This article deals with linguistic features of the Lower Volga region, reflected in the subculture of the Cossacks. The functioning of the Cossack language is a special ecosystem, being rather closed, but constantly interacting with surrounding language systems of other subcultures representatives. The analysis of definite language means representing the special worldview of the Cossacks as representatives of a separate subculture allows explaining their originality, uniqueness, “survival” in the modern world. The linguistic features of the Lower Volga region are reflected in the subculture of the Cossacks, developed during a long period of time and mainly conditioned by the historical living environment of the Cossacks, the special social way of their life. The studies devoted to characterizing universal categories are topical and relevant; special attention is paid to the category of possessiveness. The prerequisite is as follows: the comprehension of the possessive relations, their development in the process of progressive human activity occurred in each culture differently due to a certain hierarchy of values, primarily national and cultural specificity, reflected in the Cossack language. In this regard, the analysis of a subject-possessor, whose names are recorded in the Cossack language, is presented. The following possessive characteristics were defined: kinship relations, property relations, ownership relations, the subject’s characteristics in terms of thrift and avarice. The analysis performed allows tracing the reflection of certain social relations associated with possessiveness in the semantics of linguistic units. These relations are explained by such traits of the Cossacks as thrift and governance.
Currently, an interdisciplinary approach is widely used in various branches of science, since it allows taking a comprehensive look at the researched phenomenon in various contexts. In linguistics, ecolinguistics can be considered such an integrating scientific direction, which is formed at the junction of social, psychological and philosophical studies. Nowadays, there are many different approaches in this area; besides ecolinguistics, scientists use such terms as “linguo-ecology”, “language ecology”, “language ecology”, etc. However, in the most general way the “representation” of this scientific direction was formulated by A. Haugen, an American linguist, who believed that ecolinguistics studied the interaction between a given language and its surroundings. Languages, the scientist believed, were in the state of equilibrium like various types of animals and plants, they competed with each other, and their very existence depended on each other within the state, some other social groups and the mind of a person who speaks several languages (Haugen, 1972).
This provision is regarded as a basis: the core of the characteristics of the ecolinguistic situation in the region should involve the problem of coexistence of all languages spoken by representatives of various nationalities and subcultures that compose the region and their identity.
There are representatives of various nationalities in the Lower Volga region. A special place in the structure of the residents of the region is occupied by the Cossacks. The subculture of the Cossacks was formed over a long period of time and was largely conditioned by the historical living conditions of the Cossacks, as well as the special social way of their life (initially as the military-service class). In the post-Soviet era there was a revival of the Cossacks as a special, separate subculture. And the language plays a huge role in this revival, the Cossacks strive to preserve all the originality and uniqueness of the so-called language of the Cossacks.
The concepts of
Culture is usually likened to a society that differs from other societies due to its national frontiers or a set of ethnic characteristics (race, religion, etc.). However, national or ethnic culture is not a homogeneous structure. Cultural standards and their manifestations vary in different groups – subcultures of a society. But despite all the differences subcultures have the same basis of the picture of the world, values, norms and patterns of behavior that indicate belonging to a particular culture.
It is known, the bearers of different languages and cultures see and categorize the surrounding reality in different ways. That is the reason why the studies devoted to characterizing universal conceptual categories in the context of the national cultural peculiarities reflection in the region language are relevant and topical; they, according to Gurevich (1984), represent a coordinate grid applied to the reality, through which people perceive the world.
The universal conceptual category of possessiveness plays an extremely important role in the human sphere of concepts. Throughout the life, a human always owns something and someone, includes various objects in his/her sphere of life. The study material includes
The universal conceptual category of possessiveness is binary: the subject is a possessor only in relation to a certain object, he has possessive relations with. Thus, all the linguistic means representing the category of possessiveness can be divided into linguistic means related to the subject or object, as well as describing possessive relations (Milovanova, 2007; Milovanova, Linkova, & Arzhanovskaya, 2017). There are a lot of objects, both inanimate and animate, surrounding the subject-possessor, therefore, only the means of naming the subject-possessor will be analyzed in the article, as well as peculiarities of the possessive relations representation in the language of the Cossacks.
The subject of study are language units representing the special world view of the Cossacks as representatives of a separate subculture, their place in the linguo-ecological situation of the region. In the system of any language, the names of an animate subject are of high importance, since a human is the center of the objective reality. However, compared with the literary language the names of a subject-possessor in the language of the Cossacks present a more extensive group, since these language means perform both nominative and evaluation functions. Connotative meaning is especially significant for the language means designating a person (in all the variations) because of the specificity of the nomination object itself, as a person’s characteristics (his character, social status, etc.) cause, as a rule, emotional and evaluative attitude.
Purpose of the Study
The aim of the work is to define various groups within the class of names of the subject-possessor.
The given research of various groups of lexis reflecting the national cultural characteristics of the regional language is based on the methodological principles originating in understanding the language as the most important means of communication in the framework of systemic and functional approaches (Budagov, 1983; Katznelson, 1984; Solntsev, 1977). It is assumed that “the so-called linguistic picture of the world is not purely linguistic, it is a manifestation of the cognitive activity conditioned by history, geography, culture and other factors within a single objective world ...” (Kolshansky, 1990). Thus, in the given study the following methods were used: methods of observation and description, comparative method, elements of the component analysis method, contextual analysis, linguocultural analysis.
The analyzed linguistic material allows defining the following groups within the class of names of the subject-possessor: 1) kinship relations; 2) social status (material characteristics); 3) quality characteristics; 4) ownership.
The first group is the most numerous. According to a number of researchers, kinship relations are included in the possessive relations (Seiler, 1983), as they represent the personal sphere of a subject (whole-part relations). The subject in this case can act both as the subject itself having objects (relatives) in its sphere, and as an object being included in the sphere of other subjects (relatives). There are several subgroups in this group. First of all, it is the designation of the subject in terms of the kinship relationship (including the terms of direct relationship):
A large subgroup within the group of “kinship relations” consists of the names of a non-adult being – a foster child or an extramarital child:
The next subgroup in the “kinship relationship” group is “marital relations” that specify the special status of a husband or a wife. Firstly, the nominations by action are noted in this subgroup:
The next group of linguistic means representing a subject-possessor is the “social status” (material characteristics). The semantics of the language units included in the group directly reflects the concept of ownership. Consequently, these language units are classified into two micro-groups – humans having some property and humans having no property. The micro-group of linguistic units representing a subject-possessor as a property owner includes the nominations emphasizing a certain degree of wealth:
The subgroup of names of a subject-possessor having no property is more numerous. The basis of the nominations of a subject-possessor contains appearance, internal features, metaphorical rethinking of the reality, in general, a way of living. First of all, there are several nominations of the subject motivated by the lexeme
The nomination of the subject by appearance is presented in the semantics of the noun
Thus, the semantics of linguistic units nominating a subject-possessor from the point of view of property relations reflects the negative attitude of the Cossacks to both poverty and excessive wealth, the state of poverty caused by the unwillingness of the subject to work is blamed most of all.
The next group of nominations of a subject-possessor presents his qualitative characteristics in terms of his attitude to the property, consequently, there are two subgroups – nomination of a subject with positive connotation:
The last small group of names of a subject-possessor is composed by the linguistic units that nominate a subject from the point of view of direct owning something; this group, mainly, contains the nominations by action:
Thus, the names of a subject-possessor represented in the language of the Cossacks (and not represented in the Russian literary language) allow noting the relevance of such possessive characteristics as kinship relations, property relations, ownership relations, and characteristics of a subject in terms of thrift and avarice. In the analyzed groups of the subject-possessor’ names various types of nominations were identified: by action, by external and internal characteristics of an animate subject; nominations based on metaphor, as well as the nominations based on material items. The analysis of the determined nominations shows that the negative assessment of the subject-possessor’s identified characteristics was clearly represented in the language of the Cossacks.
The analysis of a separate fragment of the linguistic picture of the Cossacks’ world allows tracing the reflection of certain social relations associated with ownership in the semantics of linguistic units. This type of relationship is largely conditioned by such traits of the Cossacks’ character as thrift, governance, “stinginess”. In the future, it is advisable to analyze this kind of language units in comparison with the language units of representatives of other subcultures living in the region. It will contribute to a more complete description of the linguo-ecological situation in the Lower Volga region.
- BEDDC (2003). Big Explanatory Dictionary of the Don Cossacks. Moscow, Russian Dictionaries LLC: Astrel Publishing House LLC: AST Publishing House LLC.
- Bitsilli, P.M. (1992). Nation and Language. Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences. A Series of Literature and Language, 51, 5, 68-84.
- Budagov, R.A. (1983). Language - Reality - Language. Moscow, Nauka.
- Dal, V.I. (2003.) The Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Russian Language, Moscow, OLMA-PRESS.
- Dridze, T.M. (1984). Text Activity in the Structure of Social Communication. Moscow, Nauka.
- Gurevich, A.Ya. (1984). Categories of Medieval Culture. Moscow, Iskusstvo.
- Haugen, E., (1972). The Ecology of Language: essays by Einar Haugen. Standford: Standford University Press.
- Kolshansky, V.G. (1990). Objective Picture of the World in Cognition and Language. Moscow, Nauka.
- Likhachev, D.S. (1994). Culture as an Integral Dynamic System. Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 64, 8, 721-725.
- Milovanova, M.V. (2007). Category of Possessiveness in the Russian and German languages in Linguistic and Culturological Coverage. Volgograd, Volgograd Scientific Publishing House.
- Milovanova, M.V., Linkova, Yu.I., Arzhanovskaya, A.V. (2017). Possessive Relations as a Linguocultural Antinomy. Modern Science: Actual Problems of Theory and Practice. Series: Humanities, 6, 160-164.
- Seiler, H. (1983). Possession: as an Operational Dimension of Language. Tübingen [Germany]: G. Narr.
- Solntsev, Yu.S. (1977). Language as a System-Structural Formation. Moscow, Nauka.
- Terekhov, N. (1988). At the Native Nest: Tales, Stories. Volgograd: Committee on Press and Information.
- Yekimov, B. (1995). The Capital Punishment: Novels and Stories. Volgograd: Committee on the press.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
29 March 2019
Print ISBN (optional)
Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
Cite this article as:
Valeryevna, A. A., Igorevna*, L. Y., & Vasilyevna, M. M. (2019). Cossack Language As Component Of Ecolinguistic Situation Of Lower Volga Region. In & D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1302-1308). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.150