Languages and sayingsThere are sayings in every language. In this way, sayings are an important part of national identity. Sayings reveal the norms and values of a country. Their form is generally known and fixed, not modifiable. Sayings are always short and succinct. Metaphors are often used in them. Many sayings are also poetically constructed. Most sayings give us advice or rules of conduct. But some sayings also offer obvious criticism. Sayings also often use stereotypes. So they may be about supposedly typical traits of other countries or people. Sayings have a long tradition. Aristotle praised them as short philosophical pieces.
They are an important stylistic device in rhetoric and literature. What makes them special is that they always remain topical. In linguistics there is a discipline, which is devoted just to them. Many sayings exist in multiple languages. Thus they can be lexically identical. In this case, speakers of different languages use the same words. Bellende Hunde beißen nicht, Perro que ladra no muerde. (DE-ES) Other sayings are semantically similar. Meaning the same idea is expressed using different words. Appeler un chat un chat, Dire pane al pane e vino al vino. (FR-IT) So sayings help us understand other people and cultures. Most interesting are the sayings that are found worldwide. Those are about the "major topics of human life." These sayings deal with universal experiences. They show that we're all alike – no matter what language we speak!