What is the study of proverbs called?
The study of proverbs is called paremiology which has a variety of uses in the study of such topics as philosophy, linguistics, and folklore.
Grigorii Permjakov (Russian scholar, 1919 — 1983) developed the concept of the core set of proverbs that full members of society know, what he called the "paremiological minimum" (1979). For example, an adult American is expected to be familiar with "Birds of a feather flock together", part of the American paremiological minimum. However, an average adult American is not expected to know "Fair in the cradle, foul in the saddle", an old English proverb that is not part of the current American paremiological minimum.
Studies of the paremiological minimum have been done for a limited number of languages, including Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Somali, Nepali, Gujarati, Spanish, Esperanto, Polish, Ukrainian.
The study of proverbs has been built by a number of notable scholars and contributors. Earlier scholars were more concerned with collecting than analyzing. Desiderius Erasmus was a Latin scholar (1466 – 1536), whose collection of Latin proverbs, known as "Adagia", spread Latin proverbs across Europe.
From the 20th century onwards, proverb scholars were involved in not only collecting proverbs, but also analyzing and comparing proverbs.