Concepts of health, illness, life, and death in Romanian and English Proverbs



Gabriela-Corina Șanta (Câmpean)

1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia






The aim of this article is to compare and contrast proverbs dealing with the antagonistic concepts of health, illness, life and death in Romanian and English proverbs from the cognitive linguistics perspective. Therefore, the proverbs are analysed in order to unveil similarities and difference in the Romanian and English cultures on the concepts under scrutiny to detect the cultural standpoints regarding the four concepts. Furthermore, the proverbs will be clustered into conceptual metaphors so as to reveal interconnections among concepts.

The corpus is made up of fifteen Romanian and English proverbs dealing with the concepts of health, illness, life and death that are retrieved from both monolingual and bilingual dictionaries of proverbs. Thus, the primary sources are monolingual and bilingual dictionaries: Oxford dictionary of proverbs, Dicționar de proverbe și zicători românești, and a bilingual dictionary compiled by Virgil Lefter, entitled Dicționar de proverb englez-român și român-englez. The method chosen to detect the metaphors within the proverbs is a combination of the one offered by the Pragglejaz Group and Charteris-Black’s, whilst the conceptualisation technique is based on Lakoff and Johnson’s approach. The interconnections among the eight identified conceptual metaphors are arranged in spidergrams and the results prove that there are both similarities and differences between the Romanian and English cultures according to the manner they are reflected in proverbs. I examined the proverbs and conceptualised the metaphors and it resulted that 1) life and death are connected to each other; 2) life and death are related to both common or opposite concepts; 3) the differences in translation occurred mainly because of the symbols characteristic to the Romanian and English culture and the environment in which people live; 4) the specific musicality and structure of the proverbs play an important role in their translation.


Keywords: English proverbs; Romanian proverbs; Concept of health; Concept of illness; Concept of death; Concept of life; Conceptual metaphor.





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How to cite this article: Șanta, G.-C. (2021). Concepts of health, illness, life, and death in Romanian and English proverbs. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 14(2), 127-140. doi:



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