Sound Organization And Poetic Forms Of Lezgi Folk Proverbs And Sayings


This article analyzes proverbs and sayings of Lezghins. The author characterizes features of Lezgi folk paremias, reveals the artistic skill of the people. Particular attention is paid to the internal laws of poetics related to small genres of oral folk art of Lezgins. A number of proverbs have rhymes and rhythm. The role of rhymes (initial, final, internal) based on the alliteration and syngarmonism of vowels is considered on the basis of factual materials. An important role belongs to various rhyming methods. There is an uneven number of syllables, in which the rhythm cannot be determined by correct alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. This indicates that the Lezgi folk verse was based on the tonic system and tended to syllabic versification. Lezgi paremias are characterized by one-part, two-part, and three-part forms of construction; their task is to achieve a sound-rhythmic organization of speech. Peculiarities of poetic speech are revealed in the intonational design of proverbs, therefore tonal repetition contributes to the rhythm in proverbs. Since the issues of sound organization and the poetic form of Lezgin’s folk sayings have not been the subject of comprehensive studies, the analysis of emotional expressive means in small aphoristic genres of Lezgi folklore is of great scientific interest.

Keywords: Folkloresmall aphoristic genresproverbssayings


Lezgi proverbs and sayings are grains of wisdom, “dressed in a short verbal form with a deep content” ( Gasharova, 2019, p. 70). They have their own structure and are distinguished by their internal artistic unity. “The national originality of proverbial folklore is expressed in a special view of reality inherent in every nation, in a special historical perception of the world, in the character of social and poetic generalizations” ( Ganieva, 2004, p. 73). Proverbs and sayings “belong to the epic genre of folklore. It differs from other epic genres in size and intensity” ( Israelyan, 2016, p. 22).

Lezgi proverbs are akin to the paramias of the peoples of Dagestan. According to Gatsak ( 1975), “similarity of folklore of neighboring peoples should capture general and specific, local elements of development multiplied by diverse results of contact ties, joint development and symbiosis of folk cultures” (p. 4). This statement can be attributed to the Dagestan paremias.

Mono-ethnic folklore community is a historical phenomenon. It is able to unite peoples that are not linguistically, ethnically related, which affects the emergence of new communities.

It should be noted that “similar paremias were found even in 9–10 peoples” ( Adzhiev et al., 2018). According to Uslar ( 1868), “no matter how multilingual the inhabitants of Dagestan are, they often converge in proverbs” (p. 15). This similarity enabled Nazarevich ( 1958) to conduct research on the proverbs and sayings of the peoples of Dagestan.

A number of proverbs are Caucasian, which is due to historical ties with neighboring republics. A large number of borrowed proverbs from Eastern folklore indicates cultural ties with the East. “But at the same time, the paremias express peculiarities of the figurative and poetic view of the world” ( Abakarova & Alieva, 1999, p. 198).

“Proverbs as indicators and custodians of history and culture of the people are units of oral folk art” ( Tverdokhleb, 2015, p. 102).

The works by Uslar ( 1896), Gadzhiev ( 2008), Vagabov ( 1961), Akimov (1991, 2013), Ganieva ( 2010) and others played a significant role in the collection and publication of the Lezgi paremias.

A significant role in the study of proverbs and sayings belongs to Hasanov ( 1974) who examined the figurative and poetic system, as well as linguistic features of Dagestan (including Lezgi) proverbs and sayings.

The specificity and compositional structure, artistic features and linguistic techniques of Lezgi folk proverbs and sayings were described in the book “About Our Proverbs” ( Gulmagomedov, 1974). The work by Gyulmagomedov can be considered the only study where the poetic form of the Lezgi proverbs, their sound and rhythmic organization underwent a superficial analysis.

According to Anikin ( 1957), “a proverb is a short instructive statement, a rhythmically organized poetic dictum in which people have generalized their socio-historical experience” (p. 8).

Problem Statement

The aim of the study is to establish emotional richness, originality of sound recording, a rhythmic structure, rhyming of folk proverbs and sayings of Lezgins.

Research Questions

The proverbs and sayings of Lezgins reflect the most important features of reality, objective qualities of man and nature. They have life generalizations. “The brightness and pictoriality of proverbs, and richness of visual and expressive tools are subordinate to the goals of the most effective expression of concise thoughts, accurate judgments” ( Webster, 2000, para. 7). The structural element of the proverbs, which serves as the basis of their symmetrical composition are the stylistic means of the artistic image of speech – antithesis, comparison, metonymy, and allegory. This is facilitated by the rhyme and the rhythm, which contribute to the preservation of unity of proverbs and sayings and highlight the main idea. Thus, paremias “vividly and truthfully depict the image of people, their aspirations and hopes, and amaze with their subtlety of decoration” ( Naimanova & Bayzhigitova, 2018, p. 180). Rhymes perform a rhythmic-semantic role.

In Lezgi, proverbs and sayings are found in various sentence structures. Words that form a proverbial sentence have their own characteristics. They are complete with interconnected parts. According to Buslaev ( 1854), "the proverb was created by mutual forces of sound and thought" (p. 80). Indeed, if we delve into the words that are part of the sentence structure, we can see that in Lezgi folk proverbs and sayings, the colorfulness of language is achieved by different types of rhymes (initial, final, internal) based on the alliteration and syngarmonism of vowels:

  • Proverbs formed by repeating the same or similar sounds and syllables can be divided into the following subgroups:

    • formed by alliteration, i.e. by repeating the same consonants:

      • А ж алдиз ма ж ал ж едайди туш – There is no time for death, А кь улсуз кь ил кь езил жеда – "A stupid head can be light," Г афа р г алачи р чӀал анжах нуькӀве р ихъ жеда – “Only bird speech can be without words”, Гзаф т уьн т вир т ни т уькьуьл жедайди я – "Very strong honey is also bitter," Шегь т а в ур аялдин си в е мам тв адайди т уш – “The child is crying if he is hungry”;

    • b) the repetition of vowels due to the phonetic law of syngarmonism vowels:

      • КӀ е кр е нб у р – гь а р ая р я , в е чр е нб у р – к а к ая р я – “The cock should crow, the hen should lay eggs”;

    • c) a combination of vowels and consonants to perform a certain ideological and artistic function:

      • ЦӀа й квай цӀа марал цӀа мар вегьемир – "Do not throw brushwood on a burning brushwood," Фа гьумсуз аслан фа д фу ра гьатда – "An inconsiderate lion falls into the pit," Ше гьна, ше гьна, ше ле бегьемарна – "She cried, cried, and filled the bag", Гьи м къуватлу ятӀа, гьа хъ гьа данди я – “Truth belongs to the brave man,” ЦӀи нин цицӀиб ди шазан цицӀи бдиз амалар чи рзава – "Last year's chicken teaches this year’s one."

  • 2. Proverbs reinforced by rhyming:

    • Фекьиди чичӀек не дач – гьатайла пиришни та дач – "Mullah does not eat onions, but will not leave the husk."

In these examples, words of the same grammatical categories are rhymed: in the first proverb – the noun with the noun, in the second – the verb with the verb.

In Lezgi folk paremias, single words and parts of the proverb are rhymed. There are deviations from traditional rules and the use of more complex forms of rhyming:

Азадвилиз – лиф , аял авачир кӀвал гьа йиф

According to Timofeev ( 1958), the rhyme plays a primary role in the primary rhythmic organization of prose: “The rhyme has a special meaning, it emphasizes this rhythm and enhances it” (p. 140).

  • In Lezgi folk proverbs, there is a peculiar rhythmic structure based on the uniform alternation of the same number of syllables in both parts of the aphoristic work, in which both parts are held together by the rhyme:

КицӀ кицӀихъ галаз ккӀана – къекъверагдиз рехъ хьана – "Dog and dog got into a fight – the door is open for the beggar."

The rhythm of paremias is achieved due to various structural and semantic features: consonances, figurative-expressive means, etc.” ( Oinotkinova, 2010).

In many rhymed proverbs, deviations from the traditional poetic size associated with their expressiveness are observed. The rhythm-forming function of rhymes in multi-part proverbs is significant. For example:

Камаллудаз – юзуналди, акьуллудаз – гафуналди, ахмакьдиз – лашуналди – "Moveoment – for the wise, the word – for the intelligent, the stick – for the fool."

Paremias are characterized by one-part, two-part, and three-part forms of construction. In Lezgi folklore, two-part proverbs dominate. It is generally accepted that “a proverb, like any parable, consists of two parts; however, the second part is sometimes omitted” ( Dahl, 2000, p. 9).

The principle of comparison is the disclosure of vivid expressiveness of paremias. The goal of the two-term form of proverbial expression is to achieve a certain sound-rhythmic, intonational organization of speech. The components of these proverbs can be used as independent expressions or contaminated with synonymous ones. Paremias can take a form of syntactic, artistic and rhythmic parallelism in combination with an antithesis:

Акъвазна кьейитӀа хъсан я, метӀерихъ акъвазна яшамиш жедалди – “Better to die standing than to live on your knees”).

Peculiarities of poetic speech are often revealed in the intonational design of proverbs, therefore intonational repetition contributes to the rhythm.

The rhythm of proverbs is regulated by the parallelism of parts:

Буш ким, буш гьамбар – "An empty godecan, an empty barn".

  • In Lezgi proverbs and sayings, there are anaphoric repetitions of the same words, syntactic or rhythmic constructions at the beginning of each parallel of the aphorism:

    • Мез ава хьи, хийир гъидай, мез ава хьи, шийир гъидай – “There is language that brings benefit, there is language that brings misfortune”.

  • The use of single root words as consonances:

    • Тахт жагъана, бахт жагъанач – "The has a throne rather than happiness", БалкӀан кӀанда , цӀап кӀандач – "He wants a horse rather than dung".

  • 6. Popular sayings formed by the displacement of alliteration and rhymes:

    • Гаф ар фар аш , кр ар яв аш – "Magnificent words, quiet things".

According to Ibragimova ( 2018), proverbs of the peoples of Dagestan “are at the junction of the Transcaucasian poetic traditions and a very richly developed rhyming system” (p. 371).

  • 7. Proverbs formed by the semantic connection of words and the repetition of sounds and syllables:

    • Дуьньяда я хъсан вал амукьда, я пис вал – “In this world, there will be either the good or the evil”, Гь уьлу ьн деринвал уьл чмишиз жеда, рикӀин деринвал ваъ – “You can measure the depth of the sea rather than the depth of the heart,” Ме ци татӀа й ди, га пур ди атӀу да ч – “The tongue cannot cut that has not been cut by the dagger”.

When we talk about proverbs formed by semantic connection, we need to focus on the words that make up the paremias: they have opposite meanings. According to Adzhiev ( 2005), “the imagery of proverbs is original, the good is opposed to the evil” (p. 72). These are antonyms. In proverbs, antonyms have different grammatical categories:

Яргъиди къарагъдалди, куьруьди базардиз фена хкведа – “While the long one gets up, the short one will come back from the bazaar”, Гзаф кайитӀани руьхъведи, амма абур рекъида – “No matter how hot the ash is, it will be cool,” Югъди ккӀида, йифди санал ксуда – “They quarrel all day but sleep together at night”, Гзаф хъуьрейди , эхирдай шехьда – Whoever laughed a lot will cry in the end.

In Lezgi folk proverbs, you can find words that have opposite meanings, but are not opposite in the language structure:

Ичин тарцелай жумар атӀуз жедач – You won’t pick a quince from the apple tree, ” Хуьряй экъечӀ тавурда, Багъдатдикай хабар гуда – “Whoever did not leave the village reports about Baghdad”.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of our work is to present the results of a scientific review of the genre specifics of paremias, sound organization, as well as the poetic form of Lezgi folk proverbs and sayings.

Research Methods

A variety of methods was used to study paremias. The methodological basis is a descriptive method used for studying genre features of Lezgi paremias. We examined only a small part of popular sayings. The use of a number of system principles provides opportunities for solving research problems.


We described the basic techniques of the sound-rhythmic system, and examined the poetic means used in Lezgi folk proverbs and sayings. As a result of a brief analysis, it was revealed that the specifics of the artistic form of folk sayings are alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, contributing to the clearest expression of thoughts and identification of meanings. At the rhythmic level, the artistry of paremias is formed by the verse, sound repetitions and rhythmic harmonies.


Thus, a proverb is a short, rhythmically organized utterance. Lezgi proverbs and sayings are products of wisdom reflected in concise and expressive forms. An analysis of the entire figurative and poetic system of Lezgi folk proverbs and sayings allows us to identify the specifics of proverbs and establish internal laws of poetics of this genre. Due to the rigorous form and expressiveness, proverbs are easy to remember, which is a sign of their stability.


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31 October 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Gasharova, A. R. (2020). Sound Organization And Poetic Forms Of Lezgi Folk Proverbs And Sayings. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1774-1779). European Publisher.