Role Of Poems Translations By Peoples Of Caucasus For Teaching Foreign Languages


The article is devoted to the role of translations of poems by Ossetian poet Kosta Levanovich Khetagurov in teaching foreign languages to university students. The authors define the poetic translation as the most complex type of foreign language speech activity, an important means of intercultural communication. Implementation of the ethno-regional component in the university educational process - the poetic heritage of the Ossetian poet and writer - is a milestone stage for teaching students and establishing a dialogue of cultures between nations speaking different languages and representing different communities. The authors deal with Ossetian poems which are a part of the cycle “Iron fændır” translated into French in 2014–2016 by professor R.K. Kuliev. The relevance of Costa, the poet of the late 19th - early 20th centuries is due to his sincere attitude to the Ossetian and other peoples of the North Caucasus whose languages he knew and understood. Translations of the poems by Kosta which are an intermediary between different languages and cultures reflect the universal, ethnocultural and educational significance of his works. The article aims to show the role of translations of K.L. Khetagurov's poems for teaching and learning foreign languages in universities. The following methods are used: a) theoretical (analysis of linguistic, methodical, pedagogical literature, literature on the theory and practice of translation); b) pedagogical (analysis of the educational aspect of poetry and poetic translations in teaching a foreign language); c) historical and literary; d) comparison; e) generalization.

Keywords: Poetic translationforeign languagedialoguecultures


Over the centuries, under the influence of language, culture and society development, each nation has developed its own national traditions of human education. One of the essential means of educating the younger generation is poetic works of humanistic nature (dramaturgy, prose, poetry, etc.). The issue of teaching young people is acute. Young people should be interested in their national culture given its primary importance for individuals and society. Implementation of translated works by famous 20th century Caucasian humanists into the foreign language learning process is a milestone stage in education of young people and establishing the dialogue of cultures of different generations and eras, dialogue of culture between people speaking different languages (Latyshev, 2002; Takhokhov, 2010; Komissarov, 2004).

Due to the expansion of international contacts of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania with other countries, intercultural communication issues are of particular theoretical and practical interest. Intercultural communication is recognized as a process of communicative interaction between representatives of different ethnic groups and cultures who have their own language, social foundations, national customs and traditions.

53 Ossetian poems by K.L. Khetagurov, which make up the cycle “Iron fændir” have been translated into French and Russian. The article presents French and Russian translations of the poems. They were translated into Russian by various authors as P. Panchenko, N. Tikhonov, L. Ozerov, B. Serebryakov, S. Oleander (Khetagurov, 1959). The collection of poems “Iron fændır” (“Ossetian Lira”), was compiled by the poet and published in 1899. The poems “Dodoy” , "Saldat", "Katay", "Azar!" are absent for censorship reasons (Khetagurov, 1959). Currently, all of them were translated into French and included in the collection.

The works by Costa were written a hundred years ago, but today they are in demand, loved and appreciated by the peoples of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. As a talented writer, poet, playwright, critic, journalist and artist, he is known far beyond his small homeland Ossetia. Kosta is a writer and a bilingual poet, a bright multilanguage personality. His activities and literary works are multifaceted. He was fluent in Ossetian and Russian and knew other languages of the Caucasus; studied and mastered several foreign languages. In his work, he as an individual, a member of the social group, a national-cultural community, and a representative of Mankind. A number of researchers show great scientific interest in the works by K.L. Khetagurov (Khetagurov, 1959).

According to R.K. Kuliev (Kuliev, 2016) in the preface to the 2nd part of the collection “K.L. Khetagurov's Selected Poems in the Poetic Translation into French”, “the need for translation occurs when people, who want to understand each other, speak different languages. After all, people are usually divided by languages and cultures: differences in cultures and national psychology, lack of awareness in everyday lives of other peoples, etc. (Kuliev, 2014). Translation aims to fill these gaps.

Problem Statement

All knowledge of the world is involved in the process of communication, and translation is especially important for communication.

Translation is an intermediary between languages and cultures. It is a powerful means of intercultural communication. Thanks to professional translators, works become available for millions of people. Poetic translation from one language into another one is the most complicated type of translation activities requiring professional translation skills and adequate rendering of the national color of the verse, brightness of colors and images, rhythm preservation, etc. Using poetic translations of national poems for teaching foreign languages, it is necessary to build a dialogue of cultures in such a way that students analyzing and comparing language and speech phenomena in all three languages reveal points of interaction of different cultures. This approach will make it possible to significantly intensify the process of learning both native and Russian cultures, and the culture of the language being studied. Thus, implementation of the ethno-regional component (poems by K.L. Khetagurov) into the foreign language learning process is an important step in establishing a dialogue of cultures between nations representing different communities and living in different parts of the globe.

Research Questions

The poems by Kosta have been translated into all the languages of the North Caucasus (Adyghe, Balkar, Kabardian, Karachai, Circassian, Chechen, Ingush, etc.), including the languages of Dagestan and Transcaucasia (Abkhaz, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian), European (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, etc.) and Oriental languages (Iranian, Turkish, Indian, Hindi, Bengali). It is clear that his works have long stepped beyond the framework of the Ossetian and Russian cultures.

In his program poem “Nystuan”, “Testament”, the poet-patriot, the poet-citizen, the poet-humanist talks about his unpaid duty to the people, about his readiness to serve honestly, to the last breath. Serving the people was his supreme mission:

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

“Testament” is a wise instruction to young people, a testament to future descendants, a testimony of poet’s words, greatness and humanism. The adequate translation into French allows the reader to convey the idea of the poet’s unity with his people (“mon peuple” “my people”), his involvement in everyday life. The poet is aware of his special responsibility to the future (“Ma peine sera plus discrète”). There are translations of K.L. Khetagurov's works into more than one hundred languages!

In the “Ossetian Lyre”, Costa achieved absolute word ownership. Nowhere has the “Khetagurovskaya” fullness of spirit so clearly manifested itself. To a large extent, this was facilitated by the fact that Kosta had the rarest feeling of the bitter fate of his people. This made his book a broad, multifaceted work filled with Ossetian reality of that time.

Table 2 -
See Full Size >

Costa saw heavy Ossetian reality, he felt people's grief so acutely, as if he was a man who came from the future and was shocked by the reality. The more ruthless the oppression of the native people, the stronger his revolt feeling was.

In exile, he received a lot of letters. Kosta expressed the world perception of all the peoples of the North Caucasus.

Table 3 -
See Full Size >

Crystal honesty, amazing clarity, unshakable faith in the ability to overcome and correct everything – all these traits united the North Caucasus forever.

The “Iron fændır” was recognized as one of the poet’s significant and mature poetic works published in 1899. Earlier translations of Costa's poems into French were made by J. Lebedinsky and A. Christensen. Today, all original poems have been translated into French (53). Justice and goodness, wisdom and humanity of the Ossetian national poet which are truly international in character are close to French readers. The works by Costa are read by many generations of worthy people for whom this Man is a moral ideal, a patriot of his homeland, a tireless fighter for rights and freedom of ordinary people. This speaks for the relevance of his works and enormous educational significance for the present and future generations. According to French experts, the works by the Ossetian poet K.L. Khetagurov discover the Ossetian and Caucasian cultures. Thus, the French-speaking community (more than 300 million people) has a unique chance to get acquainted with the culture of small Ossetia and the Caucasus through translations of works by the great poet.

Kosta was particularly worried about youth, present and future generations. He addresses the Ossetian youth in the poem "Ænæ hi", "Separate", "En séparation"

Table 4 -
See Full Size >

Je suis, de tes joies et regrets,

Très loin, la jeunesse d’Iristone,

Comment tu m’aides? Seul, je mourrai,

Qui pleure ma dépouille? – Personne

Ici, siège d’autrui, pays adverse,

Ici, chacun boit de mon sang,

La mort, je crains pas, mais qui dresse

Un feu dernier sur le gisant?

Qui va me pleurer, la roche en tremble?

Quelle fille va clamer en sanglots?

Qui va me chanter son fændir noble?

Quelle course m’honore du galop?

Je suis, de tes joies et regrets,

Très loin, la jeunesse d’Iristone,

Comment tu m’aides? Seul, je mourrai,

Qui pleure ma dépouille? – Personne.

Translated by R. Kuliev

The poet suffers from his isolation from the youth as he cannot ensure the continuity of generations which is a supreme mission for the Ossetian people. The French translation preserves brightness of colors and internal intensity of the images created by the poet. In order to preserve the national color, the Ossetian polysemous word “fændir” is transliterated.

In the poem “Æнæ фийяу”, “Without a shepherd”, “Sans berger” there is a special concern about the fate and future of the Ossetian youth. The poet says that the elders were not capable to unite and lead young people (Hélas, jeunesse, qui te garde? Pour toi qui va faire pareil?):

Table 5 -
See Full Size >

Jamais bon berger ne tarde,

De près son troupeau veille,

Hélas, jeunesse, qui te garde?

Pour toi qui va faire pareil?

Démente, en horde affamée,

Errante aux fourrés du bois,

En quête de tiges périmées,

Tu meurs, tu deviens quoi?

Puisse aux cimes de montagnes

Un berger entonner son chant!

Puisse-t-il prendre pour campagne

La jeunesse, d’un seul élan!

Translated by R. Kuliev

The last lines of the verse convey a life-affirming meaning. The French optative reproduces the poet’s call for unification in a single impulse (d’un seul élan). In the poem “Balts Zaryg”, “Marching Song”, “Chanson de marche” Costa dreams about the bright future for his people. Encouraging his countrymen to unite, the poet, shows his contempt to idlers and cowards. The translator uses adequate lexical, grammatical, syntactic and stylistic means:

Table 6 -
See Full Size >

Costa always focused on training and education of children; he fought for women's education, new schools for children of mountaineers and development of school textbooks. The poet called to study (“Be a man”, “Sois un homme”, “Schoolboy”, ”Un écolier”) and love work. He hated laziness (“Hope”, “L'espoir”, “Autumn”, “L'automne”, etc.). He wanted mountaineers to have the opportunity to attend schools and study, and work for the well-being of their society. So, education and enlightenment, labor education of young people are key topics of his works.

Purpose of the Study

The article aims to show the role of translations of K.L. Khetagurov's poems for teaching and learning foreign languages in universities.

Research Methods

The following methods were used: a) theoretical (analysis of linguistic, methodical, pedagogical literature, literature on the theory and practice of translation); b) pedagogical (analysis of the educational aspect of poetry and poetic translations in teaching a foreign language); c) historical and literary; d) comparison; e) generalization.


Translations of Kosta Khetagurov's works into foreign languages expand the Ossetian and Caucasian ethnocultural space, making poet’s ideas clear to people who speak other languages and belong to different ethnic and cultural communities. That is why today the processes of understanding in intercultural communication come to the fore. In order to interact with speakers of other languages and avoid conflicts, it is necessary to have a high level of language competence.

Using translations of poems by K. L. Khetagurov in practical classes of “Theory and Practice of Translation”, “Practical Practice of Written Translation”, “Practical Work on Intercultural Communication”, students develop foreign language communicative and social cultural competences (Muriyeva, 2015; Muriyeva, 2018). The enormous educational impact of his works on children, adolescents, youth is evident. In this regard, it is impossible to underestimate the effectiveness of language education of future linguists through implementation of the ethno-regional component (poetic works by national poets and their translations) into the practice of teaching foreign languages.


The famous French philosopher, writer, enlightener of the 16th century Michel de Montaigne proclaimed talking about young people: Eduquer, ce n'est pas remplir des vases mais c'est allumer des feux (To educate is to kindle lights rather than fill vases). Today, the educational process should ensure that our young people are enamored with love of knowledge, responsible for the present and the future of their homeland, demonstrate friendly and tolerant attitudes towards representatives of other linguistic cultures. These moral values unite peoples of the world, speaking for interpenetration and mutual enrichment of languages and cultures, make the ideals of goodness and justice, beauty and harmony understandable. Being a creator of the world culture and humanism, Kosta Khetagurov can be characterized as “a poet in Russia who is more than a poet”. His immortal works are full of universal, ethno-cultural and educational meanings; they are close to people who speak different languages, whose cultures overlap in the modern multilingual space..


  1. Komissarov, V.N. (2004). Translation theory. M.: Prosveshcheniye.
  2. Kuliev, R.K. (2014). K.L. Khetagurov's selected poems in a poetic translation into French. In 2 parts. Tutorial. Vladikavkaz: Publishing house NOSU, Part 1.
  3. Kuliev R.K. (2016). K.L. Khetagurov's selected poems in a poetic translation into French. In 2 parts. Tutorial. Vladikavkaz: Publishing house NOSU, Part 2.
  4. Khetagurov, K.L. (1959). Collected edition in 5 volumes. Vol. 1-5. Moscow: USSR Academy of Sciences.
  5. Latyshev, L.K. (2002). Translation: problems of theory, practice and teaching methods. Moscow.
  6. Muriyeva, M.V. (2015). Formation of sociolinguistic competence in the process of teaching students in high school. Historical and socio-educational thought, S2, 72.
  7. Muriyeva, M.V. (2018). Dialogue as an active form of work in a foreign language class. Pedagogical herald, 2, 52-54.
  8. Takhokhov, B.A. (2010). Wreath of immortality. Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference dedicated to the 150th anniversary of K.L. Khetagurov. Compiled by Z.Kh. Tedtoeva. (p.275). Vladikavkaz: publishing house NOSU.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

29 March 2019

eBook ISBN



Future Academy



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

Cite this article as:

Kouliev, R., Biragova, F., & Murieva, M. (2019). Role Of Poems Translations By Peoples Of Caucasus For Teaching Foreign Languages. 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. 2313-2323). Future Academy.