Gulnara Omarbekova, Erik Aasland

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book is intended for anyone interested in paremiology, especially the
study of proverbs of Kazakh-speaking linguists, philologists, anthropologists,
folklorists, and students of linguistic specialties. Kazakh proverbs are not only

a literary expression of Kazakh people’s spiritual wealth and centuries-old cul-
ture, but they are also a vivid chronicle of the level of consciousness, intelli-
gence, and wisdom of the Kazakh people. A proverb—maqal in Kazakh(from

Arabic)—is a short, simple, and traditional saying or phrase that gives advice
and embodies a common truth based on practical experience or common sense
(G. Mamırbekova 2017). A proverb may have an allegorical message behind its
appearance. For instance, Azĝa qanaĝat qylmasaɳ, kȍpten qȕr qalasyɳ could be
translated into English as (Grasp all, lose all). It addresses the human issue of
greed, encouraging the interlocutor to be satisfied with small things instead. The present collection contains articles by Kazakh authors. These works

focus on the structure and semantics of proverbs and their cognitive, lingua-
cultural characteristics, pragmatics, and variability/changeability. It was

determined that one of the most important issues is the sсholarly analysis of

the cognitive structure and conceptual models of the human image in prov-
erbs within the framework of an anthropocentric approach, such as “recogni-
tion of a person through his/her language” in modern linguistics. Therefore,

the pragmatic and communicative function of proverbs is the main focus
of the works included in the collection. Attention is drawn to the essence,
pragmatic and cognitive aspects, and structural features of proverbs, along
with the ethnolinguistic and cognitive foundations of the logical-semantic
grouping of proverbs in the Kazakh language. Then there are the literature reviews. Our Kazakh colleagues list name
after name of key scholars. Here we would draw a parallel to a foundational
Kazakh practice. When Kazakhs are young, they are taught to recite their last
seven generations of fathers. This is called the jeti ata (seven fathers). When
youth are in the process of finding a spouse, they will share their jeti ata. This
process serves two purposes: (1) It ensures that close relatives don’t marry/
maintains the tradition of distant marriage, and (2) it serves as an indication
of those who were raised properly. In a comparable way, the Kazakh scholar
offering a chain of scholars’ names is proof of their having been trained
uprightly in their discipline. Here the basis for the scholars’ activities is likely
comparable to the second reason.
Well, that is our attempt at explaining two of the stretching experiences
involved in bringing this volume together. I hope you enjoy this journey into
contemporary research on Kazakh proverbs.
I would like to express our gratitude to all authors who contributed to
this volume. Special thanks to my Co-PI of this project to Dr. Erik Aasland
for his commitment to developing the paremiological study of the Kazakh
This book marks the culmination of the three-year grant provided by
Nazarbayev University. In the chapter about discourse ecologies and Kazakh
proverbs, the authors report on the field research they carried out under the
grant. I would like to express our appreciation for Nazarbayev University as
this publication was financially supported by Nazarbayev UniversityFaculty
Development Competitive Research Grant No 110119FD4509. Permission is
gratefully acknowledged to reprint the following essay in this volume: Aasland,
Erik. “Contrasting Two Kazakh Proverbial Calls to Action: Using Discourse
Ecologies to Understand Prover Meaning-Making.” Proverbium: Yearbook of
International Proverb Scholarship, 35 (2018), 1–14.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPETER LANG GROUP International Academic Publishers Berlin · Bruxelles · Lausanne · New York · Oxford
Number of pages250
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-1-4331-9589-1
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-1-4331-9588-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023




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