Paremia: what it is, characteristics, composition, types of paremies and examples


What is a paremia?

It is one of the oral expressions that refers to a type of brief statement in which a message is transmitted, which often tends to express an advice, a reflection or an instruction to the listener, and which can be of a moral or intellectual nature.

The term is composed of the prefix para, which refers to next to or on behalf of, and the suffix oímos, which refers to way. Thus the term was translated as “wisdom of the wayfarer”, hence the predominance of moral content in its expression, which has also been associated with other oral expressions of literature such as the proverb and the proverb.

Main characteristics of the paremia

Now, let us see the most important features of this type of manifestation and which allow us to distinguish it from others that are part of the oral tradition. These characteristics are:

Variety of subject matter

There are several themes that a paremia can deal with according to the context in which it is developed or the intention to which it is destined. Thus, we can find paremias directed to different purposes that are composed of a great diversity of examples based on experiences, teachings or corrections about human behavior in different spaces.

Sententious content

A fundamental aspect of the paremics is linked to the fact that they are developed with a sententious content or under a sententious message. This element can appear in different levels according to the subject matter addressed by the parable, following its instructive intention. The formulation in the form of a tendency fulfills mainly the objective of presenting a truthful warning that the listener can verify.

Frequent application

Another important point to consider about the parable is related to the frequent use that has been given to this type of expression throughout history, in different contexts and epochs. Although there is no concrete record of its origin, it is known that it is used in different areas of the world, although in recent years it has experienced a great disuse in everyday speech.

About paremiology

This is a field dedicated to the study of paremias, which is also responsible for the compilation of this type of expressions in repertoires, corpora or dictionaries. In this way it has been possible to know throughout history a great variety of expressions of this modality within the oral tradition.

Composition of the paremia

One of the main characteristics of the paremia has to do with the fact that it is made up of an extremely short utterance that at the same time contains a sentence. It is, therefore, a composition based on a simple or compound sentence, which becomes established in the speech of the person who reproduces it through communication, which is why it spreads between generations.

What is a paremia

Types of paremics

According to their content, mainly, it is possible to identify several types of paremia, although they also involve another series of elements that contribute to their classification. Thus, let’s see what are the known types of paremias:

Said paremias

It refers to a type of paremias that are mainly related to the customs, observations and ideas established regarding the behavior of human beings under a collective vision of a certain area. In this way, they have an instructive, instructive and critical intention regarding defects and behaviors considered erroneous that should be corrected through models offered in the paremies.

Jocular paremies

This type of paremia is mainly characterized by its jocular and ironic content in which dialogism is highlighted, that is, a form in which a dialogue based on ideas or feelings is expressed. Under this format, the speaker acts as if establishing a conversation with himself or may refer a section to another person or a personified object.

Chivalric parody

Also known as epic paremia, it refers to a type of composition that exalts a set of ideals that at the time served the function of motivating and encouraging medieval knights. In some cases, the chivalric paremia included a motto in which the understanding of the content was facilitated, and also the nickname in which the ancient knights expressed their intention to confront and fight, although many of these required an explanation.

Advertising paremia

It is a type of paremia elaborated with the intention of promoting some product or service, attracting customers or other behaviors that are reflected in this field. Thus, the paremia is applied to achieve admiration, agreement or persuasion with respect to the target audience and it works for that purpose.

Scientific paremia

In this type of paremia are all those expressions of this type that contain a cultured origin, reason why they are mainly used under the framework of an environment that belongs to knowledge. In this sense, it is a parable that is used within a specific field or about a particular discipline and that only makes sense within it.

Example of a parem

Despite the fact that much has been discussed about whether it is a saying or a paremia, it is usually included in this category since by way of indication and warning it points out how each person is and cannot cease to be despite any kind of change or modification. This parable reads:

Though a monkey may wear silk, a monkey stays

The use of paremia has been undoubtedly distinguished throughout many generations in diverse spaces, which is why we find a great variety of them installed in the collective memory. If you want to learn more about other forms of expression of oral literature, remember that in our section dedicated to the literary field you can find many more to keep learning.