test is being prepared in German. The study of proverbs is called paremiology which has a variety of uses in the study of such topics as philosophy , linguistics , and folklore. There are several types and styles of proverbs which are analyzed within Paremiology as is the use and misuse of familiar expressions which are not strictly 'proverbial' in the dictionary definition of being fixed sentences.
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Grigorii Permjakov  developed the concept of the core set of proverbs that full members of society know, what he called the "paremiological minimum" For example, an adult American is expected to be familiar with "Birds of a feather flock together", part of the American paremiological minimum. However, an average adult American is not expected to know "Fair in the cradle, foul in the saddle", an old English proverb that is not part of the current American paremiological minimum.
Thinking more widely than merely proverbs, Permjakov observed "every adult Russian language speaker over 20 years of age knows no fewer than proverbs, proverbial expressions, popular literary quotations and other forms of cliches". There is not yet a recognized standard method for calculating the paremiological minimum, as seen by comparing the various efforts to establish the paremiological minimum in a number of languages. A good introduction to the study of proverbs is Mieder's volume, Proverbs: A Handbook. Mieder has also published a series of bibliography volumes on proverb research, as well as a large number of articles and other books in the field.
Stan Nussbaum has edited a large collection on proverbs of Africa, published on a CD, including reprints of out-of-print collections, original collections, and works on analysis, bibliography, and application of proverbs to Christian ministry Paremia is a Spanish-language journal on proverbs, with articles available online. Mieder has published a two-volume International Bibliography of Paremiology and Phraseology , with a topical, language, and author index. The study of proverbs has been built by a number of notable scholars and contributors. Earlier scholars were more concerned with collecting than analyzing.
Desiderius Erasmus was a Latin scholar — , whose collection of Latin proverbs, known as Adagia , spread Latin proverbs across Europe. From the 20th century onwards, proverb scholars were involved in not only collecting proverbs, but also analyzing and comparing proverbs. Archer Taylor was a 20th century American scholar, best known for his "magisterial"  book The Proverb.
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Current proverb scholars have continued the trend to be involved in analysis as well as collection of proverbs. Claude Buridant is a 20th century French scholar whose work has concentrated on Romance languages. She has written on proverbs in Jewish traditions. Healey is an American Catholic missionary in Kenya who has led a movement to sponsor African proverb scholars to collect proverbs from their own language communities. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Short traditional saying that expresses a truth. For the biblical text, see Book of Proverbs.
See also: List of proverbial phrases. Main article: Paremiology. Not by bread alone: Proverbs of the Bible. New England Press. European Proverbs in 55 Languages. Veszpre'm, Hungary. Wolfgang Mieder. Proverbs are never out of season: Popular wisdom in the modern age Oxford University Press.
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The Proverb. Neil Norrick. Amsterdam: Mouton. Anand Prahlad. African-American Proverbs in Context. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. On whether weather 'proverbs' are proverbs. The Academy. July 14, no. Gillian Hansford. Understanding Chumburung proverbs. Introduction: Folklore in African Society. Forms of Folklore in Africa , edited by Bernth Lindfors, pp. Austin: University of Texas. Sabir Badalkhan. Messenger, Jr. Anang Proverb-Riddles. The Journal of American Folklore Vol. Finnegan, Ruth. Oral Literature in Africa. Yangon: Pattamya Ngamank Publishing.
The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. New Haven: Yale University Press. Kent, Graeme.
Newmarket, UK: Brimax. Advice is a dangerous gift. Tolkien's Hobbit. University of Pennsylvania: PhD dissertation. Alster, Bendt.
An Akkadian and a Greek proverb. A comparative study. An Assyriological gloss on the new Archilochus fragment.