Speech Behavior In The Tatar Linguistic Culture


The linguistic research on the ethnocultural features of the Tatars' verbal behavior is important in modern linguistic science. The study of the communicative behavior of the Tatar ethnic culture enables to review the subject of the ethnos' communicative culture in the modern context. This work is aimed at studying the communicative behavior in the linguistic culture of Tatars. The study was conducted on the basis of phraseological and paremiological units of Tatar language. The research used descriptive and stylistic methods. Linguo-cultural and cognitive-linguistic sides of the study of paremiological and phraseological units also form the methodological basis of the study. Paremiological and phraseological units show one's attitude to speech culture, as well as peculiarities and principles of speech behavior and the value of a word. The communication standards, the ability to choose the words carefully and to conduct a conversation, the communication strategies are considered to be significant communicative categories of Tatar culture of communication. Politeness, modesty, prudence, frankness, sincerity and respect represent the communicative ideals of Tatar people. Contradictions, quarrels, arguments, gossips and lies are considered to represent negative categories of linguistic behavior for both the speaker and the listener, invoking negative feelings. Proverbs, sayings and idioms praise the truth, not the lies, briefness, contrary to loquacity, actions, not the empty words, silence and listening instead of talking. Tatar proverbs and idioms concerning verbal behavior express Tatar typical communication models, developing for centuries.

Keywords: Communicative categoriesculture of communicationphraseological unitsproverbsspeech cultureTatar ethnic culture


The verbal behavior is an essential element of the spiritual life of people. The basis of linguistic behavior is formed by universially accepted moral requirements to the linguistic behavior of an ethnic group. Linguistic behavior is determined by the values, norms and rules specific to each ethnic culture (Gilyazetdinova, Edikhanov, & Aminova, 2014).

It is known that paremiology and phraseology reflect the specificity and uniqueness of language, culture, way of life, traditions, history, set of mind and stereotypes of language consciousness of an ethnic group (Nabiullina, Denmukhametova, & Mugtasimova, 2014; Sibgaeva, Zamaletdinova, & Nurmukhametova, 2016). They convey the national character, historical and ethno-cultural peculiarities. Paremias and phraseological units are a means of expressing a stereotype that is associated with the process of the nation's cultural development. By analyzing given linguistic units, we can imagine people's way of life and their mindset. Linguists claim that "proverbs and sayings provide with a complete description of the components of verbal behavior, indicate ways of organizing a particular speech genre (a conversation, a dispute), give a positive (for a conversation) or negative (for a quarrel or a flattery) assessment, etc." (Sajfullina, 2008, p. 986). The study of communicative behavior on the basis of idioms and paremias enables to reveal the general rules of communicative behavior of an ethnic group, which are richer, more varied and more accurate than many other fundamental concepts of information transfer.

Problem Statement

The modern pragmatic area in linguistics provides with an opportunity to further investigate the specifics of a person's language behavior, i.e. his speech patterns in compliance with behavioral rules and norms. The problems of studying the culture of communication include many problems related to cross-cultural communication and language proficiency of the nation. In recent years, modern linguistics has experienced an increased interest in studying national characteristics of linguistic means of expressing linguistic behavior. A number of Russian and foreign linguists have reviewed various problems of verbal communication in their research works. Expressions of verbal behavior and speech culture are the study object of all verbal areas: lexicology, phraseology, grammar and stylistics. The works cover theoretical issues and approaches to studying national and cultural specifics of verbal communication, ethno-cultural stereotypes of verbal behavior (Formanovskaya, 2010; Karabahcyan, 2008; Sajfullina, 2008; Yusupova, Nabiullina, & Galimova, 2018). Modern linguistics considers verbal behavior in the context of cross-cultural communication and sociolinguistic, ethnolinguistic and cultural areas (Gilyazetdinova et al., 2014). In our opinion, the importance of studying speech patterns is determined by the necessity of active interaction between different ethnic cultures and the strengthening of the role of ethnic identification processes.

In spite of the availability of factual information and publications dealing with certain problems of verbal behavior, it is relevant for modern linguistics to study the ethno-cultural characteristics of verbal behavior of certain Turkic peoples. The survey is also relevant due to the fact that studying the communicative behavior of Tatar ethnic culture from the linguistic point of view allows to review the communicative culture of the ethnic group in modern context and to reveal typical and specific characteristics of the communicative culture of Tatar people.

Research Questions

The choice of paremias and idioms as a source of the study is determined by the fact that they reflect the semantics of national culture and character, as well as historical and cultural peculiarities (Nabiullina, Denmukhametova, & Mugtasimova, 2014; Yuisufuva, Yusupova, & Mugtasimova, 2016). The survey's object is Tatar proverbs and idioms expressing communicative categories of verbal behaviour. Various dictionaries of proverbs and sayings were used as a source of studies, as well as defining and phraseological dictionaries. The research is based on the following sources: F.A. Ganiev’s dictionary of Tatar language (Tatar telenen anlatmaly suzlege, 2005), F.S. Safiullina’s Tatar-Russian phraseological dictionary (Safiullina, 2001), N. Isenbet’s dictionary of Tatar proverbs and sayings (Isеnbеt, 2010). The work mainly focuses on proverbs, sayings and idioms with the meaning of a particular speech activity or verbal behaviour, forming the core of Tatar paremiological and phraseological systems. In order to execute the purpose of this study, a corpus of phraseological and paremiological units was compiled, their number exceeds 3,000 units.

Purpose of the Study

The research is aimed at exploring the features of the communicative behavior of Tatar ethnic culture in the context of paremias and phraseological units. In order to achieve this aim it is expected to fulfill the following tasks:

1) to use lexicographic editions to select and to classify phraseological and paremiological statements expressing verbal behavior;

2) to conduct semantic analysis of those idioms and paroemias that characterize the communicative category of Tatar ethnic culture;

3) to identify and to analyze the main communicative models of Tatar people's verbal behavior;

4) to reveal the national features of the Tatars' communicative behavior.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the study is formed by theories and approaches of leading foreign and Russian scientists who studied national specificity of verbal behavior, ethno-cultural features of verbal communication. The key methods of the study are descriptive and stylistic ones. The descriptive method is represented by such techniques as sampling method, processing and interpretation method, and lexical and semantic analysis. Linguo-cultural and cognitive-linguistic problems of the reserch of paremiological and phraseological units also form the methodological basis of the study. Linguo-cultural analysis of proverbs helps to reveal culturally-specific markers of Tatar verbal behavior. The cognitive approach allows to define some national features in communication and to reveal its cultural specificity.


Ethnocultural features of the Tatars’ communicative behavior are connected with the spiritual values. In ethnopsychological studies one can see that the representatives of Tatar ethnoculture are associated with such features as “clannishness”, “community”, “domesticity”, “cunning”, and “hospitality”. Krysko (2003) stated that the Tatars “are sometimes harsh, categorical in their views, in their relations with representatives of other nations they can be quick-tempered and resentful, but as a result they quickly resolve conflicts” (p. 32). Scientists believe that these qualities are due to the historical past of the Tatars (Dodina, 2008). The main intellectual qualities of Tatars include clemency and tolerance; they are very polite, ethical and emotional in communication with others. The Tatars are respectful and friendly with others. When they meet somebody for the first time, they are always friendly and welcoming, courtesy is highly valued.

Paremiological and phraseological units enable to create a certain image of a Tatar person, his speech culture and communicative behavior. Having analyzed the connection of these units’ perception with their image, which reflects ethnopsychological features and national set of mind, we can identify their cultural and national significance of expression, which forms their national and cultural connotation.

In Tatar linguistic culture, there are numerous proverbs about the significance of the word. For instance: Тел - байлык (Language is wealth); Тел күрке - сүз (Language is the importance of a word). The proverbs proclaim that the gift of rhetoric helps to maintain the relationships between people. People must be able to master the art of speech culture.

Sociability, i.e. ability to start and maintain contacts is one of the typical categories of communicative behavior. To establish good relationship, people need to be able to listen, understand other people speech, be able to convince. In speech culture they value such qualities as an ability to agree, to listen, and to come to a consensus: сүз сүзне тарта (a word follows a word), сүзе үтә (his words are respected), сүз берләшү (to agree on something), сүз бирешү (give a promise to each other), тел-теш күрсәтмәү (not to dare to argue), тел төбен белү (to find out one’s intentions), тел төбеннән аңлау (to understand the hint), сүзне кире кайтарып алу (to take one’s words back), сүзне читкә бору (to distract with smooth talk), сүз куешу (to agree).

A sociable person is well regarded and generates sympathy and apretiation in society: Суны таяк белән, кешене тел белән үлчиләр (The level of water is measured by a stick, and a person is measured by his tongue); Ат кешнəшеп белешə, адəм сөйлəшеп таныша (a horse is recognized by neighing, a person is recognized by conversation). It is remarkable that the art to keep one’s word or promise is much valued in Tatar proverbs: Сүзне əйтмə, əйтсəң – кайтма (a word spoken is past recalling).

Having analyzed the paroemias and idioms, we found that the ability to control one’s speech, to keep one's word, is considered to be the most important qualities to hold successful communication: сүзеңә хуҗа булу (to keep one's word), телеңә хуҗа булу (to hold one’s tongue), теленнән кем таркандыр (it was not necessary to open one’s mouth); телеңне бәйләп (кыска) тот (hold your tongue), телдән ычкынып китә (the words flew out of the mouth, got off the tongue). Restraint is also a significant category of Tatars' verbal behavior: теле чаршаулы (restrained in conversation), телне бәйдә тоту (to keep one’s mouth shut), телен теш артында тоту (to keep one’s mouth shut).

Phraseological units with the meaning “keep your mouth shut” are actively used in speech, which also shows the high importance of the category of restraint in Tatar speech culture: телеңне тешеңә кыстыру,телеңне тешләп тору,телне аркылы тешләү, телне тою, телне кысу, телләрен бәйдә тоту, etc. The ability to control one’s speech has formed qualities such as “keep your word”, “what is said cannot be unsaid”: сүзне җилгә ташламау(what is said cannot be unsaid), сүзе өстендә үлә торган (even a dying person does not give up his words), сүзне аяк астына салмау (do not ignore other people's opinions), сүзем – сүз (no sooner said than done), сүзенә тугры булу (to be true to one’s word). Another phraseological synonyms for “to keep one’s word” were also remarkable: сүзне җиргә салмау, сүзне әрәм итмәү, сүзне аяк астына салмау, сүзе аяк астында калмый, сүзен сүз итү, сүзен тоту, сүзендә тору, әйткәнендә тору.

The category of restraint is associated with such personal characteristics as prudence and an ability to choose the words carefully: теленә баш булу (not to say too much), сүз озайтмау (not to hesitate to start a conversation), сүзне кыска тоту (without further ado), сүзне озакка сузмыйча(without further ado), озын сүзнең кыскасы (without further ado), сүзне үлчәп сөйләү(not to say too much), авызы ни әйткәнне колагы ишетмәү  (to make irresponsible statements). As the analysis of paremias shows, people need to be reasonable in Tatar linguistic culture. Before talking, you need to think, analyze your speech: Әүвәл уйла, аннары сөйлә ((Think first before speaking); Бар белгәнеңне сөйләргә ашыкма (Do not rush to say all you know); Телеңне тезгендә тот, этеңне чылбырда тот (Hold your tongue as tight as you hold a dog on a leash), etc.

At all times the conversation skill was considered as an art. The art to speak, listen, and understand the speech is the basis of a linguistic culture. The culture of communication plays a great role in the linguistic behavior of the Tatars. Culture of communication shows one’s manners, intelligence and respect.

Tatar phraseology gives great value to such communicative qualities as conversation skills and the art of rhetoric: теле белән күзеңнән тигәнәк алыр (a master of conversation), теле (белән) (судагы) шайтанны утка кертә (a master of conversation), теле (телгә) чатнап тора (a good talker), теле (белән) төлке тота (a good speaker), теле ятып тора (to speak proficiently), сүзгә һәвәс (a good speaker), телгә чарланган (a good speaker), теле телгә йокмый (what a good speaker), теле телгә йокмау (has a ready tongue) сүзгә әҗәткә кермәү (to be quick on the draw), сүзне сатып алмый (has a ready tongue), авызга карату (to draw attention to oneself). The art of rhetoric implies the use of such positive qualities of speech as accuracy, relevance, richness, laconism and verity. One may notice quite a high frequency of phraseological units with the meaning “sharp-tongued”, which shows the importance of smartness and quickwittedness in Tatar speech culture: телгә оста (to have a silver tongue), сүзгә оста (sharp-tongued), телгә чая (sharp-tongued), теле төк ярырдай (sharp-tongued). Eloquence is highly respected as well :теле (белән) эретү (have an eloquent tongue), теле баллы (татлы) (honey-mouthed),тел белән майлау.

People should be able to express their ideas concisely. Phraseological units confirm that our speech should be exact and articulate: тел бозу (to bastardize the language), теле бәйләнә (to be tongue-tied), телем көрмәкләнә (to get one's tongue around the words), тел бәйләнү (to find nothing to say, to be tongue-tied), сүз боткасы пешерү (to mumble), тел вату (to clutter up the language), сүзен йоту (to swallow words), авыз эчендә ботка пешерү (to mumble), теле ятсый (a mush-mouthed person). One may also notice a high frequency of phraseological units with negative connotations “not to put two words together”, which shows the importance of the ability to compose one’s speech: сүзне-сүзгә ялгый алмый // сүзенең рәте-башы юк // сүзенең энәсе-җебе булмау (cannot speak well), сүзенең ата-анасы юк (not to put two words together), телгә җәптәш // телгә бетчә чыккан // телгә беткән.

The analysis of the studied units revealed that during a conversation the Tatars try to show respect to the interlocutor: Сыйларга сыең булмаса, сыйпарга телең булсын (If there is nothing to treat a person with, treat them with pleasant words). One needs to listen to the interlocutor carefully, it is forbidden to interrupt a person's speech: Белмичә сөйләгәнче, белгәннең сүзен тыңлау яхшы (It is better to hear the speech of the one who knows than to speak without knowing.); Үзең ишетәсе килмәгән сүзне кешегә сөйләмә ( who says everything, will hear something that he does not want), etc.

Tatar communicative culture gives great value to the ability to start a conversation properly, to ask questions. Ничек эндәшсәң, шундый җавап (the echo responds to the call); Соравына күрә җавабы (What goes around comes around); Җеп турында сөйләгәч, энәсеннән башлау хәерле (lit. If you are talking about a thread, you need to beginwith a needle), etc.

Moreover, it should be said that humor must also be appropriate for the situation. If the interlocutor is joking, then his joke ought to be appropriate and considerate: Уен сүзгә мәгънә кирәк (A joke is supposed to mean something); Уйнап әйтсәң дә уйлап әйт (lit. If you are joking, do it thoughtfully), etc.

The category of politeness is one of the greatest communicative values of Tatar people. Politeness is an art to respectfully communicate with people. Politeness is associated with the qualities like good manners, tact and wisdom: Акыллы кеше сүз әйткәндә, әйтер сүзен чамалар (A smart person knows what to say); Әдәп башы – тел (A person with good manners knows what to say); Инсафлының теле саф (A well-mannered person always speaks politely), etc.

Tatar people also appreciate good, kind, sweet and meaningful words. They actively use phraseological units with the meaning of “kind, sweet and meaningful word”: тәмле телле // татлы телле // баллы телле (sweet-mouthed), матур сөйләшү (to speak proficiently), матур сүз (a beautiful word), җылы сүз (a warm word), яхшы сүз (a kind word). The proverbs say that a kind and meaningful word is the basis of well-balanced communication: Яхшы сүз балдан татлы (A kind word is sweeter than honey); Татлы тел тимер капканы да ачар (Sweet words can open iron gates); Җайлы сүз җан эретə (A kind word warms the soul); Җылы сүз – җан азыгы (A warm word is food for reflection).

The Tatars, like all other nations, despise indifference and rudeness in communication. Angry, sharp language, unfriendly words create conflicts. We have revealed a lot phraseological units with the following meanings: : ачы тел // зәһәр тел // чәнчүле сүз (a sharp tongue), төртмә тел (сүз) (a sharp, spiteful, ironic tongue), утлы тел (tongue of fire), салкын сөйләшү (indifferent words), ямьсез сүз (rude words), яман сүз (low language), авыр сүз (a cold word), теле төерле (rude language), телгә алмаслык (wretchedly), тел белән тизәк изә (say foul things), сүзе ук шикелле (a tart-tongued person). Phraseologisms with the meaning of “taunting” form the following synonyms: ачы телләнү, зәһәрле сүз әйтү, чәнчеп алу, тешләп алу and others.

The Turkic peoples frown upon talkativeness as they believe, "that those who talk a lot, brag about it, cannot be trusted and relied on". For example, тел бистәсе (a chatterbox), тел тегермәне (a babbler), тел сату (to give free rein to tongue), теле табанга җиткән (a motormouth), теле авызга сыймый (a long tongue), теле телгә йокмый (to talk non-stop), телгә салыну (to have a loose tongue), теле тышау тотмый (a leaky vessel), теленә шайтан да чыкмас (a chatterbox), сүз (тел) бистәсе (a tatler), сүз боткасы (a meaningless conversation), сүз куерту (to give free rein to tongue), сүздән аркан ишү (to speak about one and the same), авызы тишек (a leaky vessel),теле тик тормый (sharp-tongued), теле кычыта (a long tongue), теле озын (to have a loose tongue) (a loose tongue), теленә корт төшкән (not able to keep a still tongue in one's head).

Talkativeness is opposed with restraint in paremias: Теленә салынган эшендә абынган (Whoever talks a lot will not do the job). These paremias mean that those who talk a lot and boast, can not be trusted and relied on.

Laconicism, the ability to weigh each word characterizes the linguistic culture of Tatar people:Аз сөйлəгəн аз ялгышыр (A person who says few, makes few mistakes); Аз сүз – алтын, күп сүз – бакыр (Few words are gold, too many words are copper); Бер сүз аз, ике сүз күп (One word is not enough, two words are too many).

A habit of speaking briefly indicates that a person is smart and serious-minded:теле киселү (to put to silence), телен йоткан (to lose one's tongue), теле бәйле (to zip one’s lip), сүзгә саран (tight-lipped), аз сүзле (taciturn), авызны йому (to sew up one's mouth), авызыннан сүзен тартып алып булмый (tight-lipped). Phraseologisms emphasize that a person who easily promises something actually has nothing: сүздә бер, эштә бүтән (to say one thing, but then do another thing), теле белән барын да эшли (she was talking and talking and talking), теле белән юу (honey is sweet, but the bee stings). If a person makes things up, they say: түшәмнән алып сөйләү (pull out of a hat), бармактан суыру(dream the whole thing up). Paremias show a high appreciation of being silent: Сөйләвең көмеш булса да, дәшмәвең алтын (Talking is silver, being silence is golden); Söz gümüş sükut altın (fly will not get into a closed mouth), etc.

Effective and well-balanced communication is a significant category of communicative behavior in Tatar paremias. Such qualities as frankness, sincerity, affection are the principle criteria for effective communication in the Tatar verbal behavior: Тел - күңел көзгесе (Language is a window to one’s soul); Йөрәктән чыкмаган йөрәккә җитмәс (A word that does not come from the heart does not reach the heart). We have revealed that warmth and sincerity can be considered as typical ethnically marked features of Tatar verbal behavior: кайнар сәламнәр җиткерү (to give somebody a warm welcome), җылы әңгәмә, җылы кабул итү (to give somebody a cordial welcome), күзгә-күз карап сөйләшү (to speak one's mind), ачыктан-ачык сөйләшү (to speak frankly). The connotation of such phraseological units is based on such character traits of Tatar ethnic group as sincerity, frankness, affection.

The following phraseological units express the idea that affection, frankness and truthfulness also represent communicative ideals in Tatar verbal culture: турысын әйтү, турыдан бәрү, туры ярып әйтү (to tell straight), дөрес сүзгә җавап юк (there's nothing to be said). Proverbs with the following meanings are actively used in Tatar language: Телнең зиннəте – тугры сүз (A truthful word beautifies the language); Туры сүзгә ант кирәкми (lit. A true word does not need an oath), etc. Phraseological units meaning “a person who says one thing and does another” are actively used as well: теле белән юу // берне сөйли, икенчене эшли //астан куя, өстән җуя// йомшак түшәп, каты яткыра //йомшак җәеп катыда кабырга кабарта // йомшак җәеп катыга утырта (honey is sweet, but the bee stings).

In the Tatar linguistic culture, conflict communication is revealed through such types of communicative behavior as lies, quarrels and resentment. We have noted some phraseological units expressing gossips, quarrels and disputes: тел болгау (to tell tales), авыз пычрату // авыз буяу (to pollute the language), авыз чайкау (to wag one's tongue), телгә килешү (to lead to a dispute), сүз йөртү (to tell tales), сүз көрәштерү (to conduct an argument), сүзгә керү (to quarrel), сүзгә килү (to lead to a dispute), тел кашу (to talk a blue streak (to gossip)), тел чайкау (to gossip).

It is worth noting that Tatar paremias encourage not to engage in quarrels, but to avoid them:Ызгыш - дошманлыкның башы (Quarrels begin feud); Гафу үтенгәнче, ызгышмау яхшы (It is better not to quarrel than to apologize later); It is recommended to refrain from statements that could lead to quarrels: Ачулансаң да, соңгысын әйтмә (If you’re angry, don’t say terrible things). Silence is a means to end a quarrel: Дәшми торсаң, талаш бетә (Keep silent and there will be no quarrel). Tatar people condemn gossip: Гайбəт чəйнəгəнче, сагыз чəйнə (Better to eat noisily than to gossip); Гайбəтченең теле - мең колач (A gossip’s tongue is thousands kilometers long), etc.

Thus, tact, courtesy, respect, politeness and goodwill are the major qualities in the linguistic behavior of the Tatars. Lies and bragging, quarrel and gossip are frowned upon and severely condemned in speech culture.


  • Paremiological and phraseological units express the attitude to the culture of speech, features and nature of verbal behavior, the value of a word. Tatar speech behavior is associated with such communicative categories as politeness, restraint, prudence, sincerity, frankness, respectfulness, goodwill, talkativeness, lies and boasting.

  • Politeness, modesty, restraint, frankness, sincerity and respect are considered to form communicative ideals of the Tatars. Conflicts, quarrels, arguments, lies are extremely negative categories of verbal behavior for speakers and listeners and always cause very negative emotions.

  • Tatar paremias and phraseological units concerning verbal behavior express Tatar typical communication models, developing for centuries. They reflect national specificity of the communicative culture of Tatar people. Tatar speech behavior can be characterized as simple and emotional; the Tatars are able to hold a conversation and to respect the interlocutor.

Thus, the linguistic culture of the Tatar people reflects the centuries-old traditionships, habits, people’s beliefs and experience of communicative culture. In our opinion, a systematic reserch of ethnocultural patterns of the language behavior of the Tatars in synchrony and diachrony might be relevant in the field of linguistics, linguoculturology, ethics and cultural studies.


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Zamaletdinov, R., Yusupova, A., Nabiullina, G., & Mugtasimova, G. (2020). Speech Behavior In The Tatar Linguistic Culture. In I. Murzina (Ed.), Humanistic Practice in Education in a Postmodern Age, vol 93. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 453-461). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.47