Semantic deviation in Arabic and English proverbs of love


  • Zahraa Abed Hashem M.A. Student, Department of English Language and Literature, College of Arts, Mustansiriyah University, Iraq
  • Thulfiqar Hussein Muhi Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, College of Arts, Mustansiriyah University, Iraq


cultural wisdom, didactic function , idiomatic expressions , proverbs , semantic deviation


Proverbs are a type of idiomatic expressions that are commonly used in everyday spoken language. They concisely and figuratively summarize everyday experiences and common observations (Borowska, 2014). The proverbs of love often contain various stylistic features that are worthy of analysis. The present paper hypothesizes that semantic deviations in the Arabic and English proverbs of love facilitate pleasurable and enjoyable delivery of the didactic messages conveyed by these proverbs and maximize their persuasive effects. Semantic deviations (such as simile, metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche) represent an important type of stylistic deviation in proverbs because of their figurative features and aesthetic values. Such stylistic devices make the content of these proverbs more appealing the audience and maximize the persuasive effect of their contents. This study examined 50 proverbs of love (25 in each language) from stylistic perspective, based on the semantic deviation model developed by Leech (1969). The analysis showed that the extensive use of various types of semantic deviations maximize the persuasive effects, and eventually efficient transmission of cultural wisdom. Additionally, such deviations were found to reinforce and facilitates the pleasurable delivery of the didactic function of proverbs.


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How to Cite

Hashem, Z. A., & Muhi, T. H. (2021). Semantic deviation in Arabic and English proverbs of love. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture, 7(3), 130-138.



Research Articles