Proverbial Rhetoric in Sustenance of Gender Stereotypes: An Ethnological Account of Proverbs from Pakistani Languages

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Language is the most effective tool of communication across cultures. Proverbs are one such component of stylistic poetic and rhetoric devices which serves to communicate the worldview of an ethnic group. The paper is an analysis of ways in which gender differences are perceived, symbolized, portrayed, expressed and promoted rhetorically through the use of proverbs amongst various ethnic groups in Pakistan such as Pashto, Saraiki, Urdu and Sindhi consistent with the Whorfian hypothesis of linguistic determinism and relativism. The study employs qualitative data using the descriptive methodology. Discourse analysis of the secondary data and participant observations cast as primary methodological approaches has been gauged to decipher the meanings and intent of the proverbs. The study findings suggest that meanings of proverbs and messages are context-bound and reflect power dynamics rooted in conventional gender roles which serve to construct and deconstruct the notion of 'womanhood' in the ethnicities mentioned above.


1-Shazia Akbar Ghilzai
Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

2-Aneela Sultana
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

3-Mahwish Zeeshan
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan.


Cross-Cultural, Gender, Linguistic Determinism, Proverbs, Proverbial Rhetoric, Rhetoric, Woman Hood

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V - II

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Published: 06 2020

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