Discursive Practices Of Russian Resort Towns


Discursive practices common to Russian resorts are studied in the article, reflecting the typical holiday experience for Russians. Communicative strategies, speech genres and linguistic peculiarities of communication in resorts have not yet been the subject of research in the scientific literature. The methods of discursive research are used, including pragmatic analysis of communicative strategies, semiotic and stylistic analysis, as well as genre structures analysis of oral and written speech. Data from Russian Speech Corpus (Russian National Corpus, computer database of media texts Medialogia), Russian blogosphere, as well as daily speech recordings made by the author, mainly in the southern resorts of the Black Sea coast served as the material. Discursive practices of resort towns are described through the constitutive parameters: cultural, sociolinguistic, communicative-pragmatic, and genre. Besides, the conditions for their formation are social practices prevailing in Soviet times. Resort towns residents and vacationers (so-called resort visitors) are the main subjects of the resort discourse. It’s shown, that on their status role characteristics, communicative strategies of verbal behavior were revealed: argumentative, regulatory, nominative. Methods of influencing vacationers are based on selling tasks, on which the service sector in resort towns is built. Furthermore, methods of creating myths “resort mythology” are used in order to convince consumers. Nominations specific to resort towns were studied. Moreover, disrespectful attitude is found from both residents and vacationers in some unofficial nominations. Typical genres and language markers of the studied discursive sphere are identified.

Keywords: Discoursediscursive practicescommunication strategyresort


One of the urgent tasks of describing modern speech communication is to study the configuration of various types of discourses and genres that function in specific social spheres and institutions. This configuration is determined by observing the processes of production and perception of texts, that is, the study of discursive practices (Jorgensen & Phillips, 2002).

Several approaches to the interpretation of discursive practices have developed in modern linguistics and related fields of the humanities. First, it is understood as the constitutive part of social practices that function in a given culture at a certain stage of social development and determine the way of understanding discursive practices (Wittgenstein, 1994). Secondly, discursive practice is considered as a set of techniques for the production, perception and interpretation of texts in a particular social sphere. For this approach, the urgent tasks of the study are the analysis of strategies for generating and perceiving texts and language tools that help achieving these goals (Van Dijk, 2015). Third, discursive practice refers to a custom, a “way of speaking,” adopted in some social institution or social sphere (Fairclough, 2003).

Discursive practices are largely determined by social practices and dynamically interact with them. An analysis of discursive practice usually focuses on how existing discourse patterns and speech genres are used in speech communication, what changes they make to the practice of speech communication, and how recipients use their communicative competence to understand texts. Thus, discursive practice mediates social practice through texts (Issers, 2015; Ponton & Larina, 2017).

According to Kusse (2016), discursive practices reveal the difference between the phenomenon and the type of discourse. The rules set up types of discourses in the form of ideal creatures, and the real essence of the discourses is in virtual text corpuses and exchange processes between their texts. This approach defines interest in the discursive practices of modern speech.

Problem Statement

The degree of knowledge of the Russian discursive practices varies from the level of public interest and the social significance of a particular sphere. Thus, the greatest attention of researchers has been focused on the study of political discourse and its discursive practices over the past twenty years (Ponton, 2016). Advertising, business, scientific, educational and other types of modern texts are actively studied in which changes (reconfiguration) of discursive practices occur. Particular attention is focused on new discursive practices presented in Internet communication (Slovar' yazyka interneta, 2016). Moreover, observations show that researchers choosing scientific objects prefer written forms of communication.

At the same time, some areas of social life that have distinctive linguistic features in the discursive practices of native speakers have not been adequately reflected in scientific understanding. These include the discursive practices of Russian resorts, which reflect the typical holiday experience of an average Russian.

There are a large number of resort areas in Russia in various climate zones that work year-round, including 15 resorts of federal importance. However, typical resort images for Russians are associated with a vacation during the summer holidays in the resorts of the Black Sea coast, Crimea and the Caucasus. “For an average vacationer, the words Anapa, Gelendzhik, Tuapse and Sochi are synonymous with summer holidays in general!” (Kurorty Rossii, 2019). The precedent statement from the cult Soviet film Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears: “Every Soviet person had a vacation in Sochi at least once in their life” confirms the relevance of the resort vacation for the social experience of Russians. It was reflected in numerous Soviet and Russian films (Three plus two, Be my husband, Summer evening in Gagra, etc.), works of art, and songs. In the history of Russian literature, resort vacation left a mark in the works of A.S. Pushkin, M.Yu. Lermontov, F.M. Dostoevsky, A.P. Chekhov, A.M. Gorky, M. A. Bulgakov and other writers and poets. This inspires interest in studying the discursive practices of resort towns as reflecting a significant aspect of the social life of Russians.

In recent decades, the study of the speech of a modern Russian city has become one of the relevant areas of colloquialism and communicative-cultural studies (Bogdanova-Beglaryan & Sherstinova, 2016; Kitaygorodskaya & Rozanova, 1996). As a rule, they are based on the corpus of oral texts of specific regional centers. Given the undoubted value of such studies, they do not set the task of seeing, in the whole variety of oral and written texts, a conceptual dominant uniting the numerous genres of urban speech into a single discursive space. In this sense, the speech of Russian resort towns provides representative material for the reconstruction of a certain fragment of the social life of Russian native speakers during vacations.

Up to the present moment, the resort discursive practices (“resort vacation discourse”) have not been the subject of linguistic research. Studies of tourist reviews are closely related to the object of observation as well as works on the positioning and promotion of tourist sites, including resorts (Di Marino, 2015; Saveleva, 2018). However, in scientific papers on the so-called “tourist discourse”, resort vacations are seen as an object of sales, and not as discursive reality (Kolesov, 2017; Likhanov, 2016, 2017; Lukashevich, 2017; Ovchinnikova & Ovchinnikova, 2018; Saveleva & Melnik, 2019). These gaps in the scientific understanding of the resort discursive practices determine the issues that are relevant to our research;

Research Questions

In order to describe the discourse of a resort town, it is necessary to identify its constitutive characteristics: linguoculturological, cognitive, sociolinguistic, communicative-pragmatic, and genre. In this regard, the following questions seem logical: 1) What stereotypical situations and scenarios reflect the discursive practices of a Russian resort? 2) What social role positions are represented by subjects of discourse? 3) What kind of resort typical speech behavior strategies exist in discursive practices? 4) What genres are determined as “specific” discursive markers of resort life?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to describe the discourse system of the Russian resort, i.e. common to this social sphere of life of the modern Russian “ways of speaking”. Therefore, the author undertook a comprehensive analysis of the conditions of communication, subjects of communication from the standpoint of their status role and situational-communicative characteristics, as well as texts representing the specifics of the studied discursive practices in the genre and language aspects.

Research Methods

To form an empirical base the methods traditional for social sciences were used, such as insider's view and directional sampling of corpus data. In addition, analytical procedures of discursive research are applied, including a pragmatic analysis of communicative strategies, semiotic and stylistic analysis, as well as genre structures analysis of oral and written speech. Data from Russian Speech Corpus (Russian National Corpus, (2019) and computer database of media texts (Medialogy, 2019), Russian blogosphere and movies, as well as daily speech recordings made by the author, mainly in the southern resorts of the Black Sea coast served as the material.


The social practices prevailing in the Soviet period are significant in order to understand the specifics of the modern “resort discourse” of Russians. At that time, supporting the public health was a priority of state policy, and providing union vouchers (packages) for resort treatment was a standard procedure. However, a significant number of Soviet citizens did not have the opportunity to have such holiday packages. They practiced independent travels - camped wild (classic examples of such vacation are reflected in the Soviet films Three plus two, Be my husband). Two categories of subjects of the resort situation have survived from the Soviet past - vacationers (“resort visitors”) and residents of the resort towns providing them with services, primarily rent and meals. Therefore, in the discursive practices of resort towns, these status role positions are foregrounded. In the mass consciousness, they are characterized by certain attribute features, often opposed. Vacationers have the means to pay for leisure and entertainment, while residents, as a rule, do not have such opportunities. Vacationers “relax” during their holidays, for residents the holiday season is a period of hard work. Vacationers are not burdened with a strict moral framework (they are “resting”), so the “host” takes on the function of ethical assessment of their behavior.

These oppositions of the key subjects of resort discourse are reflected in the communicative-pragmatic aspect of communication at the resort. Sales objectives determine the value of argumentative, including manipulative strategies aimed at increasing loyalty of an addressee. So, the company’s employees, providing a variety of beach activities (ballooning, paddle boat rides, etc.), in the morning invites vacationers as follows: “Ребята, просыпайтесь! Время отдыха не бесконечно. Если вы думаете. что главное – это загар, то вы ошибаетесь. Здесь нужно зарядиться позитивом, ребятки! Оставьте себе на память эмоции!” [“Guys, wake up! Rest time is not infinite. If you think. that the main thing is getting tanned, then you are mistaken. Guys, you need to recharge with positivity here! Get unforgettable!”]. A typical technique of a marketing strategy is a USP demonstration (a unique selling proposition) and a push for purchases: “Самый яркий воздушный шар! Выше всех поднимается! Пользуйтесь, пока легкая погода” [ The brightest balloon! Rises above all! Use while the weather is good”]. In the communication of sellers with buyers, one can clearly see the active hard sell, the use of various methods of influence, including manipulative ones. So, comparisons are used as rhetorical methods of persuasion: “ Один раз прокатиться на банане – это как год заниматься физкультурой!” [ One ride on a banana boat is like doing physical exercises for a whole year!”].

A special role in convincing the consumer is played by the “resort mythology” typical of the tourism industry (Sintsov, 2016). Sales tasks dictate the need to create myths that lure a potential consumer: “ Приглашаем всех на морскую прогулку. Вас ждут незабываемые впечатления! Каждый раз к яхте подплывают дельфины!” [ We invite everyone on a boat trip. An unforgettable experience awaits you! Each time dolphins get close to the yacht!”]. A boat trip to a shipwreck is advertised as a journey to a pirate ship. Thus, in the mind of the addressee, a romantic and exciting picture is modeled, which does not always correspond to reality.

The pragmatism of communication with vacationers on the beach and in other public places is determined by the rules and instructions, therefore, the regulatory strategy is relevant: “ Девушка, канатик отпустите, пожалуйста!», «Парень, тоже с каната слезь! ” [ “Girl, release the rope, please!”, “Boy, get off the rope too!”] .

Social role positions leave their mark on the nominative strategies of resort discourse. The impersonal communication in the conditions of resort vacations is reflected in the appeals to clients. So, those who sign up for a boat trip are invited not by name, but by city: “ Минск, Москва, Пермь – мы отправляемся через 10 мин. ” [ “Minsk, Moscow, Perm - we will leave in 10 minutes”]. Lifeguards on the beach ironically and at the same time respectfully refer to the swimmers that got beyond buoys: “Уважаемая голова, вернитесь в зону купания” [“Dear head, return to the swimming area”].

The nominations of vacationers are specific to the resort city. “ Resort visitors” is the most commonly used colloquial designation since the Soviet era. The Russian National Corpus has 18 documents, 106 occurrences of this lexical item (in the main corpus). Examples of use show that a negative assessment was formed gradually. There was no negative assessment in the pre-war period. Even the official name of the ship “Kurortnik” [Resort visitor] was recorded in the corpus. And in the 50-70s, when Soviet people began actively visit resorts, the word began to be used with ironic and dismissive connotation.

Первый курортник:- Доктор, а почему после сороковой ванны мне вдруг перестали нравиться шатенки? [The first resort visitor: - Doctor, why after the fortieth bath I suddenly ceased to like girls with brown hair?] (E. Schwartz. Shadow)

Впервые на юге: море, набережная с пальмами. Плохой курортник: вкуса к морю нет, плавать не умею. Но Лида лежала бы на солнце сутками. Обгорела, температура повышалась [For the first time in the south: the sea, the promenade with palm trees. Bad resort visitor: don’t like the sea, don’t know how to swim. But Lida would have been lying in the sun for days. Got her skin burnt, fever] (N. Amosov. Voices of the times).

Осинский ― солидный человек, а не суетливый курортник, у которого каждая секунда отдыха на учете [Osinsky is a respectable person, not a fussy resort visitor who has every second of vacation assigned for some activity] (V. Gromov. Leverage against oligarch).

На денек заскочил он в родное село, осветил мою жизнь, как красно солнышко, и уехал, а папа загулял пуще прежнего, обзывал Васю обидным словом “курортник” [For a day he went to his home village, lit up my life like a red sun, and left, but dad go on a bender more than ever, called Vasya with the offensive word “resort visitor”] (V. Astafyev. Last bow)

The distribution by years (from 1979 to 1999) shows a decrease in the use of this nomination. At the same time, in some resort regions there are also unofficial judgmental nominations reflecting a dismissive attitude towards those who are a source of income for residents of the resort town. The reason is a certain social inequality and a situational conflict of interest (some relax, others work), which was mentioned above. One of the most striking examples is the naming of vacationers common in southern resort towns as following: отдыхайка (otdykhaika) [vacationer] , бздых (bzdykh) [emmet] , бодыч (bodych) [grockle], кефирник (kefirnik) [kefir diet follower], колорад (kolorad) [holiday-maker] etc. (Zabytaya istoriya sochinskikh “bzdykhov” 2019; Gorodskie dialekty, 2020). On the Russian Internet there is a “Haters Club of Bzdykhs and the phrase “в СочАх” (in SochA), which presents typical designations for vacationers with expressive comments about the connotations of this lexical item.

Бздых он и в Африке БЗДЫХ, как его не называй:))) [Bzdykh is a BZDYKH even in Africa, whatever call them:)))]

Мы тоже называем приезжих бздыхами но бздых бздыху рознь! я никогда не назову и не подумаю про культурного нормального человека, что он бздых! [We also call new arrivals bzdykhs, but bzdykhs are not created equal! I will never call educated people bzdykh!]

Лет 25-30 назад БЗДЫХОВ в Сочи называли - ЗДЫХЛАМИ, мне сестра рассказывала))) [BZDYKHs in Sochi was called ZYDHLYs (weaklings) about 25-30 years ago, my sister told me)))]

А в Анапе - КУРАПАЧИ=) [And in Anapa – KURAPACHs (resort holidayers) =)]

Я знаю что в Ростове они-ДРЫЩИ :) [I know that in Rostov they are DRYSHCHs (skinny minnies) :)]

“Короеды” - это так их в Ейске называют. [“Koroedy” (Bark beetles) - that's what they are called in Yeisk].

В городах региона Кавказских Минеральных Вод (Минводы, Железноводск, Пятигорск, Лермонтовск, Ессентуки и Кисловодск) отдыхающих зовут кЕфиры или кефирники, поскольку дикарями едут немногие, а большинство оттормаживается в санаториях. А кефир - это, знаете ли, диетический напиток, который якобы дают всем отдыхающим [In the towns of the Caucasus Mineral Waters region (Minvody, Zheleznovodsk, Pyatigorsk, Lermontovsk, Essentuki and Kislovodsk), vacationers are called kEfirs or kefirniks, since few travel independently, and most veg out in sanatoriums. And kefir is, you know, a diet drink that is supposedly given to all vacationers.] (https://vk.com/club984114)

Discursive realities were fixed in the objects of the urban environment. There is a monument to a vacationer on one of the alleys of the city park in Sochi. This is a bronze man with a camera and a weighty wallet on his belt. As the inscription on the pedestal says, this monument is a tribute to vacationers and a reminder to the people of Sochi about who feeds them. According to the author of the sculpture Khrisanov, the idea to erect a monument to a vacationer, the “main breadwinner” of the resort city, arose in the days of the Soviet Union. Then it was “unheard”, but in modern times the Sochi administration supported this initiative. However, someone left the inscription “BZDYKH” on the bronze forehead (Prichudy sochinskoi skul'ptury, 2012).

Resort visitors, in return, do not like the locals, whom they contemptuously call кубаноиды [Kubanoids] (from the Kuban region) and consider them small, greedy and squabble people. “ Отличить кубаноида очень легко - в первую очередь по «шоканью» и «гэканью», основную массу - по отсутствию элементарной воспитанности. Его перманентное состояние - так называемая мужицкая хитрость, находясь в которой кубаноид пытается наколоть окружающих, пребывая в полной уверенности, что его стремление никто не спалил” [ It’s very easy to distinguish a Kubanoid - first of all, by pronouncing ш (sh) and г (g) differently), and the majority by the lack of basic upbringing. Their permanent state is the so-called peasant trick, when Kubanoids are trying to double-cross others, being completely sure that they will not be busted ] can be read on the Internet about the residents of the Krasnodar Territory (Zhiteli Chernomorskikh kurortov ..., 2013).

Certain speech genres are specific to the resort discursive practices that reflect typical communicative situations. These are conversations of vacationers on the beach, conversations of parents with children, telephone conversations, etc. situations when interpersonal communication in a limited space becomes public:

By the phone: Мы сейчас на пляжу сидим, покушаем и пойдем купаться [We are now sitting on the beach, eating and going for a swim] .

Mom - to a child: Я тебе говорила, не смей червяков брать с собой! [I told you, do not dare to take worms with you!]

In the conditions of beach and street venders, common to the southern resorts, an orientation towards an active dialogue is manifested in the genres of verbal advertising, invocation. They use various methods of attracting attention, often rhymed:

На банане прокатился – будто заново родился! [One banana boat ride and you feel anew!]

На банане не проехал – ты зачем сюда приехал?! [No banana ride today - why did you come here ?!]

The speech genre that is typical for a beach holiday is the merchants’ slogans offering vacationers on the beach home-made products: “ Кукуруза! Горячая кукуруза!”, “Домашнее вино!”, “Пирожки горячие!”, “Креветки только что из моря!” [“Corn! Hot corn!”, “Homemade wine!”, “Hot pies!”, “Shrimps just from the sea!”] The genre of slogans, as well as the range of products on the Russian beach, has not changed much since Soviet times.

Game, playful dialogue is found not only in verbal announcements, calls and slogans of merchants, but also in written advertising texts. This is noticeable in the transformation of the price tag genre in the conditions of street trade:

После второго ореха дегустация платная! [After the second nut you will pay for tasting!]

Арбуз афигительный на вкус! (авторская орфография сохраняется) [Watermelon is owesome! (author spelling)]

Арбуз просто бомба! Инжир грузинский просто мед! Объеденье! [Watermelon is just a bomb! Georgian figs are just like honey! Yummy!]

Ремесленный сыр и вино! [Craft cheese and wine!]

Акция! Купи два арбуза и третий… тоже купи![ Special offer! Buy two watermelons and a third one ... buy it too!]

Самые вкусные арбузы здесь. Отвечаю [The most delicious watermelons are here. Cross my heart ]

The semantics of “quality food” in such texts is based on specific oppositions: fruit and products produced in the personal farms are opposed to “store-bought” ones delivered from other regions:

A pear from my garden. Juicy and sweet! Local apples! Local watermelon, very sweet!

Take home! Local brown tomato!

Rest at the resort is unthinkable without souvenirs for relatives and friends. This is a special area of mass creativity, which reflects social habits, traditions, and values. An example of verbal creativity is inscriptions on souvenirs popular in the Crimea and the Caucasus - felt hats for a banya: Папе из Анапы, Я в раю!, Голый и в шляпе. Супермозги [To Dad from Anapa, I'm in Paradise!, Naked and in a Hat, Super Brains] etc.

The attitude toward the deformalization of communication is also manifested in the selection of language means. A striking sign of the speech environment of the resort city are diminutive, which reflect the situation of adjustment for the client. They are relevant in the names of city objects, advertisements, speeches of traders: “У нас вы можете взять лежачок, гамачок” [“You can take a pretty little lounger, hammock from us”] (radio ad on the beach); “Яхта делает остановочку в открытом море” [“The yacht makes a pretty little stop on the high seas”] (oral advertising); “А шашлычок под коньячок вкусно очень” [“A shish kebab (shashlychok) with cognac is very tasty”] (from a song); Мохито, шампусик [“Mojito, champagne”] (sign).


The extralinguistic conditions for the formation of a special type of discursive practices common to Russian resorts are established based on the analysis. These conditions and typical communicative situations of a resort vacation are an impetus for the formation of discursive practices of Russian resorts. The status role characteristics of its main subjects - residents and vacationers - determine the communicative strategies of their speech behavior, genres and language markers of the studied discursive sphere.

As the research perspectives, one sees the study of key concepts of resort discourse such as “holiday romance”, “beach vacation”, etc., as well as expanding the range of communication genres characteristic of the resort town.


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03 August 2020

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

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Issers, O. (2020). Discursive Practices Of Russian Resort Towns. In N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 564-572). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.67