University of the third age, Comenius University Bratislava
Project VECU – Proverbs
Dr. Katarina Grunwald
The project is aimed at the dissemination of cultural tradition and at the transfer of information relating to various areas of culture. „Príslovia (proverbs)“ and „porekadlá (sentences)“ form a particular part of cultural heritage and it was decided to give them appropriate attention in this project.
Our project and a relevant test sheet with the „Príslovia (proverbs)“ and „porekadlá (sentences)“ has been introduced at a high school in <st1:City><st1:place>Bratislava</st1:place></st1:City>. Participating students were from second, third and fourth form and were aged between 13 and 18 years of age and consist of 33 girls and 39 boys. We were surprised by the good cooperation with the teacher of Slovak and ethics. From their own initiative more copies of the questionnaire were made and submitted to further students.
From among thirty proverbs and sentences shown, 55 respondents were able to recognize and interpret between 23 – 29 correctly. The other 17 students gave 7 to 22 correct answers, making an average of 21, 6 correct answers.
Whilst answering some questions students even showed their own „invention“, sometimes quite witty. To the question about the source of their knowledge of proverbs and sentences most students replied, that it was reading fairy tales in childhood or the presence of grand parents, who led them in maintaining traditions. On the other hand it was obvious that students watch TV series. For instance to the question „ Time heals all“ few replied „Dr. House is the best healer“. Or as it fits youngsters growing up in a consumer society influenced by commercials: To „Hunger is the best cook“ the reply came „Dr. Oetker is the best cook“, when they ought to complete missing words in „.......... cook“.
We note with satisfaction, that though during handing out the questionnaires some students were jokingly querying the value of it all, after having completed the form and having read the correct answers they merrily reacted upon all correct answers.
Students said that their main source of information is is internet, books to a lesser scale, apart from compulsory reading at school and literature used as a source of information in case they pursue some hobby.
The use of proverbs and sentences is considered to be such a matter of fact that we sometimes do not realize we have just used them. That is why such a questionnaire, even if initiated by the researchers assisted by teachers, gave young students at least for short while an opportunity to think about folk wisdom used and realized by us for centuries.