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Research GELIFES

Sense or nonsense? Young researchers are putting twenty proverbs to the test

01 September 2021
Outdated truths?

‘Even if the lie is very quick, the truth will catch up with it.’ Will it?

Proverbs. Without thinking about it, we make use of them daily. But our society is constantly changing. Are these ancient wisdoms any use to us still? Which ones can be kept on and which ones can we bury in the mausoleum of outdated truths? Young researchers from various disciplines, among whom are many members of the Young Academy Groningen, researched the level of truth of twenty common proverbs. They will present their findings in the new popular-science book Achterhaalde waarheid? Zin en onzin van spreekwoorden. [Outdated truths? Sense and nonsense of proverbs].

‘Even if the lie is very quick, the truth will catch up with it.’ But will it? Will the truth always rise to the surface? And what about other proverbs? These were the questions UG academics Jan Willem Bolderdijk, Saskia Peels-Matthey, and Anne Tjerk Popkema were asking themselves. At their request, young researchers, the most recent knowledge from their field still fresh in the back of their minds, have shed their light on twenty well-known proverbs. Bolderdijk: ‘In our book, the reader tags along with the researchers on their academic quest, and the researchers are describing tests that readers are able to do themselves as well.’

Conclusion at the end of the book: a number of these proverbs are definitely old-fashioned. For this reason, the authors of the book came up with new or additional variants for these outdated proverbs, such as: If the lie leaves at a rapid pace, for long the truth will not show its face.

More information

  • The book Achterhaalde waarheid? Zin en onzin van spreekwoorden came about at the initiative of the Young Academy of the University of Groningen. The editors are Jan Willem Bolderdijk, Saskia Peels-Matthey, and Anne Tjerk Popkema. Peter Boersma is responsible for the design and he created a beautiful illustration for each proverb.
  • Contact: Jan Willem Bolderdijk
  • You can order your copy at In Boekvorm Publishers, and other places.
Last modified:24 September 2021 6.38 p.m.
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