An EFL Learners’ Performances on Associating English proverbs with Equivalent Turkish Proverbs: A Cross-Cultural Study


  • Fatma Kimsesiz Kırşehir Ahi Evran University, Turkey


Culture, EFL, intercultural relationship, proverb


As verbal folklore genres, proverbs are an essential part of cultural, social, and linguistic patterns in a given language, yet with universal tendencies present in all languages. As cultural mirrors of a given culture, proverbs may pose a resemblance in meaning and structure across cultures. There are growing appeals for translation studies that revolve around contrasting and investigating equivalent proverbs in the source language and the target language. This is the focus of the current study that aims to examine the performance of Turkish learners of English in translating selected English proverbs in terms of their interlingual equivalents in Turkish based on the theory of re-conceptualization on a comparative basis. Through the study, as an initial step 15 English proverbs were selected and examined under the scope of their re-conceptualization degrees to indicate their level of equivalency in three distinct levels as highly equivalent, roughly equivalent, and non-equivalent proverbs. As a second step, 80 learners of EFL at A2 levels participated in translating 3 groups of proverbs, and later their performance in translating these proverbs was examined and analyzed. The study is a quantitative study and the data was collected through papers uploaded by the learners on an online education program that enables remote learning called AYDEP (Ahi Qualification-Based Education Program), administered by Kırşehir Ahi Evran University. The results indicated that learners performed better in translating maximally equivalent interlingual English proverbs than roughly equivalent proverbs, and they translated and interpreted non-equivalent proverbs differently. Given these points, intertwining an intercultural affinity between the source language and the target language, interlingual equivalent proverbs prove to have facilitating roles in associating English proverbs with Turkish equivalents.



Article Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Al-Timen, F. A. A. (2015). An analysis of translation methods for English proverbs: literal, literary, or substitution. European Academic Research II, 11, 14016-14026.

Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation studies (3rd edn). Routledge.

Buljan, G., & Gradečak-Erdeljić, T. (2013). Where cognitive linguistics meets paremiology: a cognitive-contrastive view of selected English and Croatian proverbs. Explorations in English Language and Linguistics, 1(1), 63-83.

Byram, M. (1991). Teaching Culture and Language: Towards an Integrated Model. IN Buttjes, D. & Byram, M. (Eds.) Mediating Languages and Cultures: Towards in Intercultural Theory of Foreign Language Education, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Byram, M. (2013). Foreign language teaching and intercultural citizenship. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 1(3), 53-62.

Byram, M., & Feng, A. (2004). Culture and language learning: teaching, research and scholarship., Language teaching., 37 (3). pp. 149-168.

Byram, M., & Morgan, C. (1994). Teaching-and-learning language-and-culture. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Chakyroglu, A. K., Suiyerkul, B., Aitmukhametova, K., Turumbetova, Z., & Smanova, B. "Analysis of the proverbs related to the lexemes" tongue/language"." Opción: Revista de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales 85 (2018): 97-115.

Collis, H. (1994). 101 American English Proverbs. Lincolnwood: Passport Books, NTC Publishing Group.

Flonta, T. (2011). A Dictionary of English and Spanish Equivalent Proverbs. DeProverbio. com.

Gözpınar, H. (2014). The role of proverbs in forming intercultural awareness (on the basis of teaching English, Georgian and Turkish languages). Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

Jakobson, R. (1975). Językowe aspekty tłumaczenia [On linguistic aspects of translation]. In Seweryn Pollak (ed.), Przekład artystyczny: O sztuce tłumaczenia księga druga. 109–115 (trans. Zofia Sroczyńska). Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich.

Kimsesiz, F. (2021) Investigating EFL teachers’ perceptions of teaching English proverbs in

EFL classes: A cross-cultural study. RumeliDE Dil ve Edebiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi, (24), 1195-1210. DOI: 10.29000/rumelide.997593.

Kramsch, C. (1993) Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Landers, C. (2001). Literary Translation: A Practical Guide. Great Britain: Cromwell Press Ltd.

Lefevere, A. 1992. Translation/history/culture: A sourcebook. Routledge.

Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. (2010). Re-conceptualization and the emergence of discourse meaning as a theory of translation. In Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk & Marcel Thelen (eds.), Meaning in translation, 105–148. Peter Lang. DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4989.4724.

Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. (2017). Cluster equivalence, General language, and Language for Specific Purposes. In Marcin Grygiel (ed.), Cognitive approaches to specialist languages, 384–418. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Lubis, S. (2018). The equivalence and non-equivalence of proverbs across cultures. International Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1), 9-17.

Mandziuk-Nizińska, J. (2020). To translate, or not to translate: A cognitive linguistic analysis of selected English and Polish proverbs.

MEB Türkçe Dersi Öğretim Programı. (2019). At

Mieder, W. (2004). Proverbs - A Handbook. Westport, CT; Greenwood Press.

Norrick, N.R. (1985). How Proverbs Mean: Semantic Studies in English Proverbs. Amsterdam: Mouton.

Norrick, Neal R. (2014). Subject area, terminology, proverb definitions, proverb features". Introduction to Paremiology, edited by Hrisztalina Hrisztova-Gotthardt and Melita Aleksa Varga, Warsaw, Poland: De Gruyter Open Poland, 2015, pp. 7-27.

Ok, S. (2015). Reflections of ELT students on learning proverbs, International Journal of Language Academy, 3-4, 251-269.

Škara, D. (1995). Comparative analysis of proverbs: Universals and Specifics. Studia Romanica et Anglica Zagrabiensia: Revue publiée par les Sections romane, italienne et anglaise de la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université de Zagreb, 42, 365-370.

Strauss, M. L. (2005). Form, Function, and the Literal Meaning Fallacy in Bible Translation. SAGE Journals, pp. 153-184.

Syzdykov, K. (2014). Contrastive studies on proverbs. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 136, 318-321.

Venuti, L. (2000). Translation, community, utopia. In Lawrence Venuti (eds), The translation studies reader, 468–488. Routledge.

Wilson, F. C. (2010). A Model of Translation Based on Proverbs and Their Metaphors: A Cognitive Descriptive Approach. Translation Journal, 14 (4).

Xiangyang, Z. H. A. N. G. (2016). Language as a Reflection of Culture: On the Cultural Characteristics of Chinese and English Proverbs. Intercultural Communication Studies, 25(3).

Internet Sources




How to Cite

F. Kimsesiz, “An EFL Learners’ Performances on Associating English proverbs with Equivalent Turkish Proverbs: A Cross-Cultural Study ”, JELPEDLIC, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 296-308, Feb. 2022.