Regional Case Texts As Means Of Formation Of Identity In Russia


The article is devoted to the case texts of a regional orientation, created by famous Russian writers associated with the Lipetsk region. These texts are included in the Provincial text of Russian literature. The nuclear concept of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text is the concept of a provincial town, which is represented by such regional toponyms as Lipetsk, Yelets, etc. An important feature implemented by the concept of a provincial town is the “patriarchal” one. The near-nuclear concept of this extra text is rest, represented with the help of lexemes, which are singly rooted to the word rest, as well as empty, deserted, uninhabited, fixed, etc. Among the peripheral concepts of the Provincial there is a church, a bell, a prison. In the Provincial (Lipetsk) text of Russian literature the ambivalence towards the provincial town typical for Russian people manifests itself: both positive and negative. The analysis of regional case texts as components of the Provincial text of Russian literature expands the concepts of case phenomena and extra text that are relevant to modern philology and are used in the framework of the anthropocentric approach to language learning. The regional case texts have a strong influence on the formation of a personality, on the intensification of historical continuity of generations, preserving and developing the language wealth, literature and culture of Russia. This kind of case texts is one of the means of the formation of civil, national and cultural identity of Russians.

Keywords: AnthropocentricregionalProvincialidentityanthroponyms


The modern science of language develops as an anthropo-oriented linguistics, the leading principles of which, besides anthropocentrism, are closely related to the functionalism, expansionism, explanatory nature of it. As the leading principles of the modern linguistic paradigm, which replaced the system-structural paradigm, they were first identified and characterized by Kubryakova (1994, 1995). It is necessary to add two more principles to the abovementioned ones: textocentrism and semantic-centrism (Popova, 2002). Nowadays there is no area of linguistic research that would not have acquired an anthropocentric orientation, but the essence of anthropocentrism linguistics is most clearly manifested in studies of a text, as evidenced by many works, including the applied ones (Barteld, 2017; Joseph, Wei, Benigni & Carley, 2016; Ong, 2016; Prinsloo, Bothma, & Heid, 2017). A text cannot be studied without person who is its producer and recipient, as well as the main subject of a message. For this reason, the text has become a key concept for the anthropological paradigm of learning a language, the main linguistic object, which is often compared with the linguistic outer space or the universe: “The world of texts is ... linguistic space, the study of which will continue as long as there is a person, activity and communication, and all new aspects of its research will arise” (Thalia & Grafova, 1991). This new aspect of textual research is presented by the study of case texts. This term was introduced into the science by Yu.N. Karaulov in the 80s of the twentieth century. He called texts as case ones that were “significant for ... personalities in cognitive and emotional relations, having a extra personal character, i.e. well-known to the wider environment of a given personality, including its predecessors and contemporaries”, such texts “the appeal to which is resumed repeatedly in the discourse of a given linguistic person” (Karaulov, 1987).

Further study of case texts led to their different classifications (one of the most common is the division of case texts into universally case, national case, professional case), as well as their inclusion in a number of case phenomena, such as case names, case statements, case situations (Zakharenko, 2004). One of the new aspects of the study of case texts is the determination of regional case texts among case texts in general (Popova, 2015). These are national case texts (first of all, artistic, as well as memoirs, epistolary), in which we are talking about a particular region (province). Such texts refer to regional toponyms and anthroponyms.

For example, “Lipetsk” toponyms are found in the works of A.S. Pushkin, L.N. Tolstoy, I.S. Turgenev, I.A. Bunin, M.M. Prishvin, E.I. Zamyatin, K.G. Paustovsky and other authors: the towns of Lipetsk, Yelets, Lebedyan, Zadonsk , the villages of Stanovoye, Chernava, Krasnoe, Palna-Mikhaylovka, Urusovo, Ryazanka , the Don River, Voronezh, Lipovka, Beautiful Mecha, Pine. “Chechen” toponyms are used by M.Yu. Lermontov and L.N. Tolstoy in his Caucasian works, such as “Valerik” (Lermontov), “Cossacks”, “Raid”, “Wood harvesting”, “Hadzhi-Murat” (Tolstoy): Chechnya, Big Chechnya, Makhket, Vozdvizhenskaya, Vedeno, Dargo, Terek, Valerik, etc. The anthroponyms that are used in regional case texts are the names of people who have lived and been in a particular area, especially well-known people who left a noticeable mark in Russian history and culture, for example, Alexander S. Pushkin , mentioned in case texts related to the Lipetsk region as well as his ancestors ( Maria A. Pushkina (Hannibal), Osip A. Hannibal), Lev N.Tolstoy, Ivan A. Bunin , and others; case texts relating to Chechnya mentions Lev N. Tolstoy, Shamil, Khadzhi-Murat and others. For the Lipetsk region, case texts of a regional focus will include works depicting this region, created by writers and poets who were born, lived and / or visited it (I.S. Turgenev, L.N. Tolstoy, I.A. Bunin, M.M. Prishvin, E.I. Zamyatin, K. G. Paustovsky and others); in relation to Chechnya, this are the works of M. Yu. Lermontov, L.N. Tolstoy and other authors. Such a strong position of some case texts as the title includes regional toponyms and anthroponyms: this is the comedy by A.A. Shakhovsky “A lesson to flirt, or Lipetsk waters”, stories by I.S. Turgenev “Lebedyan”, “Kasyan from Beautiful Mecha” (Lipetsk text), and the poem “Valerik” by M.Yu. Lermontov and the novel “Hadji Murad” by L.N. Tolstoy (Chechen text).

Many authors of national case texts are related to the Lipetsk region. Several generations of ancestors of A.S. Pushkin were born and lived on the Lipetsk land as well as the father M.Yu. Lermontov, I.A. Bunin, M.M. Prishvin, E.I. Zamyatin et al. A.S. Pushkin, V.A. Zhukovsky, M.Yu. Lermontov, I.S. Turgenev, G.I. Uspensky, M.A. Bulgakov, B.L. Pasternak, K.G. Paustovsky, M. Gorky and other writers stayed here at Astapovo Station village, L.N. Tolstoy spent his last days here. These and other writers of national classic literature created outstanding works, which are the pride of Russian culture. Regional case texts are a part of the Provincial extra text. Extra text is “a collection of statements or texts that are combined meaningfully and in accordance with situation. This is a holistic education, the unity of which is based on the thematic and modal similarities of its units (texts)” (Danilevskaya, 2003).

Problem Statement

The analysis of case texts of a regional orientation as the components of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text of Russian literature will expand the concepts of case phenomena and extra text that are relevant to modern philology and are used in the framework of the anthropocentric approach to language learning. In the future, this study will involve the identification of a full corpus of texts of a regional orientation and their analysis from the standpoint of current scientific areas (linguistics of extra text, linguistic axiology, etc.).

Texts of a regional orientation have a strong influence on the formation of a personality, on the intensification of historical continuity of generations, preserving and developing the language wealth, literature and culture of Russia. This kind of case texts is one of the means of the formation of a civil, national, cultural identity in Russia. Civil identity is understood as “1) the awareness of belonging to a community of citizens of a particular state, having significant meaning for an individual; 2) the phenomenon of super individual consciousness, a sign (quality) of civil community, characterizing it as a collective subject.

These two definitions do not mutually exclude each other, but focus on various aspects of civil identity: from an individual and from a community” (Vodolazhskaya, 2003). Ethnic identity is “the result of an emotionally-cognitive process of awareness of ethnicity, identifying an individual with representatives of his ethnic group and isolation from other ethnic groups, as well as deep personal meaningful experience of his ethnicity” (Naumenko, 2003). Cultural identity is a personal identity of an individual to a particular culture.

Civil, ethnic, cultural identity can almost completely coincide in mono-national states and regions, such as the Lipetsk region, the majority of whose population is Russian. In multinational entities there is no complete coincidence between these concepts although overlap points may be found.

For a person, the world and everything existing in it is always divided into “own” and “alien”, the boundaries between which are often very conditional. Regional case texts not only reflect the spiritual and intellectual values of the people, preserve the cultural memory of many generations, but also transform great writers and their works into a part of “their” world. They help, as the philosopher Bulgakov (1996) wrote, “ to understand oneself (hereinafter highlighted by the author) in terms of his natural individuality, <...> to love your own , kind and homeland, to comprehend oneself in it”.

The fundamental scientific task is the analysis of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text of Russian literature from the standpoint of the current directions of the linguistics of anthropocentrism.

Research Questions

The object of this article is the identification and analysis of regional case texts as a means of the formation of a civil, national, and cultural identity of Russians.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the work is to develop a methodology for the description of regional case texts that constitute the Provincial (Lipetsk) extra text, through the analysis of a number of concepts of this extra text.

Research Methods

During the course of the research the following methods were used:

1) descriptive and statistical methods in order to identify the corpus of texts of a regional orientation;

2) the method of conceptual analysis, which makes it possible to study the concept sphere of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text of Russian literature and its linguistic and axiological components;

3) the functional method that helps to identify the features of the objectification of the studied concepts and their representatives in texts;

4) the method of analysis of dictionary definitions, objectifying scientific findings based on the disclosure of the structural features of the concept and its semantic environment.


One of the components of the Provincial extra text of Russian literature is presented by the works related to the towns of Lipetsk, Yelets, Lebedyan . The nuclear concept of the Provincial extra text - a provincial town - is represented in regional case texts using a series of lexemes: regional toponyms Lipetsk, Yelets , etc., such common nouns as town, homeland and others. For example: “In the depths of her soul she (the grandmother of Pushkin) considered the town of Lipetsk to be a solid place and generally the main place of her life, not far from which the estate of her father where she lived being a young lady was situated” (Tynianov. “Pushkin”); “Then one day I was traveling from Moscow to my homeland, to Yelets ” (Prishvin. “The chain of Kashchey”); “I was once in Russia, there was a snowy county town, there was a carnival - and there was a high school student Sasha <...>” (Bunin. “Snowdrop”).

In the autobiographical novel by I.A. Bunin “Life of Arsenev”, the story “The Late Hour” the topononym Elets is not used, instead he uses the common noun town: “The town is bursting with its wealth and populations <...>” (“The Life of Arsenev”); “I see mentally, look around the city” (“The Life of Arsenev”); “... The antiquity of the town is spoken only here and there by traces of the town walls on the precipice under the cathedral and this bridge” (“Late hour”). Often the word town is combined with possessive pronouns my, ours, and the adjective native : “In Yelets , my hometown, all the old merchant names were double <...>” (Prishvin, “The chain of Kashchey”).

In Russian literature, a provincial town is always contrasted with capital cities. E.I. Zamyatin in the story “Rus” the important role is played by the antithesis of Petersburg, Russia - the province, Rus: “Not by Petrovsky arshine the prospectuses are measured, no: it is Petersburg, Russia. Here - Rus, narrow streets, - up and down, the place where children ride ice-crates in winter, - lanes, dead ends, front gardens, fences. <...> ... all of the Volga Yaroslavl, Romanovs, Kineshmas, Puchezhi - with a town garden, wooden sidewalks, with squared squat, tasty - like holy bread, five-headed churches; and all the black earth Yelets, Lebedyan - with horse fairs, gypsies, suits for visitors, wanderers, seers”. In this passage, the attention is drawn to occasional use of the plural forms of toponyms Yelets, Lebedyan and others, which become the personification of the Russian province.

An important feature implemented by the concept of a provincial town is the “patriarchal” one. According to definition dictionaries, one of the meanings of the adjective is patriarchal, “as in the old days, true to the old traditions, alien to the new culture” (Dictionary of the Russian language, 1999). It is this meaning that is realized in works on the Lipetsk region with the help of the words old, hereditary, repeatable, unchanging and similar. For example, in the novel of Bunin “The Life of Arsenev”, the town is compared to a person who does not violate the routine that has been established even in small things: comfort and that old, hereditary life in which he lives for centuries is the frequency of seasons and customs”. See also the example from “The Late Hour” story by Bunin: “The old street seemed to me only a little narrower than it seemed before. Everything else was the same”.

The near-nuclear concept of the Provincial extra text of national literature, including works on the Lipetsk region, is rest (the corresponding noun in the dictionaries has such meanings as “no movement and noise”, “stillness”, “calm physical and mental state” (Dictionary of the Russian language, 1999)). The representatives of this concept are lexemes single-rooted to the word rest, as well as empty, deserted, uninhabited, immovable, and others: “The town had no fire, no living soul anywhere. Everything was mute and spacious, calm and sad - with the sadness of the Russian steppe night, the sleeping steppe town” (Bunin, “The Late Hour”); “Our Street went through the whole town, in our part, the street was empty, deserted, with stone merchant houses that seemed uninhabited” (Bunin, “The Life of Arsenev”).

The concept of rest presents both positive and negative features. The positive side of the concept of rest is often realized in those components of the Provincial text of Russian literature that are related to the image of Lipetsk and Yelets. Thus, Yu.N. Tynianov in the novel “Pushkin” presents a fragment in which the thoughts of the grandmother of Pushkin are set forth, preparing to welcome guests invited to the Moscow Pushkin house on the occasion of the christening of grandson Sasha. A significant place in her thoughts is occupied by the town of Lipetsk: “In the depths of her soul, she considered the town of Lipetsk to be a solid place and generally the main place of her life, not far from which the estate of her father where she lived being a young lady was situated”. The city was clean; the main streets were lined with oak and lime trees. <...> the best people came in the summer, the most elegant, high-ranking people, from the capitals; they came to swim in the Lipetsk mud. The best and thinnest officers from the capital were sent to the cast-iron plants with orders for artillery. And when she got married, everyone was jealous of her, although they pretended to be indifferent and even laughed because she married the arap (blackamoor). <...> And Lipetsk as it was, as they say, is still is. ” The last sentence in a slightly modified form (“And Lipetsk stood as it was, so they say, and it stands”) repeated in the novel once more.

Everything in the life of the heroic figure of the novel is changing, but the provincial town, which she considers to be “the main place of her life”, remains unchanged. Patriarchal and filled with some extraordinary rest, a provincial town appears on the pages of the work of K.G. Paustovsky “Golden Rose”, which refers to a trip to Yelets (using the words desert, silence ).

According to the “Russian Associative Dictionary”, the word town reveals as positive (big, hero, dear, beautiful, beloved, ours, gorgeous, eternal, grand, childhood, youth, home, green, hope, etc.) , and negative associations (dirty, hunger, strange, dusty, fools, smoky, sultry, tired, unimportant, doomed, dustbin, boring, death) of native speakers (Karaulov, Cherkasova & Ufimtseva, 2002). In the Provincial Text of Russian Literature, the ambivalent attitude to the provincial town peculiar to the Russian people is manifested: on the one hand, it is a lovely, native town, often associated with home, childhood, family, first love. On the other it may appear to a reader as not very pleasant boring place.

The ability of the words town, place acting as a representative of a concept of provincial town, and combined with the words expressing both positive and negative evaluation, draws attention: “There is something very special in warm and bright nights of Russian county towns at the end of summer. What a world, what a well-being! An old man with a beater is roaming the night merry town <...> ”(Bunin.“ The late hour”); “God, what a chime began then over our poor little place <...> (Bunin.“Over the town ”). In “Memoirs”of A.O. Smirnova-Rosset, who lived for some period of time in Usman after the death of her father and the new marriage of her mother, the phrase ugly Usman is presented: “In late autumn, Alexander Karlovich took us to the ugly Usman <...>”. The provincial town can also be called the word backwood, meaning “deaf, distant from the cultural center” (Dictionary of the Russian language, 1999) and negative evaluations: “Now my childhood seems like a distant dream, but I still like to think that at least sometimes we are above the bourgeois backwater, which depressed us for long days and evenings, going to a school where our childhood died, full of dreams about travel, about heroism, about selfless friendship, about birds, plants and animals, about treasured books! (Bunin, “Over the city”).

An important component of the topos of a provincial town is a temple. The concept of a church receives representation in nouns church, temple, cathedral, monastery, bell tower, adjectives church, cathedral, monastic, etc. A cathedral is the main place of interest, the decoration of a provincial town is visible from everywhere. M.M. Prishvin in the Chain of Kashchey novel describes the entry of his hero in Yelets as follows: “At first, the town seemed only to be a cathedral. On clear days, this white church was barely visible from the balcony, and something was heard from the other side during the holidays, about which they said: “The city is ringing”. Now the mysterious cathedral seemed to come closer and closer. <...> A blue church appeared next to the white cathedral, they said: “This is an old cathedral”. Compare with the description of Yelets in “The life of Arsenev” by Bunin: “Almost from the outpost, from where he was dimly visible, with all his countless churches, glistening far away in huge lowland, already smelled <...>”.

Bunin in “The life of Arsenev”, describing the first visit of a hero to the town, writes about the strongest impression made on the child by the Archangel Michael bell tower in Yelets: “I hung over a precipice, in a narrow gorge from huge houses I had never seen before, I was blinded by the glitter of the sun, glass, signboards, and some wonderful musical noise flooded over the whole world: the ringing, the humming of bells from the bell tower of Michael the Archangel, towering over everything in such greatness, in such luxury that the Roman temple of Peter did not dream, and such a mass that the pyramid of Cheops could not hit me afterwards” . Various means of expressiveness, first of all, hyperbole, metaphor, comparison, antithesis, epithets, help the author to convey the impression of a boy of the temple, admiration for its beauty, grandeur and luxury.

The concept of bell is closely related to the concept of temple , the representatives of which are the words bell, ringing, hum, chime and other. The bell-ringing of the churches of the town makes the heroes of the Provincial text feel joy: - copper bell velvet will spread over everyone, and everything will soften, calm down, settle down - as in summer evening dust from warm dew” (Zamyatin, “Rus”); “Sometimes resting in the town where my adolescence passed, I recall this almost only joy - our bell tower. Sitting on the summer evenings under the window, I listen to the beginning, bewildered in different parts of the town, the confused and quavering roar of bells” <...> (Bunin, “Above the town”). In the example from the work of Zamyatin, the metaphor of copper bell velvet attracts attention, which the author uses to describe the bell ringing.

An important place in the topos of the provincial extra text, including texts related to the Lipetsk region, along with the concept of a church, is occupied by the concept of prison, which is represented by the lexemes prison, stockade house, prison bar, convict, guardian and other, as well as single-root adjectives. For example: “I accompanied those leaving people to the monastery and the fortress <...>” (“The Life of Arsenev”). Not only the temple, but also the stockade house impressed the little hero of the “Life of Arsenev” during the first trip to the town: “... At the very exit from the town, an unusually huge and unusually dull yellow house stood, which had absolutely nothing similar with any of the houses I had seen , - there were many great windows in it and in each window there was an iron prison bar, it was surrounded by a high stone wall, and the big gate in this wall was tightly locked, - and a man in a gray-cloth sweater stood behind the bars in one of these windows in the same cap, with yellow pudgy face, which expressed something as complicated and serious, he has never seen before on the faces of people <...>. They explained to me what kind of a house it was and who this man was, it was from my father and mother that I learned about the existence in the world of that special sort of people who are called guardians, convicts, thieves, murderers ”.

The concepts revealed during the research are basic for the conceptosphere of the Provincial (Lipetsk) extra text, as they form nuclear, near-nuclear and peripheral zones.


The presented research made it possible to identify a part of the corpus of case texts of a regional orientation related to a specific region of Russia - the Lipetsk region. The works of Russian writers about the Lipetsk region (“Life of Arsenev”, “Above the town”, “Snowdrop”, “The Late Hour” by I.A .Bunin, “Rus” by E.I. Zamyatin, “The Chain of Kashchey” by M.M. Prishvin, “The Golden Rose” by K.G. Paustovsky, “Pushkin” by Yu.N. Tynyanov, and others) are components of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text of Russian literature. The nuclear concept of the texts identified presents the concept of a provincial town (the representative of regional toponyms Lipetsk, Yelets , etc., common nouns town , etc.). An important feature implemented by the concept of a provincial town is the “patriarchal”, i.e. “such as in the old days, faithful to the old traditions, alien to the new culture”. This value is realized with the help of the lexemes old, hereditary, repeatable, repeatability, unchanged, etc .).

The near-nuclear concept of this extra text is rest (the representatives of lexemes, which are single-root to the word rest , as well as empty, deserted, uninhabited, stationary, etc.). The number of peripheral concepts of the Provincial (Lipetsk) text may include church (church representatives, a temple, cathedral, monastery, bell tower, monastery ), a bell (bell representatives, chime, bell, etc.), a prison (prison representatives, prison, prison bar, guardian and other). The highlighted concepts do not fully cover the conceptual sphere of the Provincial (Lipetsk) extra text, the full description of which represents the prospect of further research. The study of regional case texts, which form the extra text, is one of the promising areas of modern linguistics, which makes it possible to consider language facts in close connection with the culture of native speakers.

The methodology for the investigation of case texts related to a specific region can be used to study case texts of other regions, for example, Chechnya, which is described in the works of many well-known Russian writers. In the modern world, the problem of national, cultural and civil identity is very acute, the main means of the preservation of which is the language of the people and the literature created on its basis. Literature related to the native land, through the concept of a small homeland and its components (the texts of a regional orientation, the Provincial text of Russian literature, regional toponyms and anthroponyms, etc.) will help modern speakers of the language and culture to feel their involvement in a large Motherland, its language and culture and thereby preserve their national, cultural and civil identity, become resistant to global external threats to national security.


The presented research was conducted with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Department of Education and Science of the Lipetsk Region in the framework of the scientific project “Provincial (Lipetsk) Text: Linguocultural Aspects and Mental Essential Characteristics” (No. 18-412-480003 \ 18).


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Popova, E. (2019). Regional Case Texts As Means Of Formation Of Identity In Russia. 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. 1484-1492). Future Academy.