The terms 'credo', 'everyday credo' and 'folk idea' are used for statements that often occur in everyday speech, being, however, partly, mostly or completely wrong. If we consider the fact that the English term that is most often associated with religion in our minds came into use in the meaning of folk ideas already in 1920, with the publication in the US of G. J. Nathan's and H. L. Mencken's collection The American Credo, it may be said that credos are not at all an unknown field. Yet research into credos does not belong to the more traditional and widely known branches of the science of folklore; thus, no thorough research work has been carried out in this field in Estonia. We even lack a fixed term for the phenomenon. This presentation will aspire to offer a brief insight into credos on the basis of a questionnaire carried out at the University of Tartu in the autumn of 1995.1
POINTS OF DEPARTURE AND PROBLEMS ARISING IN CARRYING OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE
The first version of Professor Leea Virtanen's questionnaire that was used in collecting credos in Finland in 1991-1993 was employed as the basis for collecting the material (Virtanen 1994,273-280). The credos were presented without any systematisation on our part, i.e. the same occasional selection in the same order as they were in the original Finnish variant. The Finnish questionnaire in its turn draws to a considerable extent on the already existing material, namely the collection There Are Alligators in Our Sewers and Other American Credos (1983) by Paul Dickson and Joseph C. Goulden that was published in the US. We took over all credos from the Finnish questionnaire, including those that we felt to be true, i.e. non-credos. We modified the formulas, giving them the form most widespread in Estonia, and "translated" the specifically Finnish items into their Estonian equivalents, substituting the Estonian capital Tallinn for the Finnish Helsinki, replacing Swedes, who have long been the rulers of Finland, by Russians, etc.
However, in collecting the material we used different methods. The Finnish researchers aimed to discover new credos during conversation, using credos given in the questionnaire as triggers to help the people questioned to recall similar credos in addition to those already provided by the questionnaire. The form of questions given to the students of three faculties of Tartu University was used as a completed questionnaire. 113 students specialising in Estonian, Medicine or Law were given 113 statements and asked to say if they had heard the statements before and if they thought these were true.
The differences in methods were due to different goals. If the Finns tried to discover as great a number of new credos as possible, the aim of the preliminary stage of our study was to find proof for the assumption that credos rise from social background. In fact, when studying everyday credos, one should apply sociology and psychology, besides the ordinary methods of folklore study. However, as the material pertains to folklore, it seems wise in the first stages of collecting to follow the methods of collecting, classification and analysis of the paremiological forms of folklore - proverbs.2
As it is typical of credos to be categorical -the statement is given as a very general one, reminding one of a proverb - the people questioned were expected to give yes-no answers and not to scale them as it is typically done in a statistical test (e.g. on the scale: yes I believe - I almost believe - maybe I believe). However, quite a few people mentioned that it had been difficult to agree just because the statements had been so categorical and they could not give such answers as 'I almost believe'. We are conscious that for this reason a certain amount of answers to the question concerning agreement may be given in an almost arbitrary way.
Questioning in the form of an interview gives the researcher an opportunity to notice small details that may prove directly relevant: e.g. concerning the factor of believing or not believing, the colour of a person's hair may influence the respondent's attitude towards the statement * Blondes are stupid; the reaction to the sentence * If you eat only vegetarian food, your health is better and you will live longer may derive from the fact that the person questioned is/is not a vegetarian; the statement * Military service turns a boy into a man can be judged on the basis of their relationship with the army, etc. The sex and speciality of the questioned students were recorded and an attempt was made to discover differences between the groups concerning both their being acquainted with the credos and believing them.
A problem arose in letting whole groups of students answer the questionnaire simultaneously, as it took place in lecture halls where it was possible to copy the answers from one another, which, in the worst case, can diminish the authenticity of the answers of the desk-mates by half. Cheating could still be discovered to a certain extent in the ten items, where filling in the gaps was required (* Redheads are........... * Country people are.......... etc.), in the cases where a number of answers of the desk-mates had been formulated in exactly the same way. As could be expected, the number of new credos discovered was not very large.
The percentage of knowing the credos and agreeing with them is given in Chart 1. In addition, we shall try to illustrate the ranking list of the best known credos with the quartiles of the knowing of and agreement with the statements: one fourth of the statements given in the questionnaire was known to 90 per cent of the students.3 A half of the statements was known to 80% of students and three quarters of the statements were known to 45%. Table 1 presents the best known credos (known to more than 95% of the respondents), and those that were the most often subscribed to (to give an equally long list of them, we had to include statements with down to 70% of agreement).4 The percentage ranking of knowledge and agreement given in the table shows that people were less willing to admit their agreement with certain credos than their knowledge of the credos: three division marks could be drawn at 65, 40 and 20 per cent lines.
Knowledge of everyday credos and believing them to be true are in some ways dependent from each other - the "credit points" of agreement repeat at a somewhat lower level, but without much divergence, those of knowledge. Here it is noteworthy that the six statements that are the best known are in more or less similar position in the ranking lists of both knowledge and agreement. The next statements have no such conspicuously matching position in the two ranking lists. Evidently there is the correlation: the statement is often heard, because many people believe it is true, and they believe it is true, because they have heard it often. There is also another thing we can notice - in the ranking list of knowledge most of the proverbs presented in the questionnaire take up high positions; the rest of the proverbs that did not fit in the "top list" are among the first half- in the 40th position * 16 A dog that barks won't bite (known to 87.6 % of the respondents), 43rd position - * 17 Lightning never strikes twice into the same spot (84 7%), 60th position - * 15 An old dog never learns new tricks (77 0 %) So we may infer thatthe spread of everyday credos is also influenced by their appearance in written sources, indeed, proverbs are frequently used in various printed texts.
Although there was the possibility that one who had never heard a statement could take it to be true, on the whole there was hardly a statement of which the percentage of agreement exceeded that of knowledge (there were a few statements where the difference between knowing and agreement was almost non-existent between 0-(-4) Nos 51,113,12, between 0- (+4) Nos 75, 36, 14, and 79) Below there are the eight statements that were widely known but not accepted by the respondents (the difference between knowing and agreement was over 50 %), these are the most common everyday credos in the questionnaire that were not believed to be true'
|95. If you eat only vegetarian food, you health is better and you will live longer (difference 72,4 %)|
|46. A high forehead is a sign of genius (67,3)|
|17. Lightning never strikes twice into the same spot (64,3)|
|40. Men only want to "do it" with women, men don't think of anything but sex (62,8)|
|110. Tomorrow everything will be better / in former times everything was better (62,2)|
|108. Cold winter will be followed by warm summer (61,3)|
|16. A dog that barks won't bite (60,8)|
|21. Long fingers reveal a man of art (58,8)|
This paper is not an attempt of thematic classification of credos, whether presented in the questionnaire or not, although in the future this should be done in the way that proverbs have been presented in various systems However, even on superficial inspection one can see that in the top ranking lists of knowing and agreement the credos concerning health matters take up an important position. Therefore we can come to a quite sensible conclusion that this issue is a notable source of various everyday credos.
THE GENDER PERSPECTIVE
Let us remember Alan Dundes' definition of folk ideas - the term he used for everyday credos: these are "traditional notions that a group of people have about the nature of man, of the world, and of man's life in the world" (Dundes 1965, 95, my bold). So we took the sociological truth as our point of departure that society is divided into several different groups. Human mind tries to make it easy for himself and treats all members of a group as uniform, he imagines that all members of a group do not recognise individual differences within the group. This is where stereotypes come in. Regardless of whether the groups are primary (small groups, with face-to-face association and co-operation) or secondary ones (formal, impersonal groups), the attitude towards the outsiders tends to be negatively biased. The sociological term for it is in-group and out-group attitudes, where ouf-group is a group or category to which people feel they not belong. Americans, for example, tend to see the world in terms of in-group and out-group (see: Schaefer 1989, 146).
Already four decades ago the prominent Finnish folklorist Martti Haavio in his elegant essay related folklore and the out-group attitude towards anything that differs from the group: "out-group attitude consists of deriding and disdaining the conditions which prevail in another group" (Haavio 1957, 213). Other terms have also been used in this context, such as esoteric-exoteric factor in folklore (Hugh Jansen). Let us note, however, that although polarity is often the stimulator of everyday credos, both in the direct and indirect way,5 there is no reason to believe that the whole everyday life with its credos can be reduced to binary oppositions such as "us vs. them". And yet, we took the opportunity to compare the answers, dividing the respondents into groups according to their sex and speciality. Since we made no attempt to establish the source of the credos, using the Finnish methods, but rather tried to study the sociological background of the credos, the following analysis is restricted to the answers showing agreement of both sexes.
First we tried to find out whether there are differences between men and women regarding their agreement with the credos. Table 2 shows the credos that were most often accepted by men and women respectively. Here the admittance percentage was again 70, whereas it soon appeared that under these circumstances women's list would be much longer. The picture would be the same even if we would continue the table; therefore, a certain number of women know more everyday credos than does the same number of men.
We can see that although the statements are slightly mismatched in the two ranking lists of agreement, there is no notable difference in men's and women's most believed credos Even statement * 12 Some cosmetics do not let your skin breathe, which seems to belong rather to women's sphere of interest, is almost as well known among men as it is among women However, there were some statements in the last quarters of men's and women's ranking lists of agreement that pertained to that sex Nos 42, 29, 77, 40, 53 on men's list and 55, 81, 98, 99 on women's And although some statements occurred at the end of both lists, one may say that people are less inclined to believe the credos concerning their sex than those concerning the other.
When no difference appeared, we decided to sum up the reactions of both sexes to the 15 statements that had a reference to gender (Nos 2,29,40,42,44,49, 52, 53, 55, 76, 77, 79, 98,103,106, indirectly 12, 54, 99)
Now the percentages of agreement have been presented in three groups - the statements preferred by women, those preferred by men, and those without any difference of preference between sexes The number of different opinions of sexes has not been given if it was less than 5%
1) The statements that most men agreed with:
|49. Men are (inherently) better drivers than women Known to 83 3% of men / 75 9 % of women (difference -7 4), Believed to be true by 60 0% of women/ 36 1% of men (difference -23 9)|
|106. Estonian men have little self-reliance K 63 3/61 4 (-), B 40 0/27 7 (-12 3)|
|98. Every woman has a secret desire to be raped K 60 0/54 2 (-5 8), B 23 3/14 5 (-8 8)|
|55. All feminists are lesbians K 56 7/30 1 (-26 6), B 13 3/4 8 (-8 5)|
2) The statements that most women agreed with
|44. There is a woman behind every successful man K 66 7/81 9 (+15 2), B 23 3/53 0 (+29 7)|
|2. Military service turns a boy into a man K 90 0/94 0 (+), B 26 7/54 2 (+27 5)|
|79. Mumps can cause sterility of men K 30.0/44.6 (+14.6), B 23.3/41.0 (+17.7)|
|42. The world would be better if women would rule it instead of men K 33.3/54.2 (+20.9), B 0.0/9.6 (+9.6)|
|40. Men only want to "do it" with women, men don't think of anything but sex K 86.7/88.0 (+), B 20.0/26.5 (+6.5)|
3) Statements where men's and women's opinions did not differ:
|53. Men will always remain children K 66.7/92.8 (+26.1), B 63.3/59.0 (-)|
|76. Ample growth of hair on a man's body is a sign of masculinity K 70.0/75.9 (+5.9), B 40.0/38.6 (-)|
|29. The size of a man's genitals can be determined by the size of his nose/ears K 30.0/26.5 (-), B 0.0/3.6 (+)|
|77. Men have one rib less than women have K 30.0/30.1 (0), B 10.0/10.8 (+)|
|78. 103. Waiters are usually gay K 13.3/13.3 (0), B 0.0/2.4 (+)|
|52. Men are the best cooks K 93.3/89.2 (-), B 60.0/59.0 (-)|
It may be said that the first two groups are classified according to their "usefulness": almost all the statements (except, perhaps, No. 79) are agreed with by the group for whom this particular statement is more useful. It is noteworthy that besides the greater percentage of agreement (which is only reasonable), the percentage of people who have heard the statement is also greater than in the opposite group. If a statement is "more useful" to a sex, it is also better known to that sex. So we may say that the generic usefulness of a statement has an unmistakable effect on people's familiarity with the statement and - to a lesser degree -to their agreement with it. Our hypothesis is further verified by the fact that the statements in the third group of equal agreement by both sexes cannot be considered unequivocally "useful" to either of them.6
As the next step we found out the statements that showed the greatest differences in agreement between men and women. Table 3 shows the subtracted average agreement of men and women.7 Again we can see that the percentages on the same position in men's and women's lists are not equal - the statements that men are more inclined to believe are not so popular as those that women believe, which again confirms that women are more inclined to believe everyday credos.
As was expected, the so-called table of "opposite attitudes" included the majority of the credos that in the previous stage were connected with the opposite sexes. It is natural that several of the statements with the greatest difference in the percentages of agreement state the importance of one of the sexes (* There is a woman behind every successful man) or the capability of developing of the other (* Military service turns a boy into a man). Women are more interested in the problems of beauty and looks (* Eating chocolate causes pimples; * Cellulite is something completely different from fat - note from the previous section how few men actually know about cellulite). On the other hand, the statement * Men are inherently better drivers than women shows them in a better light and more men consider it true; the statement * All feminists are lesbians was more popular among men, probably owing to their dislike of radically emancipated women.
THE PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Students of the first one or two years obviously do not represent the characteristic views of their specialities very clearly. Still, we were interested to find out whether speciality played a role in the students' agreeing or not agreeing with credos. Since quite a few of the presented credos (and, as was said before, of the "more correct" ones) are connected with medicine, we examined the differences between the students of medicine and others in agreement percentage. We have singled out the statements that students of medicine had not so readily accepted than others. Table 4 presents the results of comparison of the average percent of agreement of the students of medicine with that of the students of law and philology.
If we see the statements that found up to 10 % less acceptance by the students of medicine than by those of philology and law, we find that nearly half of them are connected with health (and health watchers). Thus, students of medicine are more critical than others towards everyday credos concerning health matters. At the same time we should point out that there were credos concerning health that were readily agreed with by students of medicine.
One of the credos could also be the statement about opinions, many heads, many counsels. Although not all people in the society have different opinions, the statement shows that even if any ten people may each have their opinions, it is possible with a hundred people, or quite likely with a thousand, that there are individuals within the group whose ideas coincide. Something of the kind can be seen in the stereotypes offered by the respondents.
The respondents were basically expected to know stereotypes concerning nations and localities (statements 22-27, 59-60), according to the world-wide tradition to take certain characteristics as typical of certain nations.8 The Germans were said to be punctual, disciplined (although it was not predominantly believed), Russians were associated with a number of unpleasant features, but also with hospitality (more believers), the inhabitant of a region in Estonia called Mulgimaa were characterised as miserly, although it was predominantly not believed. In addition to French that had been offered as a beautiful language, Italian was often mentioned.
Table 5 incorporates stereotypes that the respondents had heard about redheads and blondes (NB! This time the results are based on their having heard, and not on their agreement). On the other hand, we tried to include all answers, on the other, each entry consists of opinions with the slightest differences in formulation. The opinions have been divided into the upper and lower parts of the table according to their modality.
We can see that the dotted line gives wide opportunities to "recall" the credos. In this connection one should keep in mind that there certainly is some influence of the so-called psychological noise, that is, people's subconscious attempt to show themselves in a better light, to pretend that they know more than they actually do, and therefore to answer rather in the affirmative (cf. Krikmann 1986, 5). To avoid this, it should have been wiser to give only the first half of the credo to the respondents, like we did by asking stereotypes. Anyway, one may say with certainty that the stereotypes concerning redhead and blondes are not uniform. The difference of opinions is more conspicuous with redheads, the opinions about blondes were more less varied, i.e. the stereotype of the blondes is more firmly established. (Obviously this
is partly explained by the quite popular genre in the contemporary folklore of anecdotes about blondes)
Many answers can be classified into large groups (such as, in the case of redheads spiteful + malicious + wicked and vicious, nervous + capricious, sexy, sexier, very sexy, erotic + desirable) However, not all qualities can be grouped in this way, and the result contains both negative and positive estimations And although the same respondent can have both the positive and the negative stereotype in his/her mind, although blondes can be considered silly or sexy - for these qualities are not mutually exclusive - the presence of different answers shows that widely different stereotypes can prevail at the same time (at least as regards that particular subject of stereotype and that particular circle of respondents)
ADDITIONS BY RESPONDENTS
The questionnaire resulted in collecting about 50 new credos Most of the added credos concerned generalisation on the grounds of a particular feature - people tried to guess someone's typical qualities from his/ her appearance (sex/profession/nationality/etc ) Pretty women are silly, People -who have a cleft ò the chin are wicked, All waiters are drunkards (none was agreed with by the respondents). Authors of love stories are single (believed) Here belong several credos connected with one's speciality All specialities were covered by the credo written by a law student. Students have a typical student appearance (no agreement) Medical students wrote a couple of times Children must sleep otherwise they do not grow (not believed) and Nurses are promiscuous (not believed)9 Since the most provocative statements of the questionnaire were connected with sexes and sexuality, people wrote down several credos connected with that field Datk men are hypersexual. All Swedish men are gay. All men are the same (no agreement), A woman can conceive from an intercourse during menstruation (believed (!))
The analysis of the results so far and a consultation with a contributor to Professor Virtanen's research project made it possible to clarify that, if the statements carrying a local colour are "translated", only one of the 113 more or less Finnish credos are known in Estonian (also in paraphrased forms) by less than 10% of the questioned people.10 Besides universal ideas about credos it can be explained by the comparatively similar lifestyles of the neighbouring peoples Differences seemed to be related to folk medicine, have no idea of the so-called spir-its-soaked socks used in Estonia (ie the connection between feet and nose), using camomile tea as a cure, etc Some credos resemble each other to a certain extent - in Finland it is said that long fingers are the sign of a man of arts, whereas in Estonia it is believed that you can recognise a pianist by them.
There is no doubt about the fact that contemporary folklore - including credos - spreads mostly through mass media Especially newspapers print brief items of news that often are concerned with credos as divertissement At times, however, mass media is trying to disprove certain credos For example, there have been articles like "15 misconceptions concerning eating". The weekly Eesti Ekspress, which is considered to be the most widely read newspaper in Estonia, had a column called "30 answers" in summer 1995, where celebrities among other things were asked to mention "any generally known statement that is not true"
Although on closer examination everyday credos may seem more true or more false, it is often difficult to find absolute proof to their accuracy or falsehood.
Theoretically credos would prove true if the typical formulas were deprived of the words "all", "always", "never" or these were replaced with numerals, which would result in sentences like "75% of the best cooks are men", "passport photos turn out to be ugly in 7 cases out of 10" or "the children of 3 teachers I know have bad manners" Although it is practically relatively impossible and actually totally unnecessary to work out the figures, it is nevertheless this type of information that is meant by credos Expressing it on paper and placing it out of context creates a misleading notion of really believing them Anyway, these statements have little to do with scientific precision, there is no chance that among credos we can find statements that are given in textbooks of sociology as examples of statements that cannot be validated scientifically (a la "Young people have more fun" or "Florida is nicer than California" - Schaefer 1989, 36).
It is characteristic of mankind to try to find explanations to things However, people have not got the required knowledge about everything and then "leaps" from knowing to believing become necessary In a way, credos indeed are caused by superficial knowledge To take an example from literature - in his novel Felix Ormusson the Estonian author Fnedebert Tuglas shows that neither of the two people arguing about the Estonian national epic Kalevi poeg have actually read it In his stage production based on the novel Mati Unt (who writes about everyday mythology in the already mentioned Eesti Ekspress) modified it into the sentence "No Estonian has read the epic Kalevipoeg from cover to cover". The truth value of the sentence varies among many population groups Since we know that folklonsts have read it (if not in research interests, then just because it is obligatory at the University), the sentence can be considered just a credo. Thus, on the one hand, credos are caused by the incompetence of people, and many of such statements are connected with health issues On the other hand, researchers may have proved that it is not * Full moon that causes nervousness, insomnia, madness, but the problems of the person, however, if the sensation has been experienced, it is difficult not to believe it Just as Martti Haavio, at the end of his already quoted essay, does not believe that a person to whom nothing human is alien may never be born, it is not likely that mankind is going to turn so realistic that credos will disappear altogether.
A part in creating credos is also played by in-group feelings, credos rising from this ground can often show others, the out-group, in a humiliating manner However, people are aware that, although in some context they declare it to apply to all members of the group without exception, on further consideration they would not subscribe to it without hesitation For those, who consider credos to be poetic exaggerations of everyday speech, a person convinced in the truth of credos is by no means a relic from the Dark Ages.
1) Here I would like to thank everybody who helped to collect and analyze the material of credos
2) In spite of similarities, the credos have actually a much lower metaphorical quality than an "average proverb" does usually the credos are to be taken literally.
3) To facilitate the analysis of data for the purposes of the present article, we have left out from the ranking lists answers to questions involving stereotypes (22-27, 59-60).
4) Since credos with the highest percentage of agreement certainly seem to the reader to be true in many ways, let us repeat that we do not think that all statements presented as credos should necessarily be wrong.
5) Cf. the statements * 6. Life in the country is happier and more balanced than the life in a high-rise block in town; * 10. Tea is healthier than coffee; * 97. Informer times summers were warmer and winters colder.
6) Note that the only statement that is clearly useful (for women), the patronizing * 53. Men will always remain children is, in spite of similar percentages of agreement, over 25% better known to women than to men.
7) Of course, differences less than 10% are not so important; the table of agreements has been "lengthened" on men's side just for the sake of equal representation.
8) About the recent joint research work with Finns trying to find out the Estonians' (and Finns') simple and projected stereotypes about nations, see: Pajupuu 1994. By the way, this research tried to refute the hypothesis that the auto-stereotypes of these nations are similar and that they understand each other very well (Pajupuu 1994, 31-32).
9) Actually even historians were questioned, but due to their small number they were not included in the present statistical data base. They considered to be false the opinions concerning "good old Swedish time", which is widespread in Estonia, and "the dark Middle Ages ", which is known all over the world.
10) No. 36 * Pimples contain living worms; the statement was known (but not believed) by five students.
As in the course of collecting contemporary folklore the researcher goes deep into the material, he must have an idea of the authenticity of it. When adopting from the Finnish questionnaire the statement, which partly had its roots in the Finnish connotation of the word, we were quite sure that the credo had not been heard on the south coast of the Gulf of Finland, nor would it be believed. Since there still were three girl students of different specialties who agreed with the statement (although they had never heard it before), we could not find out whether it was an apparently impossible, but, as it was, operative way of dissemi-nation of credos, or just a mock at the quite unusual questionnaire.
Translated by Ene-Reet Soovik & Kai Vassiljeva
Dundes, A. 1965: The Study of Folklore. University of California at Berkeley. Englewood Cliffs, No. 9
Haavio, M. 1959: The Upside-down World - Essais Folkloriques par Martti Haavio. SKS, Studia Fennica, T. VIIF Helsinki. Krikmann, A. 1986: Paremilogicheskie èksperimenty G. L. Permiakova. Tallinn.
Pajupuu, H. 1994: A Nation's Autostereotype. - Oral Memory & National Identity. Papers of the Conference organized by the Institute of Language and Literature of the Estonian Academy of Sciences & the Natural Language Board of the Republic of Estonia, pp. 31-38. Tallinn.
Schaefer, R. T. 1989: Sociology. 3rd editition. New York [etc.].
Virtanen, L. 1994: Punatukkaiset ovat intohimoisia. Arjen uskomuksia. Porvoo-Helsinki-Juva.
This questionnaire tries to find out everyday credos common beliefs m our everyday life.
Please answer YES or NO twice to each statement first whether you have heard or read it before second whether you agree with it.
If there is a dotted line in the statement please write down the idea that you have heard the most often. If there is a choice underline the vanant(s) that you have heard most often. We shall be grateful if you answer every question.
If you can think of any other idea that people often believe in, although it may not necessarily be valid, use the empty space at the end of the questionnaire to write it down.
Chair of Estonian and Comparative Folklore
|* Your age... * Sex... * Academic year...|
|* Speciality Stud jur / hist / med / phil / ...|
|* Place of residence Tallinn / Tartu/county centre / small town / other ...|
|YES I HAVE HEARD YES I THINK SO|
|1. Children from big families are more independent / adapt easier than the only child of a family||2. Military service turns a boy into a man|
|3. Camels store water in their humps||4. Rabbits must be lifted from their ears|
|5. When your hand/foot/ is aching it is growing||6. Life m the country is happier and more balanced than the life in a high rise block in town|
|7. When you are facing death you see your life as if in a movie||8. A man s hair can turn white with grief/misfortune|
|9. Chemical fertilisers should be banned||10. Tea is healthier than coffee|
|11. All doctors have illegible handwriting||12. Some cosmetics do not let your skin breathe|
|13. Exception substantiates the rule||14. Practice makes perfect|
|15. An old dog never leams new tricks||16. A dog that barks won t bite|
|17. Lightning never strikes twice into the same spot||18. None of the married / single people can really be happy|
|19. Those that speak of suicide never carry it out||20. Human nature is the same everywhere you cannot change human nature|
|21. Long fingers reveal a man of art||22. Redheads are|
|23. Germans are||24. Russians are|
|25. The inhabitants of Mulgimaa are||26. Blondes are|
|27. Obese people are||28. Psychiatrists have more problems than their patients|
|29. The size of a man's genitals can be determined by the size of his nose/ears||30. In a diner food is never as tasty as at home|
|31. One should eat a hot meal at least once a||day|
|32. Eating fish makes you more bright-minded (contains phosphorus)||33. The heaviest hangover is caused by champagne / from combining different types of liquor|
|34. Fasting removes dangerous waste products from your body||35. Eating green / raw apples makes your stom achache|
|36. Pimples contain living worms||37. Flu is caused by catching a cold|
|38. Bulls hate red colour||39. When poverty comes in through the door, love flees through the window|
|40. Men only want to "do it" with women, men don t think of anything but sex||41. Television never broadcasts good programmes|
|42. The world would be better if women would rule it instead of men||43. Our country would do better if I were the one to make decisions|
|44. There is a woman behind every successful man||45. Fullmooncauses nervousness / insomnia / madness|
|46. A high forehead is a sign of genius||47. Nothing is worse for an old person than be ing confined to an old people s home|
|48. School kills creativity||49. Men are bom better drivers than women_|
|50. Horoscopes in newspapers are sham but those ordered from an astrologer are correct||52. Men are the best cooks|
|53. Men will always remain children||54. The best caretaker for a child is his/her mother|
|55. All feminists are lesbians||56. Cutting hair / shaving / depilation of the body enhances their growth|
|57. In the country / on a picnic food always tastes better||58. French/ is a beautiful language|
|59. Country people are||60. The inhabitants ol Tallinn are|
|61. Honey is healthful / a remedy against flu / is healthier than sugar||62. Garlic is healthful / a remedy against|
|63. It is healthy to rest after eating / you must not swim after eating||64. Fanta causes stomach-ache / constipation|
|65. A sleepwalker must not be wakened||66. Spitting on a earthworm makes fish bite better _|
|67. If a gay/lesbian has intercourse with a "nor mal" man/woman, he/she turns heterosexual||68. People who stay m the army cannot cope m the civilian life|
|69. School prodigies cannot succeed in life||70. Watching TV causes cancer|
|71. Uneasy sleep may be caused by magnetic fields/bv veins of water||72. In old age you will regret only things that you have not done (and not that you have done)|
|73. A cool bath / shower is better than a warm or hot one||74. Reading in dim light/with a magnifier spoils your eyes|
|75. Food that has been kept in an opened tin should not be eaten||76. Ample growth of hair on a man's body is a sign of masculinity|
|77. Men have one rib less than women have||78. All people are driven by the same urges (e g sexuality / lust for power )|
|79. Mumps can cause sterility ot men||80. A handwriting slanting to the right reveals pleasant character that slanting to the left reveals bad character|
|81. The sex of an unborn baby can be foretold by the shaped the mother's belly||82. It is better to be an early riser than a lie-abed|
|83. Everybody is either an early riser or a lie-abed||84. The children of teachers are ill-mannered|
|85. II you cut a earthworm in two, two new earthworms grow from the halves||86. History repeats itselt|
|87. Studying mathematics improves your logic||88. Mass murderers are often amiable, gentle and good mannered|
|89. Sea wind is especially good for health||90. Eating fruit seeds can cause appendicitis|
|91. Weather can be foretold by the behaviour of animals (flying ot birds etc)||92. Eating chocolate causes pimples|
|93. Money does not buy happiness||94. It is almost impossible for foreigners to leam Estonian properly|
|95. If you eat only vegetarian food, you health is better and you will live longer||96. Animals always know a good person|
|97. In former times summers were warmer and winters colder _||98. Every woman has a secret desire to be raped|
|99. Giving birth at home is more pleasant than at the hospital||100. The Bermuda Triangle engulfs ships|
|101. Passport photos are always a failure||102. We must respect old people s views|
|103. Waiters are usually gay||104. In old age people become children once more|
|105. A good fight clears the atmosphere (eases tensions)||106. Estonian men have little self-reliance|
|107. Eyes mirror the soul||108. Cold winter will be followed by warm summer]|
|109. Ifaman/a woman is testy, he / she has not "had it for a long time||110. Tomorrow everything will be better / in former times everything was better|
|111. Estonians have Soviet working habits||112. There is love from the first sight|
|113. Cellulite is something completely different from fat|