Folk Adage in the Literati Notes of Tang Dynasty
Dr. TSE, Yiu Kay

Written in classical Chinese but enriched with vernacular expressions, slangs, dialectic expressions, loan words and so on, the Tang literati notes (biji ??) forms a rich and valuable corpus for studying the lexis of the Tang dynasty (618-907) and middle ancient Chinese. This paper, with the use of literary works and dictionaries as references, gives a lexical elaboration and analysis on certain folk adages (suyu ? ?) used in the representative Tang literati notes, such as Feng Yan ??’s Feng Shi Wen Jian Ji ?????, Li Kuangyi ???’sZi Xia Ji ???, Duan Chengshi ? ??’s You Yang Za Zu ????and SuE ??’s Su Shi Yan Yi ??? ?.Nowadays there are still differences in stating the definition, components and characteristics of folk adage. In this paper, discussion is focused on those popular sayings quoted together with the word ‘su’ (?) , such as ‘suyu’ (??), ‘su yue’ (??), ‘su yun’ (??), and ‘su yan’ (??). Firstly, with reference to the examples founded in Tang notes, the paper examines and clarifies the characteristics of folk adage including its form and meaning, and then comments on the definition and coverage of folk adage with a comparative analysis on proverb (yanyu ??). With related to the meaning of folk adage, a sociocultural review on the reflection of common ideas and beliefs of the people of Tang and pre-Tang periods is also made.Secondly, examples are also taken to show their functions and significance in lexicography, which include serving as the first textual evidences, supplementing entries and explanations, advancing textual evidences, and supplementing textual evidences in dictionary entries. Lastly, the paper concludes with the contribution of such lingual material to the compilation and revision of dictionaries and to the study of the variation of folk adage.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v2n4a2