Krylatika As A Resource Of The Orthodox Media Discourse


The article considers the winged fund of literary Russian language as a source of winged units used in the texts of modern Orthodox media discourse. Remaining one of the main sources of the winged units, literature contends for primacy with synthetic genres (cinema, television, estrade, etc.) and the language of advertising. A detailed analysis of the sources of winged units, which trace back to Russian literature, allows us to examine in detail not only the winged units most frequently used by Orthodox authors, but also the features of this functioning. The language of Russian writers is characterized by aphoristic nature so their works become sources of the denoted set expressions (units). Linguo-pragmatics of winged units is revealed through their special expression and ability to succinctly convey a particular thought; thus, they represent a kind of condensate of ideas. The high demand on winged word studying can be explained by the fact that this part of Phraseology is very quickly moving on and is being filled and renewed very fast. The transformation potential of winged words makes it possible for journalists to use them in a strong text position – in heading. Being the headline the language units have a special communicative loading as the headline is the main tool of the author’s position. The studied units of literary origin continue to be the subject of close attention of both foreign and Russian philologists. However, their role and functioning in the modern Orthodox media discourse has not yet been studied.

Keywords: Orthodox Media DiscourseKrylatikaWinged Units


The development of scientific and technological progress constantly contributes to the expansion of human knowledge about the world around. The changes constantly occurring in the world affect people's perception of the world, their attitude to events and problems in society, at the same time “the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of conceptual interaction of individuals depends on various factors of ontology of the world, consciousness and language in the process of verbal communication” (Bolsunovskaya, 2019, p. 667).

The use of such type of communication as the Internet makes people's communication global, erases spatial and even temporal boundaries. The network itself is also actively developing, providing users with ever new unlimited opportunities. Today there is an active process of moving communication into the virtual space, the discourse of which is its media variety – media discourse.

Problem Statement

Discourse is the center of modern linguistic research not by chance, but because this term ‘is understood as the unity of two entities – the process of language communication and the resulting object, i.e. text’. Due to this duality, the discourse can be studied both as a process unfolding in time and as a structural object. ‘Discourse’ is the broadest possible term that includes all the forms of language use’ (Kibrik, 2009, p. 3).

Today, media discourse is already one of the priority areas not only in discourse theory, but also in modern Russian and foreign linguistics due to such properties as heterogeneity, multimodality and polymodality, in which different systems are combined: on the one hand – verbal, on the other – semiotic. This type of discourse is represented in the texts of different styles from publicistic to religious. Of particular interest to contemporary Russian linguists (E. V. Bobyreva, I. V. Bugayeva, T. V. Itskovich, A. S. Makarova, A. V. Polonsky, V. I. Postovalova, etc.) is the religious discourse which differs in its linguistic and intertextual features. Against the background of the deepening of different kinds of knowledge, knowledge about God is rather a return to the roots, to the lost knowledge due to historical, social, political and other reasons. The return or the revival of this knowledge appears to us as one of the main tasks of Orthodox discourse. According to our vision and the results of research (Kunygina, Lomakina, & Мakarova, 2019), it is the Orthodox media discourse that can realize this difficult task, since, unlike religious discourse which is carried out directly at the institute of the Church (temples, conferences, priesthood forums, etc.), the Orthodox media discourse has an unlimited number of users in the Internet space: online versions of Orthodox magazines and newspapers, web portals and websites, Orthodox social networks, audio and video broadcasts of Orthodox radio (‘Vera’, ‘Radonezh’, etc.) and television (‘Soyuz’, ‘Spas’, etc.).

In connection with the emergence of new communication channels, the linguistic vector focuses on the issues of Internet-speech, speech behavior of communicators in an online environment, on the peculiarities of the language of online communication characterized by a mixture of stylistic registers, a special expression that is created by lexico-phraseological means.

Research Questions

The subject of this article is krylatika, i.e. the fund of winged units of the literary Russian language. It should be noted that interest in winged units arose quite a long time ago, but so far these set expressions (units) remain on the periphery of phraseological studies, although ‘the formation of the fund of winged units is a constant process, which reflects the openness of krylatika’ (Lomakina & Mokienko, 2019, p. 262). At the same time, phraseographic collections include many winged words that came from ancient literature, the Bible, folklore, and classical literature. According to Shulezhkova (2002), “from the end of the XVIII century to the beginning of the XX century Russian belles-lettres becomes the most powerful source of winged expressions” (p. 86). However, it should be noted that the contextual features and intertextual nature of the phraseological means of Orthodox communication remain without due attention.

Purpose of the Study

The headlines of the Orthodox journal ‘Foma’ ( served as an empirical material for the article since “it is the headline <…> that is the main means of expression of the author's position, i.e. the main strong position of the text” (Lomakina, 2019a, p. 37).

We selected the headlines which included winged units dating back to the Russian literature of the XIX-XX centuries. With the help of the method of continuous sampling, more than 100 headlines that contain winged units of the literary Russian language both in invariant and in transformed forms were found on the website of the Orthodox journal ‘Foma’. 15 headlines including winged units, the sources of which are the works of Russian literature of XIX-XX centuries, were used as the material of this article. The XIX century is represented by N.V. Gogol (3 examples), M.Yu. Lermontov (2 examples), F.M. Dostoyevsky, A.S. Griboyedov, A.S. Pushkin, I.S. Turgenev. The works of such authors as E.L. Schwartz (2 examples), M. Gorky, A.S. Grin, I.A. Ilf and E. Petrov refer to the XX century.

Research Methods

In our study we relied on the theoretical works of The Saint-Petersburg School of Phraseology founded by Professor V.M. Mokienko, of The Magnitogorsk Scientific Dictionary Laboratory of Professor S.G. Shulezhkova, of The Kostroma School of Phraseology of Professor A.M. Melerovich and other phraseologists. The main research methods are descriptive-analytical method which provides an analysis of the functioning of the winged units (krylatika) in a particular use, systematization of the methods of transformation of set expressions (units) and a compilation of data obtained by considering examples of the transformational potential of krylatika in media texts, the functional-contextual method which is used for tracking predicted patterns of use of transformations of krylatika; functional and thematic approaches were employed to analyze media content and the method of continuous sampling of contexts was used on the website of the Orthodox journal ‘Foma’.

Verification and certification of empiric material was carried out according to the following authoritative phraseographic sources: ‘Большой словарь крылатых слов и выражений русского языка’ (‘Great Dictionary of Catchwords (Winged words) of the Russian Language) by Berkov, Mokienko, and Shulezhkova (2005), dictionary ‘И жизнь, и слёзы, и любовь…’ Происхождение, значение, судьба 1500 крылатых слов и выражений русского языка” (‘And Life, and Tears, and Love . . .’: the Origin, Meaning and Fate of 1500 Winged Words and Expressions of the Russian Language) (2011) and the learner's reference dictionary ‘Горе от ума’ А.С. Грибоедова: цитаты, литературные образы, крылатые выражения’ (‘Woe from Wit’ by A.S. Griboyedov: Quotes, Literary Images, Winged Expressions’) by Mokienko, Semenets, and Sidorenko (2009).


The transformational potential of krylatika in the context is one of the scientific vectors of phraseological research, the results of which are reflected in the works of O.V. Lomakina, A.S. Makarova, A.M. Melerovich, V.M. Mokienko, and others. Accordingly, when analyzing the selected headlines, we relied on the classification of transformations of Russian idioms proposed by A.M. Melerovich and V.M. Mokienko. The authors of the dictionary ‘Фразеологизмы в русской речи’ (Idioms in Russian Speech, 2005) distinguish two main types of individual authorial transformations: semantic and structural-semantic.

In quantitative terms, transformations in the role of article headlines are much more common (12 out of 15 examples) than invariants (3 out of 15).

First of all, we will give examples not containing structural-semantic transformations of headlines, where there are two types of semantic transformations of phraseological units: literalization of meaning when “direct meaning of word combination representing a figurative basis of phraseological units is not only actualized, but comes into the picture often opposing to the phraseological meaning of phrase” (Idioms in Russian Speech, 2005, p. 20) and contextual change of the content plane of winged unit.

На дне (At the bottom). The story of the town submerged under the waters of the Rybinsk Reservoir (No. 2 (106) – 2012). Here we can observe literalization through the context since, as a result of the creation of the Rybinsk Reservoir, the town of Mologa ended up to be at its bottom.

Cf.: На дне (At the bottom) – an expression – from the name of M. Gorky’s play ‘The Lower Depths’ (1902) (Russian: На дне, Na dne, literally: ‘At the bottom’) which depicts the life of declassed people, the inhabitants of the shelter. <...> The expression most likely had existed even before the play was written, but it was Gorky's play that made it popular (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 293).

Обыкновенное чудо (An Ordinary Miracle) (No. 1 (13) – 2002) – a conversation with Deacon A. Kurayev about miracles and that “an ORDINARY miracle is when the Lord helps His people, saves them, heals them.” Neither the structure nor the semantics of expression have changed.

Cf.: Обыкновенное чудо (An Ordinary Miracle) is the name of the Soviet feature film directed by H.A. Lokshina (1965) based on the eponymously-named play by E. Schwartz (1954) (“And Life, and Tears, and Love ...” The Origin, Meaning, Fate of 1500 Winged Words and Expressions of the Russian Language, 2011, p. 488).

Рога и копыта. Кто такие бесы, и нужно ли их бояться (Horns and Hooves. Who are demons and should you be afraid of them (No. 2(58) – 2008)). Cf.: Horns and Hooves – the name of the 15th chapter of a satirical novel ‘Золотой теленок’ (“The Little Golden Calf”) (1931) by Soviet authors I. Ilf and E. Petrov which tells about a sham bureau for the collection of hoofs and horns founded by the real conman Ostap Bender <...> Perhaps it was inspired by the children's song about a gray goat, from where the expression остались рожки да ножки (only horns and hooves were left from someone/something else) came into being. – “there is almost nothing left, only bits and pieces” (Great Dictionary..., 2005, p. 428).

This example is distinguished by the contextual change in semantics which the subtitle helps to understand. Such subtitle acts as an additional title and serves as a kind of ‘navigator’ of the publication, which allows the reader to look through the article quickly. As a rule, subtitles explain the subject of the publication, attract the reader's attention, sometimes intrigue and motivate to read the printed material.

Now let's look at the headlines in which we have found structural-semantic transformations. In the article we will present the following types: complex method (7 examples), lexical substitution (4 examples), contamination (1 example), explication (1 example) and grammatical change (1 example).

Contamination is used in the headline Мятежный парус (The Rebellious Sail) (No. 5 (109) – 2012).

Cf.: А он, мятежный, просит бури (But it, rebellious, asks for tempests) – the ending of the art song ‘Парус’ (‘The Sail’) written to a poem by Lermontov (1841) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords (Winged words) of the Russian Language, 2005, p. 28).

Cf.: Белеет парус одинокий (The lonely sail is showing white) – the first line of M.Yu. Lermontov's poem ‘Парус’ (‘The Sail’) (1832) and the eponymously-named art song (music by A.E. Varlamov (1848), A.G. Rubinstein (1849)) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords (Winged words) of the Russian Language, 2005, p. 43).

The publication is dedicated to the Russian poet Y. Kublanovsky’s jubilee, the headline of which represents the author’s metaphor and gives a figurative characterization to the hero of this publication.

The following example contains grammatical change (masculine gender changes to feminine) of the core component of the winged unit бегущая (running).

Бегущий по волнам (Running on the Waves – masculine) (No. 3(26) – 2005).

Cf.: Бегущая по волнам (Running on the Waves – feminine) – comes from the title of the novel “Бегущая по волнам” (1928) (‘Running on the Waves (1928)’) by A.S. Grin (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 39).

In this case, the subtitle – Автор «Алых парусов» в поисках веры (The author of ‘Scarlet Sails’ in search of faith) – helps the reader to understand that the article will be about the writer A.S. Grin.

By using different methods of transformation of winged units, journalists actualize similar thoughts in the above examples: people of art are associated with poetic images.

The lexical substitution is represented by 4 headlines.

Обыкновенное хамство (Ordinary Rudeness) (No. 11(79) – 2009) is about a human vice called rudeness which in Russian was named after the son of Noah – Ham (хамство – hamstvo), who laughed at the nudity of a drunken father. By replacing the core component чудо (miracle) with хамство (rudeness), the author refers the reader/user to the biblical text, more precisely – to the text of the Old Testament.

Горе без ума (Woe without Wit) (No. 9 (101) – 2011) is about the problems of mindless life in Russia. The article itself is supplemented with photographs of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s ‘Ship of Fools’ and ‘The Land of Cockaigne’, which in this case act as a vivid media component. Semantics changes to the opposite as a result of the replacement of the preposition от (from) with the preposition без (without).

Cf.: Горе от ума (Woe from Wit) is the name of the comedy written by Griboyedov (1824) (“Woe from Wit” A.S. Griboedova: Citations, Literary Images, Winged Expressions: Educational Dictionary-Reference Book, 2009, p. 82).

“Me-me-me” все возрасты покорны. Дмитрий Соколов-Митрич о любви, молодежи и равнодушии (To ‘Me-me-me’ all ages yield surrender. Dmitry Sokolov-Mitrich on love, youth and indifference (No. 10 (138) – 2014)).

In this example, the basic component of the winged unit любви (love) is replaced with a slang word “Me-me-me’ typed in Latin letters and put in quotation marks (double graphic highlighting) since we are talking about the problems of modern youth (Lomakina & Makarova, 2018, p. 183).

Cf.: Любви все возрасты покорны (To love all ages yield surrender) – from the novel ‘Евгений Онегин’ (‘Eugene Onegin’) (Ch. 8, stanza 29 – 1832) written by A. S. Pushkin (Great Dictionary Catchwords..., 2005, p. 255).

Я тебя породил – я тебя и люблю. 4 тезиса для обиженных детей и их родителей. (I gave you life, I will also love you. 4 theses for offended children and their parents (No. 6 (170) – 2017)). The subtitle makes the subject of the article clear, moreover, the replacement of the verb component of the winged unit убью (kill) by люблю (love) changes the semantics of the invariant to the opposite since ‘Foma’ is an Orthodox journal, in the publications of which the ideas of Christianity are communicated.

Cf.: Я тебя породил, я тебя и убью (I gave you life, I will also kill you) is a quote from the historical novella ‘Тарас Бульба’ (‘Taras Bulba’) written by N. V. Gogol (ch. 9 – 1835) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 576).

Method of lexical substitution remains a popular technique for the modification of set expressions (units) among journalists, confirming that the winged unit of literary origin ‘is not only a nominative unit, but also evaluative-expressive one, thus, realizing the unity of the rational and emotional in the context’ (Makarova, 2017, p. 572).

The first two examples contain the same transformed winged unit – герой нашего времени (A Hero of Our Time).

Форрест Гамп и герои нашего времени (Forrest Gump and the Heroes of Our Time) (No. 1 (11) – 2001) – the author of the article reflects on the heroes of American cinema by taking as the example the image of the main character of the film ‘Forrest Gump’.

In the first headline there is an explication of the winged unit with grammatical changes, the core component герой (hero) is changed to the plural form герои (heroes). This replacement allows us to expand the topic of the article and reflect on the heroes of our country.

Фарисей как герой нашего времени. О 12-ой главе Евангелия от Матфея (Pharisee as a Hero of Our Time. On the 12th chapter of The Gospel According to St. Matthew (No. 9 (161) – 2016)).

In the second example, a complex transformation takes place by means of explication: by the input of the noun фарисей (Pharisee) (Pharisees were a religious and social movement in Judea in the era of the Second Temple) (Pharisees, 2020), and the comparative conjunction как (as), as a result of which a two-member sentence is created. Semantics is concretized, and the use of the noun фарисей (Pharisee,) as a common one (Phariseeism, cf. The behavior of the Pharisee, self-righteousness, hypocrisy) (Ozhegov, S.I. Explanatory Dictionary, 2020). in relation to the image of a hero of our time characterizes our era as the era of self-righteousness and hypocrisy. In addition, there is a reference to the Gospel text (Pharisee, the Gospel According to St. Matthew), which is a manifestation of the intertextuality inherent in Orthodox discourse.

Cf.: Герой нашего времени (A Hero of Our Time) is the title of a novel by M.Yu. Lermontov (1840). It was supposedly inspired by N. M. Karamzin’s ‘Рыцарь нашего времени’ (‘A Knight of Our Time’) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 119).

Отцы и дети: апокалипсис наших дней? (Fathers and Sons: An Apocalypse of Our Days? (No. 1 (11) – 2001)).

Three methods of transformation of winged units are used here at once: contamination, explication and grammatical changes. The Orthodox author relies on the biblical context in the text, thus, creating an allusion to the Book of Books (the Bible). The same opinion is expressed by the authors of ‘Большой словарь крылатых слов русского языка’ (The Great Dictionary Catchwords..., 2005): ‘Perhaps the phrase (отцы и дети (Fathers and Sons) – NB O.V., A.S.) was inspired by the Old Testament, where it is often used, for example, “... thus saith the Lord: Behold I will fill all the inhabitants of this land with drunkenness... And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together <...> ”’ (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 359).

Cf.: Отцы и дети (Fathers and Sons) is the title of the novel by Turgenev (1862) which describes the conflict between two generations of the XIX century people (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 358).

Cf.: Апокалипсис (Apocalypse) (Greek: ‘revelation’) is an early Christian work attributed to John the Theologian, the final book of the New Testament (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 29).

Какой русский не любит быстрой еды? (For what Russian doesn't love fast food? (No. 5 (49) – 2007)).

This is the headline of the interview with the manager of the ‘Красная площадь, дом 1’ (‘Krasnaya ploshchad`, dom 1’) restaurant – Mikhail Zrelov, where the philosophy of ‘fast food’ and the traditions of the Russian meal are discussed. This complex method includes the implication of the invariant of winged unit and the lexical substitution, which creates a language game based on the similarity of the sound of the nouns езда (yezda – ride) and еда (yeda – food). The neologism acquires an ironic connotation, the semantics changes: perhaps Russians love not only fast ride, but also fast food?

Cf.: Какой же русский не любит быстрой езды? (For what Russian does not love to drive fast?) is a quote from the lyrical digression of the author in the novel ‘Мертвые души’ (‘Dead Souls’) written by N.V. Gogol (vol. 1, chap. 11 – 1842) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords..., 2005, p. 213).

Красотою спасемся?.. (Will we be saved by beauty?.. (No. 2 (14) – 2002)).

Here, the author resorts to syntactic changes – the declarative affirmative sentence is converted to the interrogative one, the change in the form of the verb спасёт (will save) to спасёмся (will be saved) contains an allusion to the biblical context, the role of the core component of the noun красота (beauty – nominative case) changes to красотою (by beauty – instrumental case), and the neologism itself is an implicated form of the invariant of winged unit. Semantics acquires a connotation of doubt and uncertainty in contrast to the statement in the invariant form of winged unit.

Cf.: Красота спасёт мир (Beauty will save the world) – the expression from the novel ‘Идиот’ (‘The Idiot’) (1868) by the 19th-century Russian author F.M. Dostoyevsky (“And Life, and Tears, and Love ...” The Origin, Meaning, Fate of 1500 Winged Words and Expressions of the Russian Language, 2011, p. 341).

Мертвые души – 3: Небесный Помещик. Что Гоголь на самом деле хотел написать в продолжении поэмы? (Dead Souls – 3: Heavenly Landowner. What did Gogol really want to write in the continuation of the novel? (No. 5 (169) – 2017)).

The publication is an interview with Doctor of Philology V. Voropayev about the fate of the second and the third volumes of the novel ‘Мертвые души’ (‘Dead Souls’). The title itself has been transformed by means of explication of the winged unit and a certain manipulation with punctuation marks (dash and colon). The introduced component Небесный Помещик (Heavenly Landowner) emphasizes the fact that N.V. Gogol was a devout believer, not a moralist as people are still taught in Russian schools. According to V. Voropayev, the writer saw his task in finding the answers ‘to the deepest questions: what is the essence of the Russian character, what is the purport of existence of the Russian people, i. e. what is the Divine Providence for the Russian people, and what disease does prevent the Russian people from putting the Divine Providence into force, how can this disease be cured?’ (Voropayev & Kaplan 2017).

Cf.: Мертвые души (Dead Souls) – the expression derives from the title of the novel ‘Мертвые души’ (‘Dead Souls’) by N.V. Gogol (1842) (Great Dictionary of Catchwords (Winged words) of the Russian Language, 2005, p. 267).

The given examples prove the stated thesis: ‘the most common way of using winged units is complex transformations, the pragmatic purpose of which is to make the statement expressive, update information, and enhance the effect’ (Lomakina, 2019c, p. 78).


The analysis of the headlines of ‘Foma’ journal proves the idea that the use of winged units which have appeared ‘in a literary text reflects the popularity and demand for krylatika in general and knowledge of literary texts in particular’ (Lomakina & Nelyubova, 2018, p. 43).

The study showed that, first of all, the most frequent expressions can be traced back to the works of such writers as N.V. Gogol (3 examples), M.Yu. Lermontov (2 examples), E.L. Schwartz (2 examples). These figures confirm the opinion of O.V. Lomakina on the so-called shortlist of winged units among modern journalists ‘as the most commonly used category of phraseological resources of language which are actively used in the choice of headlines’ (2019b, p. 264). Secondly, the method of complex transformation of winged units has the greatest transformational potential what makes it the most popular method out of all (7 examples). Thirdly, a change in semantics was found in 6 headlines out of 15 reviewed, which is dictated by the author's intentions, Christian values and topics of publication. Fourthly, the presence of references and allusions to the texts of the Bible once again demonstrates the special intertextuality of the Orthodox media discourse, and therefore ‘it seems necessary to conduct an in-depth study of such linguistic feature as the intertextuality of religious (in relation to our study – Orthodox) discourse’ (Makarova, 2019, p. 123).


The research was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) in the framework of the scientific project No. 17-29-09064.


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