Diploma thesis


Proverbs about positive things - about love, friendship and home



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2.2Proverbs about positive things - about love, friendship and home

Czech and English proverbs about love are the same. There are many proverbs about love in both languages. People have always been talking about love and how to meet and keep love. A lot of proverbs say how precious is love and that it is not something people could buy for money. Proverbs about love advise what to do to meet love and not loose it and what to do when love is suddenly away. They also express that love exists during the whole life and not only in youth. Love is said to be the most valuable thing in the world and where is love, there is no place for hate.

The following examples of proverbs have been collected by Duncan Firth and Vladimír Veselý:
Láska hory přenáší.”

Love makes the world go round.

(Láska světem otáčí.)
Stará láska nerezaví.”

Old love will not be forgotten.

(Stará láska nebude zapomenuta.)
Co se škádlívá, rádo se mívá.”

The quarrel of lovers is renewal of love.

(Milenecká hádka obnovuje lásku.)
Láska není nikdy bez žárlivosti.”

Love is never without jealousy (Lacinová, 1996:70)

(Bez žárlivosti není lásky.)
Láska a nenávist jsou pokrevní příbuzní.”

Love and hate are blood relations.

(Láska a nenávist jdou ruku v ruce.)
The category of proverbs about friendship is very rich both in Czech and English language. Friendship is considered to belong to the most appreciated value of all human matters. Friendship is something which lasts a long time and good friendships should never end. A friendship is not something that is for sure; people have to know how to meet a friend and how to keep friendship forever. A good friend will not forsake, he will help in difficult situations or troubles (A friend in need is a friend indeed.).

Duncan Firth and Vladimír Veselý (1991) mention this proverb about friendship:


Dobré účty dělají přátele.”

Short reckonings make long friends.

(Krátké účty dělají dlouhé přátelství)
The Czech proverb differs from the English one by a term dobré instead of krátké in its English equivalent. The English equivalent includes the additional word dlouhé.
Other proverbs about friendship:

Svět se točí jako kolo; měj přítele, ale věziž koho.”

I have not found any English equivalent to this Czech proverb.

Pamatuj si člověče a podrž to v hlavě, že věrný přítel se sotva najde.”

Remember man and keep in mind, a faithful friend is hard to find (Lacinová, 1996:127).

(Máš-li přítele věrného, važ ho sobě víc než zlata ryzího.)

I have not found any big difference between these two proverbs; they are identical in form and in meaning.

Blahobyt dělá přátele, protivenství je zkouší.”

Prosperity makes friends; adversity tries them (Lacinová, 1996:127).


Oheň zlato, nouze přítele zkouší.”

The true friend is recognized not when the things are going well but at the time of a crisis. There is not any difference between these proverbs. They are identical formally and semantically.


Proverbs about the home are also numerous in Czech and English language. Home is the topic people have always been talking about over centuries. Home is a place where people feel comfortable and where they always like to return. Everybody has some place that he or she considers as home.
Here are a few proverbs talking about the home that are compared with respect to whether they are identical in both Czech and English language or whether they differ in some aspects:
Můj dům, můj hrad.”

An Englishman's home is his castle (Firth &Veselý, 1991:19).

Proverbs are the same semantically, but differ in the form – they differ in a number of components. In Czech proverb it is used the pronoun můj at the beginning in contrast with the English proverb where the word Englishmen is used. They differ in pronouns used before the word castle. In the Czech proverb it is used the pronoun můj and in its English equivalent it is used the pronoun his.

Všude dobře, doma nejlépe.”

East or west, home is best (Firth&Veselý, 1991:19).

(There is no place like home.)

Proverbs are identical semantically, but differ in their first parts formally. In the first proverb the phrase všude dobře is used, in the second one east or west is used to demonstrate that no matter where you are home is best. The remaining halves of proverbs after commas are identical.

Každý pták miluje své hnízdo.”

The bird loves her nest (Lacinová, 1996:125).

Proverbs are of the same meaning, they are identical semantically, and they differ only in the word každý that is used at the beginning of the Czech proverb. They also differ in pronouns that are used before the word nest - in Czech proverb the pronoun své is used and in its English equivalent the pronoun her is used.


2.3Proverbs about work and diligence

Work is a very important part of the human life. Thus, there are so many proverbs dealing with the topic of work. Work brings satisfaction, it is the source of living, it keeps both body and mind in good condition.


Most proverbs advise not to be lazy and work hard. Laziness is considered as a bad human quality. Some proverbs advise to start working immediately when any work has to be done and not put it off until later or better occasion.

A lot of proverbs express the same thing through different proverbs (No pains, no gains; No pater noster, no penny.). In comparison with English proverbs there are not so many proverbs that would have the same meaning in Czech proverbs.

The following proverbs are dealing with work; they are compared in order to find out similarities or differences between them:

Kdo spravovat dovedou, bez práce nebudou” (Lacinová, 1996: 150).

They that can cobble and clout shall have work when others go without.

(Ti, kdo dovedou přištipkovat a záplatovat, budou mít práci, i když jiní ne.)

Who is hard-working does not have to worry about loosing his work.

These two proverbs are not identical in the number of components. In Czech proverb the word spravovat is used in the contrary to the English where the phrase přištipkovat a záplatovat is used. In English proverb an expression i když jiní ne is added at the end of the proverb. Semantically the both proverbs are identical.

Zahálka jest čertův polštář.”

An idle brain is the devil's shop; or

The devil finds work for idle hands.
Both proverbs are identical in meaning, but differ in form. In the Czech proverb the noun zahálka is used at the beginning, the English equivalent uses an adjective idle with the noun brain to express idleness. At the end of the proverbs the word polštář is used in the first proverb and the word shop in the second proverb.

Both proverbs express that idleness is the bad human quality.

Baba z vozu, kolům lehčeji” (Čelakovský, 1976:42).

I have not found any English equivalent to this Czech proverb.

The proverb is used in cases when some work that had been postponing for a long time has been done finally, when some old debt has been paid or when a difficult task has been done.
Ani kuře darmo nehrabe” (Lacinová, 1996:151).

Mills will not grind if you give them not water.

(Mlýny nemohou mlít, nedáte-li jim vodu.)

Nobody will get anything for free. The Czech and English proverbs are totally different in form, in the number of components but express the same idea. Both proverbs express that people have to do something to get back any profit from their effort.



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