Russian Language In Modern Conditions: Cheboksary Regiolec


Regionalistic studies of the language are becoming increasingly significant in the context of globalization, erasing national and regional differences. Language has a social nature. Recently, geographic and environmental factors of variability in global linguistic diversity have also been talked about. Among the socially determined processes characteristic of the development and functioning of the modern Russian language, a special place is occupied by the processes associated with the use of the Russian language in a foreign language environment. Their specificity lies in the fact that the changes occurring in the Russian language, which exists in a foreign language environment, are influenced by many social and national factors. A striking example is the Cheboksary regiolect, which is recognized as an element of the region’s self. A regiolect is a language education that is designed to serve the daily communication of native speakers in a particular region of a multi-ethnic language community, regardless of their social status, age, gender. The originality of the Cheboksary regiolect considered in the article is dictated by the mutual influence of the Chuvash (Turkic) and Russian (Slavic) components. The Chuvash substrate with a noticeable “layer” is superimposed on the Russian literary language, forcing the latter to vary under the powerful influence of a unique foreign ethnic element. The authors identified the main phonetic, lexical, and grammatical parameters of the Russian speech of the residents of Cheboksary, the capital of the Chuvash Republic, established the reasons for their occurrence and identified ways of further research of the Cheboksary region.

Keywords: Language variationlanguage contactsCheboksary regiolect


The article is devoted to the analysis of Russian speech among residents of the capital of the Chuvash Republic. The work provides a comprehensive analysis of such a phenomenon of the Russian literary language as the Cheboksary regiolect. It is distinguished by many markers that give the speech a unique sound. An analysis of the observations shows that the expressiveness of the speech of residents of the city of Cheboksary is formed primarily through the specific use of Russian language units of all levels, and not with the help of regionalisms alone, as one might speculate.

Problem Statement

The functioning of the Russian literary language is now beginning to be studied in the framework of a new approach, which involves taking into account specific parameters due to its natural regional variation. However, very often, regionalisms qualify from the standpoint of the literary norm as non-normative, slang, and vernacular (Huisman et al., 2019; Kadolo, 2011). Meanwhile, in-depth observations contradict this formulation of the question, and linguists should nevertheless speak of regional variation of the metal (Krysin, 2004).

It can be assumed that the qualification of regiolects as the periphery of linguistic functioning is dictated by choice of the object of study – the first study of colloquial facts. However, turning scientific attention to the peculiar use of literary units and their repeated repetition in speech, occurring in compliance with literary norms, must already be considered in the context of the literary language (Xia Hua & Greenhill, 2019). The Cheboksary’s speech in this regard, according to the authors, is an ideal result of mastering the Russian literary language under significant regional (Chuvash) influence.

Research Questions

The Cheboksary regiolect is a complex formation, caused, on the one hand, by the development of internal potentials of the Russian language, and, on the other, by significant Chuvash participation. Objectively existing and mostly original (as evidenced by the phonetic, lexical, grammatical markers given below), due to the difficulty of fixing the material, the subtlety of its manifestations, philologists, have not yet been considered. Meanwhile, the number of significant, unique facts of its existence is multiplying and becoming apparent not only for specialists.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this work is to characterize the Russian speech features among residents of Cheboksary, the capital of the Chuvash Republic. The authors examine at the phonetic, lexical and grammatical levels the most frequency markers that give the speech of Cheboksary people unique features.

Research Methods

The material of the study is the authors' observations of the speech of residents of the city of Cheboksary, specific speech facts and samples recorded in natural conditions. Speech facts are analyzed in the aspect of orthology. As a rule, the specifics of the Cheboksary regiolect consists of the high-frequency use of specific language units, as well as their great use. The work material is presented in the discussion form of the critical issues of the stated problem. In particular, extralinguistic factors are established that determine the specific refraction of the Russian language. The list of markers of the Cheboksary regiolect with the comments is given.

The study of the speech of Cheboksars is initially carried out at the junction of Russian and Chuvash linguistics. This approach is marked by positive consequences, revitalizing contact studies. Previous scientific concepts in the field of the Chuvash-Russian language interconnections have exhausted themselves. For this reason, turning scientific attention to the speech originality of Cheboksars allowed beginning a new stage in the study of problems of the Chuvash-Russian contactology.


Cheboksary is an example of a self-sufficient city that has long been the subject of scientific research. Despite this, unique linguistic works on the Russian language of Cheboksary appeared only in 2013. Then a proposal was initiated to pay attention to the speech of the Cheboksary. From this time begins a full-fledged stage in the development of linguistic and research studies. Initially, the orthological and sociolinguistic approaches to the study of the speech specificity of Cheboksars were identified.

Most of the works written in an orthological vein and aimed at establishing discrepancies between the general literary norm and regional variants are devoted to a general description of the characteristics of the speech of Cheboksars. The present aspect is dominant in the study of the Cheboksary regiolect (Erina & Fomin, 2019). This work is a sociolinguistic study. The goal is to study not quantitative but qualitative parameters of speech (similar studies in sociolinguistics have not yet been recognized). As a rule, the study of linguistic material at the phonetic, lexical, and grammatical levels is practiced in order to get a holistic picture of the regiolect (Fomin & Erina, 2019). According to observations, usually specific units of the national literary language, repeated many times, become a marker of regional speech. At first glance, Chuvash inclusions obliged to dominate the creation of a regiolect, are used in Cheboksary much less frequently than occurs in other foreign-speaking regions, for example, in the Tatarstan or the Caucasian republics.

The works of Alos-i-Font (2015) represent the sociolinguistic direction of Cheboksary studies. Among others, he studies the problems of using the Chuvash language in Cheboksary. It would seem that in the conditions of the republic and its capital, the Chuvash language should be recognized as the majority language (Chuvashs make up 68 percent of the population of the republic, and 63 percent in Cheboksary), but this does not happen. In this regard, the scientist's research is devoted to identifying the causes of the problematic situation with the Chuvash language and ways to preserve it.

Special features of the speech behavior of Cheboksars are formed under the influence of the following extralinguistic factors:

  • historical factors: the entry of Chuvashia into the Moscow state in 1551 and the resettlement of Russians in the Chuvash lands; active Christianization of the Chuvash people from the middle of the 18th century; the formation of the Chuvash autonomy in 1920 with a center in the city of Cheboksary; recent events;

  • geographical factors: binding of toponymy to geographical coordinates (Moscow and Kazan embankments, Marposad, Kanash, Alatyr highway – according to the location of objects in the direction of the city, called in the definitive part of the combination the villages of Vostochny and Yuzhny, areas of South-West, North-West, Cheboksary Hydroelectric Power Station, Cheboksary Airport – on the localization of objects in the Cheboksary region), names of organizations (Chuvash State Opera and Ballet Theater, Cheboksary Music College – on the placement of objects on the territory of Chuvashskoy Republic or in Cheboksary);

  • sociodemographic factors: the prevalence of the Chuvash population with their native Chuvash language in the republic and Cheboksary; Chuvash-Russian marriages that condition Russian national self-awareness of children; population mobility, at which intra-republican migration processes are observed, and the formation of the Cheboksary agglomeration takes place; urbanization of the Chuvash population;

  • contactological factors: differences in the structure of languages ​​(Chuvash – Turkic and Russian – Slavic); powerful language shift in the Chuvash environment.

The specific features of the Cheboksary regiolect can be understood as one of the components of national or regional identity, and also become interesting material for studying the Chuvash influence on the Russian language.

Under the conditions of the Chuvash-Russian interethnic interaction in the capital of the Chuvash Republic, Cheboksary, qualitative parameters of Russian speech are being formed, which become a model for all residents of the republic and distinguish them from representatives of other regions. Let us call them.

1. Phonetic markers.

1.1. A clear (in spelling) intonation pronunciation of the unstressed self:

  • at the absolute beginning of the word: [jа]зык, [jа]понский instead of literary [jиэ]: [jиэ]зык, [jиэ]понский;

  • in the first pre-stressed syllable: св[я]тые (Кирилл и Мефодий), р[я]бина, дев[я]носто instead of literary [иэ]: св[иэ]тые, р[иэ]бина, дев[иэ]носто.

Note, the pronunciation "я" (by spelling) is characteristic of both young and older residents. Announcers and bilingual journalists of the Chuvash radio say that way. Speakers always bear the stress on the unstressed syllable with self; as a result, we have an accurate pronunciation. This feature is due to the phonetics of the Chuvash language, in which the reduced vowels are phonemes, unlike Russian, and are not subject to qualitative positional changes.

1.2. A vowel [a] is pronounced clearly (also by spelling) after a soft consonant in the first pre-stressed syllable: Ч[а]паев, с десяти ч[а]сов instead of literary [иэ]: Ч[и э ]паев, ч[и э ]сóв.

1.3. Offset stress in many high-frequency words: Cheb. – Чуваши́я , literary Чувáшия; Cheb. чувáши, чувáшей, чувáшами, literary – чуваши́, чувашéй, чуващáми.

A specific case is the accentological characteristic of the surname Александров. In Russian, the real surname functions in two versions: in the most common form of Алексáндров and a rare noble realization of Александрóв . In the Cheboksary region, the latter option dominates. However, if we take into account that noblemen of Chuvash origin were not in Russia, and Chuvash surnames were established only in the middle of the 20th century. This time the noble form of the surname Александров should be recognized as non-functional and, due to its totality, be qualified as an accentological marker of the Cheboksary region.

1.4. The iotated pronunciation of " э " at the beginning of the word: [jэ]кспертный совет and especially in all forms of the demonstrative pronoun is: к [jэ]тому, [jэ]тот, об [jэ]том, iterary norm in all such cases recommends pronouncing without the consonant [j]: [э]кспертный совет, к [э]тому, [э]тот, об [э]том.

1.5. Pause when using prepositions with significant words and clear pronunciation of each of them: через | час; в | одиночестве; в | итоге; дружить с | Игорем. First, in the Russian literary language, the preposition and the following significant word (proclitic) form a single (phonetic) word in the flow of speech, i.e., intonationally do not separate from each other. Secondly, the absence of a pause between them leads to positional changes in sounds. In our examples: a) at the place of the letter и at the beginning of the word, in close conjunction in the pronunciation of this word with the previous word ending in a strong consonant; it is pronounced [ы]: ы]тоге, дружить [с ы]горем; б) чере[ш’:]ас (a combination of зч at the junction of the preposition and the next word is pronounced as long soft [ш] – complete assimilation.

1.6. The protracted intonation, which is largely formed under the Chuvash influence: the Chuvash intonation is more “flat,” monotonous in comparison with the Russian on, less stressed, less impulsive than the Russian one. The melodic figure of the Chuvash phrase is characterized by a somewhat extended pronunciation of the last or penultimate word (we are talking about a neutral phrase in which not a single word is emphasized by logical stress).

1.7. The high volume of speech in public places. The reasons may be different extralinguistic factors, but observations show that the Cheboksary people have a great desire to show the level of knowledge of the Russian language.

2. Lexical markers.

2.1. The significant frequency of keywords is чуваш , Чебоксары , чувашский , чебоксарский . Besides, the demand for the interjection is noteworthy: айда .

2.2. Use of regional urbanonyms, for example улицы Хузангая, Эльгера; магазин «Шупашкар»; ресторация «Ехрем хуçа»; остановка «Обиково»; река Пахча; Лакреевский лес. The official urbanonyms are legally fixed and are included in the obligatory lexical corpus of the Russian language in Cheboksary.

Along with official urbanonyms with a high degree of frequency, unofficial ones are also used, for example: Юго-Запад (south-western district of the city), Новоюжка (new-district district of the city), Шанхай (densely populated part of the city where people live in dilapidated, self-built houses); Поселок (Chapaevsky village), Новый, Новчик (satellite city Novocheboksarsk), Копер (cooperative institute), Чугунок (Chuvash State University named after I.N. Ulyanov), Кулек (Institute culture and arts). The last three names are used by young people.

2.3. Assumption of Chuvashisms (for example: акатуй – 'Chuvash holiday at the end of spring sowing', серде – 'chick', хуплу – ' meat and potato pies', ширтан – 'home-made sausage', шюрбе – ' ritual soup'). Our observations show that, in general, the Cheboksary regiolect tends to avoid Chuvashisms and Chuvash inclusions as such. An exception is the word сер[д]е e (dream) – a herb that is used in the national cuisine. In this case, the choice in favor of the Chuvash word is made consciously.

2.4. Differentiation of close relatives by age: брат (brother) – older brother, братишка – younger brother; сестра (sister) is the older sister, сестренка is the younger sister. In the Chuvash language, the nomination of relatives is more fractional than in Russian. In particular, older and younger brothers and sisters are called by different words: пичче – older brother, шăллăм  – younger brother, аппа – older sister, йăмăк – younger sister. The desire to call the younger brother a diminutive form of the братишка is a consequence of this differentiation.

2.5. The nomination of wheat and rye bread as white and black. Officially, bread is designated as rye and wheat. However, in the speech of the Cheboksary people, bread is exclusively called black and white. An evident Chuvash influence can be traced in the Cheboksary region: хура çăкăр – 'brown bread,' that is, bread obtained by investing much labor.

2.6. Leave a request to stop minibusses. Cheboksars believe that оставить (leaving) is the correct form. Their confidence is evidenced even by the fact that the women pronounce this phrase quickly. These women consider the culture of speech as a priority. The same is confirmed by the accompanying request with the word please: Please leave at the next stop. The origin of this formula is unknown. Instead, one should see the Chuvash influence, in which less strict rules of the culture of speech apply than in Russian.

2.7. Narrowing down the valency of the verb go movement, excluding its compatibility with modes of transport, i.e., in the Cheboksary region, the bus (trolleybus, train) travels but does not go.

2.8. Substitution of the word rinse with the word wash: wash jeans instead of rinse jeans.

3. Morphological markers.

3.1. Replacing possessive pronouns with the genitive case with the preposition "y": У меня папа, смотри (" У меня " – "my dad": a child of 12 years old, looking out the window of a fixed-route taxi); Это у Вени жена вам звóнит (Venin's wife); У вас фамилия как? (your last name); Скинь мне у Люськи телефон (Lucy’s phone number).

In the Chuvash language, the particle "ha" expresses a neutral request, functionally corresponding to Russian "please." This form is a ubiquitous phenomenon, which is explained by the following: firstly, the very potency of forms у меня means possessiveness, and secondly, the influence of Finno-Ugric and Turkic languages, in which meanings у меня and мой (my) do not differentiate.

3.2. Expression of a neutral request with the particle "-ka": «Слушай, поеду-ка я на троллейбусе»  (Listen, I'll go on a trolley bus); " Не оставляй-ка меня одного " (Do not leave me alone) (dialogue between a woman and a man).

3.3. Making a question using a particle " что ли / что ль "; " да " : Носом упасть хотел, что ли?; А у тебя отец дома будет, что ль?

A question in the Chuvash language is expressed in two ways: 1) in interrogative words; 2) interrogative particles " -и(м), " " -ши(м) "; The Russian intonational way of asking questions is too complicated for the Chuvash, and the Chuvash question particles were found to be in the form of a Russian particle " что ли "; " что ль "; A particle " дa " sometimes replaces a real particle.

3.4. Accompanying the dative case with the pretext " к(о)": Я звоню тебе, ты звонишь ко мне (I call you, you call me).

3.5. Designation of a stop of public transport in the form of a nominative case without approval: Вокзал оставьте (Leave, the station); Сквер остановите (Square, stop).

3.6. The inclusion in the category of limitedly inclined words such as Chuvash, surrender, penalty.

The correct form of the genitive of the word чуваш  (Chuvash) – чувашей . However, this ethnonym in the speech of the Cheboksars strives for the historically determined form of nominalis, compare with biblionyms of the 19th century: “О музыке чуваш” (On the Chuvash music) (1852), “По вопросу о способах образования чуваш” (On the question of the methods of forming the Chuvash) (1866), “Букварь для чуваш с присоединением русской азбуки” (Primer for the Chuvash with the addition of the Russian alphabet) (1873), “О жертвенных приношениях чуваш” (On the sacrificial offerings of the Chuvash) (1875).

The words сдача (change) and пеня (penalty) takes the form of a genitive case (сдачи, пени) and they no longer have other declined forms: Рубль сдачи возьмите (Take the ruble of change).

4. Word formation by adding Russian suffixes to the Chuvash roots: ширтанчик (shirtanchik) – small, ширтан < ширтан ( шăрттан is home-made sausage) + " -чик " (consonant Chuvash affix "- чăк, " " -чĕк " in the Chuvash language is a diminutive and affectionate formant, while there is no form шăрттанчăк in Chuvash language); укçушки (ukçushki) – ‘money’ < укçа ‘money’ + " -уш " + "-k" + " - и "; ларахать – ‘sit’ < лар- + -ах + -ать (lar- + "-ah" + "-at").

5. Syntactic markers.

5.1. SOV vocabulary.

5.2. Use of a particle yes in a causal value. Driver: Как на автобус успела? (How did you catch the bus?) Passenger: Маршуртка быстро приехала да (The marshrutka arrived quickly, yes), (because the minibus arrived quickly).


The linguistic section is a new area of Cheboksary studies, which until now has mainly come down to history. By and large, the linguistic and biocoxaric is one of the relevant areas of modern Chuvash studies – the Cheboksary regiolect formed under the Chuvash influence. As our observations show, against the background of the literary language stands out many qualitative and quantitative indicators. An exhaustive correction of the specific features of the regiolect is not possible since the Russian language in Cheboksary is no longer able to level the powerful presence of the substrate. Instead, we have to talk about the recognition of regional norms of the Russian language. Also, an essential purpose of the Cheboksary regiolect is to preserve the Chuvash material as part of regional Russian speech.

The study of the Cheboksary regiolect is one of the experiments in Russia when the object of scientific analysis is the version of the Russian language that has developed under the conditions of a foreign language environment. It seems necessary to conduct similar studies in other republics. It can be assumed that as a result, in the multilingual Ural-Volga region, general areal parameters and patterns of functioning of the Russian language can be established. Further development of the lingua-lexical school involves field research, the creation of a collection of audio recordings of speech samples of Cheboksars; compiling dictionaries and preparing monographs, as well as methods for preventing substrate phenomena in Russian speech; initiating similar studies in other regions. The latter is essential for creating a general theory of regional variation of the Russian literary language and for discovering possible areal facts in the context of the Volga-Kama language union.


The research was carried out with the financial support of RFFI (project № 19-412-210001 r_a) and the Chuvash Republic.


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

31 October 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




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

Cite this article as:

Erina, T. N., & Fomin, E. V. (2020). Russian Language In Modern Conditions: Cheboksary Regiolec. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 315-322). European Publisher.