Nothing defines a culture as distinctly as its language, and the element of language that best encapsulates a society's values and beliefs is its proverbs. The graphic to the right shows the words that are used in English proverbs, with the size of each word indicating how often it occurs (click for a bigger image). It's interesting to note that the two most common words in English proverbs are 'good' and 'never'. A bit of armchair psychology leads to the conclusion that, if proverbs really do reflect belief, then the English are (or at least were when these proverbs were coined) inclined to be virtuous but negative - not so far from the truth perhaps? Proverbs are short and pithy sayings that express some traditionally held truth. They are usually metaphorical and often, for the sake of memorability, alliterative. Many proverbs have been absorbed into English having been known earlier in other languages. A barking dog never bites A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush Less is more
Related: Proverbs : Universal Gems of Wisdom!
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