Verbalization Of The Concept "Laughter" In Russian And Georgian Language


This paper studies the concept of "Laughter" and the means of its verbalization in the Russian and Georgian languages. The aim of the study is to identify the structure of the concept of "Laughter" in the Russian and Georgian languages and to compare the data obtained. The relevance of the study is due to the fact that it provides a comparative study of the structure of the concept in the Russian and Georgian languages. The relevance of the study is also confirmed by its practical significance. Comparative data allows the use of observations made during the study in the practice of translation and in the study of the Russian language course. The paper reveals the main antinomies of the concept and its national specificity.

Keywords: Concept LaughterRussian and Georgian Languagescomparisonphraseologismssynonymic series


Modern linguistics is developing within the anthropocentric paradigm. Its main concept is to present the linguistic picture of the world. The linguistic picture of the world shows people's perceptions of the reality around them for some time. It reveals itself in various forms - individual and collective, scientific and daily, conceptual and linguistic. The linguistic picture of the world is partially universal and partially nationally specific, therefore, the bearers of different languages perceive the world differently, in the prism of language.

Many linguists explore the linguistic picture of the world, including N.D. Arutyunova, O .A. Kornilov, Z. D. Popova, I. A. Stern, A. D. Shmelov and A. Vejbitskaya. This issue has numerously been the subject of our scientific interest.

Problem Statement

The present paper deals with the concept of "laughter" and its means of expressing (lexical and phraseological) in Russian and Georgian languages.

Topicality of the subject is determined by the following factors:

Implemented within the anthropocentric paradigm the vector of linguistic focuses on the study of conceptual structures. This field of study provides the opportunity to discover the peculiarities of \\conceptual and linguistic icons of the world. In the context of the anthropocentric paradigm - in cognitive linguistics - there is a growing interest in concept research due to the multidimensional information contained in the concept.

A comparative study of the content and means of the concept of „laughter“ is carried out primarily in modern Russian and Georgian languages.

Research Questions

The subject of the research is the description of lexical and phraseological means of expressing of the concept of "laughter" in Russian and Georgian languages. Laughter, as a universal phenomenon, is present in all languages of the world, but is treated differently.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this work is to reveal the content and structure of the concept of "laughter" in Russian and Georgian languages. Laughter as a philosophical category, an important cultural and linguistic concept, one of the most important concepts of art and psychological phenomena, has ethno-cultural features that are related to everyday life, traditions and cultural specifics (Fefelova, 2019; Popova, 2016, 2018).

Research Methods

In the paper we used: methods of component and conceptual analysis; comparative method; definitive analysis of explanatory dictionaries.


We believe that comparative research is necessary to start by analyzing the semantic minimums of the words " смех "(smekh- laughter) ,) and " სიცილი”(sitsili-laughter) , since each of them is a dominant of the synonymous order, that means that they contain the most typical features and can be considered equivalents to each other.

Let’s see a lexicographical definition of the word “laughter” from the most famous dictionaries of Russian and Georgian languages.

According to Dahl (2012),"смех (laughter) " is " giggling, involuntary, vocal manifestation of fun, funny moods, but there is also laughter expressing mockery,anger, etc.Laughter is the average expression between a smile and a laugh. Evil, “sarcastic laughter”.

According to Dmitriev’s (2003) explanatory dictionary, laughter is called "intermittent sounds, which on utters during fun, joy, pleasure, etc. Happy laughter".

In Evgenyeva's Dictionary (Evgenyeva, 2001), "Laughter" is described as follows:1. Characteristic intermittent sounds caused by short breath to show fun, joy, pleasure, etc.2. predicate. Colloquial. Amusingly. 3. Adverb. Laughingly.

Ushakov's Explanatory dictionary (Ushakov, 2012) gives the following explanation of this phenomenon:1. Slow and heavy breaths accompanied by characteristic intermittent sounds when a person experiences any sensations (mainly in the sense of joy, hilarity, or presenting something funny, comical, also during some nervous shock);2.All these sounds. So, the conducted analysis showed that laughter in dictionaries is viewed from two sides:On the one hand, there is formal laughter- as joy, pleasure, and enthusiasm for a healthy organism, that is, in other words the gift of nature,and there is no evaluation, no attitude in it. Laughter, on the other hand, is a way of expressing an attitude towards reality, its evaluation.

We may assume that the notion of "смех”(laughter) as a manifestation of joy, the ability to laugh or something funny is the core of the concept in Russian language.

Laughter can have a positive and negative connotation. Gorbachevich' s, Epithet dictionary (Gorbachevich, 1979) includes lexical units containing negative connotation of laughter ( беспощадный (merciless),беспричинный (causeless), бессмысленный (senseless), бесстыдный (shameless), вынужденный (forced), глупый (stupid), горестный (sorrowful), горький (bitter), грустный(sad), деланный (false), дерзкий (impudent), дикий (wild), дурацкий (stupid), едкий (poisonous), ехидный (sarcastic), желчный (bilious), животный (animal), злобный (malicious), злой (evi), злорадный (malevolent), злостный (malignant), истерический (hysterical), ленивый(lazy), лукавый (sly), льстивый (flattering), мучительный (painful), наглый (arrogant), надменный (haughty), напряженный (tense), напускной (affected), натянутый (enforced), невеселый (mirthless), недобрый (unkind), неестественный (unnatural), нервный (nervous), обидный( hurtful), печальный(rueful,) подобострастный (obsequious), пошлый (vulgar), презрительный (contemptuous), принужденный (forced), припадочный (fitful), притворный (feigned), пьяный (drunk), равнодушный (indifferent), самодовольный (selfrighteous), сардонический (sardonic), саркастический (sarcastic), свирепый( ferocious), угодливый(obsequious), фальшивый (false), хитрый (cunning), холодный (cold), циничный (cynical), ядовитый(poisonous), язвительный(sarcastic), болезненно-нервический (painfully nervous), ведьмовской (magic), высохший (dry), гордый (proud), дряблый (weak), железный (strong)) and positive connotation( беззлобный(unfriendly), беззаботный (carefree), безмятежный (serene), беспечный (careless), благодарный (grateful), веселый (cheerful), иронический(ironic), живой (lively), бойкий (brisk), горячий(hot), добродушный (good-natured), добрый(kind), доверчивый (trusting), довольный (satisfied,) дружелюбный (friendly), задористый (fervent), задорный (perky), заразительный i(nfectious), здоровый(healthy), инфантильный(infantile), искренний (sincere), кокетливый (lirtatious), ласковый(affectionate), ликующий (exultant), одобрительный(approving), осторожный (cautious), откровенный (frank), пленительный (captivating), простодушный (simple-minded), радостный(joyful), радушный (cordial), разудалый (daring), робкий (timid), сердечный (heartfelt), сладкий (sweet), старческий(senile), старушечий (old lady), счастливый(happy), тайный(secret), торжествующий, (triumphant), увлекательный (fascinating), чистый (clean), шаловливый (playful), щекочущий (tickling), bubenchikovy, васильковый (cornflower), домашний(home), золотой (golden), младенчески-живой (baby-alive), обнаженный (naked), полный (ful), свежий (fresh), светлый (brigh), спелый(ripe), сытный(hearty), сытый (satisfied), уютный(comfortable)) .

Then, based on Alexandrova Dictionary of synonyms (Alexandrova, 2011), we have identified the synonyms of a lexeme "laughter" and established their meanings :

Хохот(laughter) - a loud, deafening laughter;

Хохотня (laughter) (colloq.) -laughter of several or many’ persons;

Смешок(chuckle)( colloq.)-a short, not strong, short laugh; nervous chuckle;

Хихиканье (giggle) (colloq.) - restrained reaction to a funny person who does not lose control over himself

Улыбка(smile) - a mimic movement of the face, lips, eyes, showing a disposition to laugh, expressing pleasure or ridicule and other feelings; good, cheerful, evil smile;

Усмешка(sneer)- a smile that expresses mockery, irony, or disbelief, accompanied by a movement of the mouth, as when laughing;

Шутка(joke) - what is say, do with the purpose of causing laughter, fun;, witticism;

Развлечение(entertainment) - what entertains’: pleasure, fun, / something that is not serious: a joke, a game, a toy; laughter (colloq.)

Умора(fun) (colloq) . - a hilarious case, something very funny

Гогот,гоготанье(guffaw) - 1. the cry of geese, cackling; 2. a loud, sharp, unrestrained laughter (disapproving.);

Ржание(neigh) - 1 the cry of the horse; 2. a loud, unrestrained laughter( Prost., disapproving.) (p.,269-270, 280-281, 290,299).

Thus, lexicographic analysis of lexemes of synonyms allowed us to identify two major components,which accompany the functional equivalent synonyms of the main name concept "laughter": words, that convey negative connotations in their meanings (8 words: гогот (guffaw), ржание (neigh), усмешка(sneer), хихиканье (giggle), смешок(chuckle), умора(fun), хохот(laughter), хохотня (laughter)and words that convey a positive connotation in their meanings (3words: улыбка(smile), смех(laugter) , развлечение(entertainment)).

It is noteworthy, that laughter in Georgian was equal to arrogance, hatred, and evil (Abuladze, 1973, p.315).

Thus, based on the dictionaries discussed above, as well as according to A.Neiman's Dictionary of Georgian Synonyms(1979), we have defined the following laughter lexemes(19):სიცილი(laughter), კისკისი (aloud laughter), თხართხარი( t he laughter of several persons), თქარცალი( a ringing laughter), ფრუსტუნი, ფხუკუნი(sniff), ლხენა(glee), დაოსება (laughter to tears), ჩაქირქილება(smirk), ღიმილი(smile),ხითხითი(giggle), ხარხარი(guffaw) , ხვიხვინი (neigh), გრეხა(cavities), ქირქილი( a quiet laughter), ღინცილი(indecent laughter),ჩაცინება(sneer) (p.515) . Laughter in Georgian is represented in many composits: laughter- the laughter of several persons; laughter- a loud laughter;laughter- a ringing laughter; laughter-sniff;laughter-chukling;laughter-playing;laughter-crying.

Laughter in Georgian language as in Russian can be: უხმო(soundless),ხმამაღალი (loud), მაღალი(high), დაბალი(low), ჩუმი(silent); მოხდენილი (gentle), წვრილი(thin),უშვერი (indecent), უწესო((indecent), ნაწყვეტ-ნაწყვეტი(fragment),მკვეთრი(sharp) ნელი(slow), შეკავებული (restrained), ნაძალადები(forced), უხეში(rough).

Lexical units that reflect the laughter of the Georgian language, like Russian lexemes, can have both positive and negative connotations.Positive connotation has the following items (3): ღიმილი (smile),კისკისი(aloud laughter),ხარხარი(glow). Following words are characterized with negative connotations(7): ხარხარი(guffaw), ქირქილი (a quiet laughter), გრეხა(cavities), ფხუკუნი (sniff), ხვიხვინი(neigh),ღინცილი (indecent laughter),ტკარცალი(a ringing laughter).

The concept of "laughter" in Russian and Georgian languages is also represented by phraseologisms that reflect the nation's mentality, its national identity and the peculiarities of cultural and historical development.

Phraseologisms are extracted from the explanatory (unambiguous) and bilingual dictionaries of Russian and Georgian languages.

Comparative analysis of semantic features of the concept "laughter" in the Russian and Georgian languages on phraseological material showed that laughter in study languages is mainly characterized by negativity and also that in the studied languages there are many common semantic features, which shows that laughter is not only a unique phenomenon, but also universal.

Common features for the studied languages are :

1. laughter – unbridled fun : Russian: лопнуть со смеху; валяться со смеху;  держаться за живот; смехом бока надсадить;заливаться смехом; кататься со смеху;надрывать животик со смеху; надрыватькишкисосмеху; покатыватьсясосмеху,смеятьсядослёз; смеяться до упаду, умирать со смеху ;смех душит кого-нибудь; падать от смеха; Georgian:სიცილით კვდება(იხოცებიან,დაწყდებიან)(sitsilit kvdeba, ikhotsebian, daikhotsebian);სიცილისაგან ჩაბჟირება(sitsilisagan chabjireba);სიცილისაგან ფერდები ჩაასკდათ(sitsilisagan pherdebi chaaskdat);სიცილისაგან მუცელზე კანი აღარშერჩათ(sitsilisagan mutselze kani ar sherchat);საცილს ვერ (ვეღარ) იკავებს (იჭერს, იმაგრებს)(sitsils ver ikavebs, imagrebs);სიცილის წასკდომა(sitsilis tsaskdoma); სიცილი მოერია(\sitsil imoeria);სიცილისგან სულს ვეღარ ითქვამს(sitsilisgan suls vegar itqvams) ;

2. laughter-joy: Russian:смех от души; смех разбирает; Georgian:ღიმილი(სიცილი) მოუვიდა(gimili(sitsili) mouvida);

3. laughter – the mockery : Russian: поднять на смех; пройтись за чей-то счет-выставлять на смех; морить со смеху;скалить зубы; Georgian:სიცილის დაყრა(sitsilis dahkra) ;სასაცილოდ აგდება(sasatsilod agdeba);სიცილად არ ყოფნის(sitsilad ar khopnis);

4.laughter-sadness: Russian:смех сквозь слезы (печальный смех), смех и слезы; Georgian: სიცილ -ტირილი( sitsil-tirili); სიცილს ტირილი მოსდევს ( sitsils tirili mosdevs);

5.schadenfreude, irony, sarcasm: Russian: сардонический смех; саркастический смех, мефистофелевский смех; гомерический смех; Georgian: ტკარცალი(tkartsali) ;

6.pretense and secrecy(disguise): Russian: смех за глаза; в рукав смеяться; смеяться исподтишка; ухмыльнуться в усы(в бороду); Georgian: ულვასში ჩაცინება, ჩაღიმება(ulvasshi chagimeba, chatsineba);

7. the caller, an obscene laughter: Russian ухать как филин; ржать как лошадь; Georgian.: ცხენივითხვიხვინი (tskhenivit khvikhvini);

8. trying to get rid of laughter: Russian: подавить в себе смех; Georgian:სიცილსიკავებს (იჭერს, იმაგრებს)(sitsils ikavebs, imagrebs).

II.Distinctive semantic features of phraseological units in Russian and Georgian languages

1. Distinctive semantic features of phraseological units for the Russian language are :

Negative distinctive features of the semantics of laughter in Russian culture:

1.laughter is a stupid, useless activity: курам на смех!, смеху подобно, смеховое дело;

2.laughterisasin: и смех, и грех, смех как грех;

3.laughing like a small creature: смешинкавротпопала.

2.Negative distinctive semantic features of phraseological units with the laughter component for Georgian culture are :

1. too loud and rude laughter: რახრახი (rakhrakhi), ხარხარი(kharkhari);

2. laughter as an expression of contempt, malicious mockery, gloating : კბილებისკრეჭა(kbilebis krecha);

3.laughter as an expression of annoyance, disapproval:ფრუტუნი (phrutuni)ფხუკუნი( phukuni).

Thus, based on the material reviewed, we have identified that laughter is conveyed in both languages through:

A)lexemes directly denoting the phenomenon;

B) phraseological units;


Thus, the study enabled us to identify the universal and specific characteristics of the emotional concept of "laughter" in Russian and Georgian.

An analysis of the definitions of Russian and Georgian dictionaries allowed us to present the basic lexemes of concept “laughter”.

The synonymous semantic spectrum of the concept "laughter" is represented in two groups of synonyms in Russian and Georgian: 1) synonyms with negative connotations (8-7); 2) synonyms with positive connotations(3-3):

The number of synonyms of Russian and Georgian concept of “laughter” is different: 11 in Russian and 19 in Georgian.

Phraseological units of Russian and Georgian language reflect both general and specific views about laughter. Laughter in study languages is mainly characterized by negativity.

Overall, the results of the study confirm the cultural significance of the discussed emotional concept for Russian and Georgian languages.


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03 August 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

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Tsertsvadze, M., & Kukhalashvili, M. (2020). Verbalization Of The Concept "Laughter" In Russian And Georgian Language. In N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1486-1493). European Publisher.