Arabic, Chechen Proverbs With A Component Of Kinship Relations: Ethno-Cultural Aspect


We set out to discover these common features among peoples who are territorially fragmented, and whose cultures developed in completely different trajectories. Scientists have proven that Sapeism originated in the East and then spread throughout the world. However, the concept of “eastern” from time immemorial and the concept “eastern” today are definitions with completely different meanings. In Europe, Sapeism developed in a completely different form than in the East itself. Meanwhile, there are common qualities of character and worldview. We tried to trace these common features in such a huge folklore layer as proverbs. This material is incredibly rich across all cultures and spans incredible time frames. Based on this material, the history of the culture of a particular people can be traced. Arabic paroemia is incredibly rich. However, paroemias with a component of kinship relations are especially warmly conveyed. Respect for adults, reverential attitude towards mother and sister, courage and strength of a man, all this can be seen in the examples of Arabic proverbs and sayings Addressing them, the reader gets acquainted with the mentality of an entire nation, determines its national identity, main character traits, its values, desires, aspirations. There are many common features between the paroemia of Chechens and Arabs, sometimes it seems that this is a direct translation and borrowing of one language to others, for example: a hurry from the devil, and the diligence of Allah -الْعَجَلَةُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَالتَّأَنِي مِنَ الرَّحْمَان – Tranquility is from God, temper is from shaitan.

Keywords: Analysis, culture, folk, proverbs, wisdom


Paremia of any nation is rich and varied. This layer of culture has evolved over the centuries, presenting the life of this or that people throughout its long history. Man could not write and read but his culture already had the patterns of short statements accurately characterizing him as a person. For a long time, these statements were passed by word of mouth, from one generation to another. Over time, a person began to write them down and received whole arches of an inexhaustible storehouse of wisdom, they became floorboards and sayings.

The folklore of each nation has more than one anthology of this kind; the ancient Greeks called it a “collection of flowers” not for no reason (Navrazova et al., 2015).

It is interesting, however, that different nations are united by universal human qualities, which are vividly shown in proverbs and sayings. Neither different cultures, nor large territories that separate peoples become an obstacle to feel and think a little alike. Consequently, it is possible to establish interlingual links between proverbs and sayings, which manifest themselves in full paremiological equivalents. This class of paroemias includes paroemias, which are translated into the target language in a similar way to paroemias. For example, in Arabic, the proverb “"لا تؤخر عمل اليوم لغد” has a full equivalent in Russian “Не откладывай на завтра то, что можно сделать сегодня” (“Ne otkladyvay na zavtra to, chto mozhno sdelat' segodnya”) and English: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” (Vasilyeva, 1998).

The next class of proverbs includes partial paremiological equivalents. These are proverbs and sayings that have the same meaning, but are transmitted with some artistic and lexical difference. In Arabic, the paremia ﻋِﺯﱢ اﻠﻆُّﻬْﺮِ ﻔﻰ ٱﻠﻨُّﺠُﻭﻢَ ﺃﺭَﺍﻩُ is translated as “Show someone a star at bright noon”, in Russian there is the proverb “Показать кому – либо, где раки зимуют” (“Pokazat' komu-libo, gde raki zimuyut”) and English – a proverb with the meaning “To teach someone a lesson”.

The third group of proverbs is represented by paremiological analogues. These proverbs and sayings are identical in meaning, but different in imagery and component composition; in Arabic we find the proverb أعمي يبرجس في النخل" " meaning “A person is blind but participates in races between palm trees.” In Russian there is the following analogue: “Не в свои сани не садись” (“Ne v svoi sani ne sadis'”.) In English, the proverb “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” In this section of proverbs, we find national differences, which convey the color of these peoples.

And the last group of proverbs that we will consider is non-equivalent proverbs or lacunar ones. These include proverbs and sayings that have no correspondence in other languages. This is explained by the fact that they convey the specificity of traditions, the history of the people, as well as the heroes who entered history and folklore. There are a lot of proverbs of this type in the Arabic language. Some of them are related to religion, for example: "إللي يحب الدنيا يبكر لها وأللي يحب الآخيرة يبكر لها", which is translated as “Whoever loves this world gets up early, and whoever loves the afterlife also gets up early for him.” The meaning of the proverb is that the one who gets up early is a believer, and he gets up for morning prayer. Some of them contain names, for example, a proverb ﻤُﺴَﻴْﻠِﻤَﺔَ ﻤِﻦْ ﺃﻜْﺬَﺐُ meaning “More deceitful than the prophet Musailima.” Musailima is a historical hero, he was a false prophet.

As we can see, the proverbial material is incredibly rich and provides great opportunities for work.

Problem Statement

The interest of the studied material lies in the complexity of translating paremiological units, due to the multitude of interlingual relations. The main problem between the proverbs of the Arabic and Chechen languages is the lack of a systematic approach both in translating data and in conducting a comparative analysis. Despite the existing interest in society, “the influence of the Arabic language and Arabic culture on the Vainakh languages has not been adequately studied so far (Vagapov, 2013).

Research Questions

Paremia is a large layer in the folklore of any nation. On its basis, one can trace traditions and customs and relationships between people, the attitude of these people to the world around them, and many other qualities. Despite the fact that the ethnic images of different nationalities differ, common features can be found. The paremiological material enables to find the corresponding ethnic stereotypes, as well as certain images of each people under consideration, the features inherent to this very nationality. It enables to determine the most important features of a particular ethnic group. For example, the East is always associated with incredible hospitality, a big heart, courage, bravery, tolerance, tact, good upbringing. These qualities are clearly expressed in the proverbs of the Arabs, for example:

A man’s upbringing is better than his gold – ذَﻫَﺑِﻪِ ﺨَﻴْﺭٌﻤِﻦْ ٱﻠْﻤَﺭْﺀِ ﺃَﺩَﺏُ

Do good and forget about it – إفْعَلْ الْخَيْرَ وَإنْسَ إيَاهُ

Protect your soul from all meanness – إكْرَمْ نَفْسَكَ عَنْ كُلِّ دَنِيءٍ

Patience is hard, but its consequences are sweet – إذَا كَانَ الصَّبْرُ مُرًّا فَعَاقِبَتُهُ حُلْوَةٌ

Blessing is in small things – الْبَرَكَةُ فِي الْقَلِيلِ

A friend in need is a friend indeed – ٱﻹﺨْﻭﺍﻥُ ﻴُﻌْﺮَﻑُ ٱﻠﺷَّﺪﺍﺋِﺪِ ﻋِﻧْﺩَ

All these and other features were formed over generations and honed over the centuries depending on historical and geographical conditions. At the same time, along with positive features, each nationality has features which they themselves attribute to negative ones. They are aware of these negative qualities and address them themselves, often ironically. For example

To obey the tongue means to repent later – ﻨَﺪَﺍﻤَﺔٌ ٱﻠﻠِّﺴَﺎﻦِ ﻄَﺎﻋَﺔُ

Greed spoils the character – الطَّمَعُ يَفْسُدُ الطَّبَعَ

Anger rapidly accelerates rage and reverses beneficence – الظُّلْمُ أسْرَعُ شَيْءٍ إلَي تَعْجِيلِ نِقْمَةٍ وَتَبْدِيلِ نِعْمَةٍ

Haste is from the devil, and discretion is from Allah – الْعَجَلَةُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَالتَّأَنِي مِنَ الرَّحْمَانِ

The wrath of a fool is dangerous – ﺷَﺪِﻴﺪٌ ﺃﺤْﻤَﻖَ ﻏَﻀَﺏُ

Cheating a friend is meanness – غَبْنُ الصَّدِيقِ نَذَالَةٌ

Paremias for related cognithemes are very diverse in Arabic folklore. They reveal the relationship of children to mother, parents to children, brother to sister and vice versa. This paremiological layer reflects the specifics of kinship relationships very clearly. It should be noted here that in Arabic, unlike English and Russian, concepts denoting family ties, for example, “uncle”, “aunt” have different lexical ways of transmission. The father’s brother and the father’s sister, the mother’s brother and the mother’s sister have their own meanings, as well as cousin.

Paternal uncle – عَمٌّ, paternal aunt – ( ابن منظور، ٢٠٠٣م – ١٤٢٣هـ)عَمَّةٌ,

Paternal cousin (male) – ابن العمّ, paternal cousin (female) – بنت العمّ

Aunt (the wife of father’s brother) – زوجة العمّ

Maternal uncle – خال, maternal aunt – خالة

From our perspective, this is due to the fact that the Arabs had tribal relations for a long period in the history of their development. They lived in large settlements. A whole tribe, which sometimes numbered up to a thousand tents, roamed and settled in one place, their herds grazed on the same pastures. This gave rise to the need to distinguish between the relatives of the mother and father.

In the Chechen language, the same phenomenon, that is, subtle differences in terms of kinship is observed. As for the Chechens, their habitat is connected with the mountains, which implies certain isolation. These territorial entities, like the Arabs, created tribal relations. The result of these relationships were the differences that exist today, they are of great importance. From our point of view, this influenced the subtle differences in terms of kinship among the Chechens as well. For example:

Paternal uncle – деваша, paternal aunt – дейиша;

Paternal cousin (male) – девешин, paternal cousin (female) – девешин йоl;

Maternal uncle – ненаваша, maternal aunt – ненайиша.

These differences are not limited to this set of semanthemes, there are many more of them in both Arabic and Chechen languages, and these lexical phenomena are found in the paremia of both languages.

Kinship relations among both Arabs and Chechens are very strong, as well as among Eastern peoples in general. Even in the era of the Jahiliyyah, the Arabs developed laws that all members of the tribe had to follow. Violation of this unwritten requirement was considered a violation of the obligations that were imposed by blood ties. The Bedouin felt himself/herself not as a person separate from his/her tribe, but as part of this tribe, whose laws he had to protect and obey. Breaking the law or committing a crime concerned not only the offender but the entire tribe. Often this entailed blood feuds that continued for decades. It was also possible to expel the violator from the tribe, which happened extremely rarely. This deprived the exiled of his protection. Such a fate befell the famous Bedouin poet of the Jahiliyya Imruulkais era. This wrong behavior was displayed in the proverbs and sayings of the Arabs:

The injustice of the loved ones is stronger than the blow of the sword – ظُلْمُ الأقَارِبِ أشَدُّ وَقْعًا مِنَ السَّيْفِ

Understanding and awareness of these unwritten laws formed the basis of the Arab mentality. The Bedouins believed that courage and honor are the main character traits of a man.

A noble man keeps what he promises – ﻮَﻋَﺪَ ﻤﺎ ٱﻠْﺤُﺭُّ ﺃﻨْﺠَﺯَ

A man is judged by his tongue and heart – قَلْبِهِ وَلِسَانِهِ ﺑِﺄَﺼْﻐَﺮَﻴْﻪِ ﺇِﻦﱠﺍﻹﻨْﺴَﺎﻦَ

It is better to face death than to turn away from it – إسْتِقْبَالُ الْمَوْتِ خَيْرٌ مِنَ اسْتِدْبَارِهِ

Guard your soul from all meanness – إكْرَمْ نَفْسَكَ عَنْ كُلِّ دَنِيءٍ

Skimp on neither your blood nor your wealth for your friend – إِبْذِلْ لِصِدِيقِكَ دَمُّكَ وَمَالُكَ

He is not afraid of death, but death is afraid of him – لا يهاب الموت بل ان الموت يهابه

These moral values were preserved and multiplied during the spread of Islam in the Arabian eninsula. Proverbs and sayings started appealing to tolerance, to reverent and respectful attitude towards a woman, and condemning stinginess. For example:

Be pious in life, and the Almighty will love you, be restrained in relations with people, and they will love you – إِزْهَدْ فِي الدُّنْيَا يُحِبُّكَ اللهُ إِزْدِهَمْ فِيمَا عِنْدَ النَّاسِ يُحِبُّكَ النَّاسُ

A miserly life wears a thin dress – ألْبَخِيلُ غِنَاهُ فَقْرٌ وَمَطْبَخُهُ قَفْرٌ

The strongest warriors are time and patience – أقْوَي الْمُحَارِبَيْنِ هُمَا الْوَقْتُ الصَّبْرُ

Respect for elders has always been highly valued by the Arabs, especially respect for their parents. Arab society required both sons and daughters to honor their parents. This attitude with the older generation, which strengthened the clan, the tribe as a whole, was a must. Islam supports this moral and ethical norm even to a greater extent. Today, in Arab society, respect and reverence for parents and elders in general is also relevant.

For Chechens, as well as for the Vainakhs in general, respect for their elders is the keystone of adats. Disrespect for elders, for one’s parents, is an incredible disgrace. It is condemned and is a violation of all ethical standards. Along with this, the younger must always heed the elder; the word of the elder is the law for the younger. This is evidenced by proverbs of two cultures:

Kindness is the duty of children to their parents – ألْبِرُّ بِالْآبَاءِ حَقٌّ عَلَي الْآبْنَاءِ

They sowed to feed us; we sow to feed them – فَيَأْكُلُون زَرَعُوا فَأكَلْنَا وَنَزْرَعُ

Our fathers sowed to feed us, now we sow to feed our children – زَرَعَ آبَاؤُنَا فَأكَلْنَا وَنَزْرَعُ لِيَأكُلَ أبْنَاؤُنَا

Hang your head with the elder, feel pity for the younger – Воккхачух эхь хета, жимачух къахета (Vokkkhachukh ekh' kheta, zhimachukh k"akheta).

Honor the elder; teach the younger – Воккхачун сий де, жимачун хьехам бе (Wokkhachun siy de, jimachun hyeham bae).

Honor the elder; make the younger honor you – Воккхачуьнца воккхалла леладе, жимачуьнга жималла леладайта (Vokkkhachu'ntsa vokkkhalla lelade, zhimachu'nga zhimalla leladayta).

Misfortune falls upon the one who does not heed the advice of the elder – Воккхачо аьлларг ца динарг, доккхачу вон тІекхаьчна (Vokkkhacho a'llarg tsa dinarg, dokkkhachu von tÍekkha'chna).

Who disobeyed the elder fell into the pit – Воккхачуьнга лацадоьг1нарг – ор чу воьжна (Vokkkhachu'nga latsado'g1narg – or chu vo'zhna).

A large number of proverbs relating to various degrees of kinship are in the Arabic storerooms, but there are also more than a dozen proverbs relating to the mother. They convey the incredibly reverent attitude of the mother to the child (Ramazanova, 2017). Despite the fact that the father is the head of the family, his word is indisputably authoritative and is an unquestionable obligation, yet the mother is the warmth of the soul, the basis of education, and it is she who shapes the future of her child. Moreover, Arabic proverbs and sayings present the life of an orphan child very eloquently. A child left without a father and raised by his mother, what is his life and a child left without a mother and raised by his father, what is his life. Chechens also have proverbs on this topic, which also clearly show the life of an orphan. For example:

A mother’s love never gets old – حُبُّ الْأُمِّ لَا يَشِيخُ أبَدًا

The best thing created by Almighty is the heart of a mother – من رَوَائعَ خَلَقَ الله قَلْبَ الْأمِّ

A rich child often sleeps in the arms of a poor mother – غالباً ما ينام الطفل الغني في حضن أم فقيرة

The future of the child is made by his mother – مستقبل الولد صنع أمه

The saddened turns to their mother – إلَي أُمِّهِ يَلْهَفُ اللَّهْفَانُ

A child without a father is half an orphan, and a child without a mother is a complete orphan – وَلَدٌ من دُونِ أبٍ نِصْفُ يَتِيمٍ وَلَدٌ من دُونِ أمٍّ يَتِيمٌ كَامِلٌ

When the father dies – a flower falls from the heart, when the mother dies two flowers fall – Да велча цхьа зезаг дужу даг тlера, нана елча шиъ дужу (Da velcha chya zezag duju dag tlera, nana elcha shi duju).

The earth feeds the man, and the mother feeds the child – Лаьтто адам кхобу, нанас бер кхобу (Latto adam khobu, nanas ber khobu).

Nine parts of a child’s blood come from the mother, one part from the father – Беран цІийх исс дакъа – ненан цІий ду, цхьа дакъа – ден цІий (Beran tsiiykh iss dak'a - nenan tsiiy du, tskhya dak'a - den tsiiy).

It means that the mother is the first person who teaches her child the laws of life, her very behavior and her speech help the child to know himself and the world around him. The child absorbs the behavioral reactions of his mother; they keep in the child’s subconscious for life. Building his personal life in the future, a person bases on the feelings and knowledge embedded in him by his mother.

My first school is in my mother’s heart – مَدْرَسَتِي الْأولَي عَلَي صَدْرِ أمِّي

One of the greatest books I have read is my mother – أعْظَمُ كِتَابٍ قَرَأْتُهُ أمِّي

The attitude to the wife and to the woman in general is strikingly different from the attitude to the woman meaning “the mother”. She is not trusted, considered to be insidious, fickle, often in the fight against Satan, the woman wins. The following character traits of the woman are described: stupidity, cunning and talkativeness. This is a person who is not to be trusted.

The devil is a professor for a man, but a student of a woman – ألشَّيْطَانُ أسْتَاذُ الرَّجُلِ وَتِلْمِيذُ النَّسَاءِ

The last thing that dies in a man is his heart, and in a woman – her tongue – آخر ما يموت في الرّجل قلبه وفي المرأة لسانها

The one who has a quiet house does not have a wife – من له بيت هادئ ليست له زوجة

If the devil fails to get into any place, he sends a woman there – إذا أخفق الشّيطان في التسرّب إلى مكان أوفد امراة

A woman is like a bee that gives honey but stings – المرأة كالنّحلة تهبك العسل ولكنّها تلسعك

After marriage, a man ceases to be afraid of the underworld – بَعْدَ أنْ يَتَزَوَّجَ الرِّجَالُ لَا يَخَافُ مِنَ الْجَحِيمِ

A good wife is honey, a bad wife is a wolf – Дика сте – моз, вон сте – борз (Dika ste – moz, out ste – borz).

It is worth noting that “proverbs about a woman are a mirror image of predominantly male ideas about an ideal woman. That is why there are so many proverbs devoted to the behavioral characteristics of women, indicating what society expects from women (Salazhieva, 2015).

The man is given the dominant role in the family. A family without a son is like a house without a foundation, family without extension. In Eastern culture, a man is a support, strength, protection, increased responsibility for his family, he is a breadwinner. All the original qualities of an ancient man are inherent in him to this day. He is the head of his family, responsible for each member. Showing weakness is unacceptable. This can be seen in the following proverbs:

If there is no son, there will be no shelter – К1ант ца хилча, тхов ца хуьлу (Klant tsa hilcha, thov tsa hullu).

A sister without a brother is like a naked twig – Ваша воцу йиша — марг1ал-сара (Vasha votsu yisha — marglal-sara)

Brother without a brother is like a falcon without a wing – Ваша воцу ваша – т1ам боцу леч (Vasha votsu is yours – tlam botsu lech’).

A father is a treasure, a brother is a comfort, and a friend is both of these things. – الْأبُ كَنْزٌ وَالْأخُ سَلَوَى وَالصَّدِيقَةُ كِلَا الْاثْنَيْنِ

The most beautiful thoughts are about a brother – أجْمَلُ خَوَاطِرَ عَنِ الْأخِ

A woman is the heart of the world, and a man is its mind – المرأة قلب العالم والرجل عقله

The proverbial material of these peoples is incredibly rich; it is a fount of wisdom in which each of the peoples draws knowledge, history and wisdom. “The study of proverbs and sayings of other peoples enables to penetrate into someone else’s worldview a little, to understand the moral priorities of a particular people (Kukhareva, 2008). The Arabs have always been sensitive to the word. Thus, they honor their set of proverbs as evidenced by the words given by al-Askari in his collection of proverbs and sayings: "بضرب الله الامثال للناس لعلهم يتذكرون " – “The Almighty coined a proverb so that people remember” (العسكري، ١٩٨٨ م – ١٤٠٨ هـ).

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to undertake comparative analysis of Arabic and Chechen proverbs with a component of kinship relations and the identification of the ethno-cultural aspect.

Research Methods

This article uses a comparative method of research enabling to consider and describe the proverbial material of the Arabic and Chechen languages. This method was used as part of a comparative, logical analysis, as well as through the analysis of the structures of proverbs of the two peoples. The work studies a variety of sources and analyses the information obtained.


The following conclusions have been drawn based on the analysis:

There are differences between the concepts denoting family ties both in Arabic and Chechen languages.

Belonging to one religion unites peoples of different cultures.

Tribal and teip affiliation develops cohesion and adherence to unwritten laws (adats) of both peoples.

The both peoples have common characteristics.


The studied material showed us that in different cultures there are common features inherent not in a particular nation, but in a person in general. The person’s worldview and attitude largely depends not only on the race and its territorial affiliation. It is especially noteworthy that the tribal affiliation of the Arabs formed the main character traits and influenced the formation of the Arab mentality as a whole. The same points can be observed among the Chechens. The same role was played by teip affiliation among the Chechens. The analyzed proverbial material shows how rich this folklore layer is in any nation. It is interesting not only from a semantic and artistic fullness, but also from a grammatical point of view.


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25 November 2022

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Cite this article as:

Ramazanova, R. T., & Khamzatov, Z. D. (2022). Arabic, Chechen Proverbs With A Component Of Kinship Relations: Ethno-Cultural Aspect. In D. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism (SCTCMG 2022), vol 128. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 512-519). European Publisher.