Proverbs in the press: from 'sentence-like units' to 'word-like units'

Abstract : The main objective of this study is to examine how the British quality press makes use of a specific subgroup of proverbs and the reasons behind this stylistic choice. Nominal sentence proverbs such as Once bitten, twice shy or Out of sight, out of mind tend to appear in media discourse functioning as lexical items or ‘word-like units’ rather than ‘sentence-like units’, that is as “traditional maxims with deontic functions” (Moon, 1998: 22). These elliptical proverbs are likelier to be used as lexical items, integrated in sentences, bearing a specific syntactic function, than other longer and more structurally elaborated proverbs. Regular syntactic and lexical patterns seem to frame the instantiations of this type of proverbs in journalistic discourse. Their use provides a more popular and stylistically informal language register to this type of press.
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Chapitre d'ouvrage
Proceedings of the 3rd Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Proverbs, pp.310-320, 2010
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Ramon Marti Solano. Proverbs in the press: from 'sentence-like units' to 'word-like units'. Proceedings of the 3rd Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Proverbs, pp.310-320, 2010. 〈hal-00933038〉

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