Sexuality in Anglo-American anti-proverbs

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Proverbs have never been considered sacrosanct. On the contrary, they have frequently been used as satirical, ironic or humorous comments on relevant situations. Wolfgang Mieder has coined the term “Antisprichwort” (anti-proverb) for such deliberate proverb innovations, based on distortions of original texts. All’s fair for anti-proverbs; there is hardly a topic that they do not address. The focus of the present paper is on one of the main topics that emerge in Anglo-American anti-proverbs, namely sexuality. Based on an extensive corpus of data generated by the author from hundreds of books and articles on puns, one-liners, toasts, wisecracks, quotations, aphorisms, maxims, quips, epigrams and graffiti, the paper presents a qualitative and quantitative study of sexuality notions recurrent in anti-proverbs in the English language. The results indicate a number of socio-pragmatic tendencies in the treatment of sexuality in English-speaking cultures.


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