Emotional And Expressive Vocabulary In The Sub-Dialects Of The Irkutsk Region


The article deals with the emotionally-expressive vocabulary of the sub-dialects in the Irkutsk region as part of the dialectal vocabulary and as a means to reflect popular beliefs, axiological picture of the world of rural old residents in the region. The work defines the following lexico-semantic groups which include representatives with emotionally-expressive connotations: people' names according to character qualities, peculiarities of behavior; people' names according to appearance characteristics; people's names according to presence/absence of any abilities, strength, and health; names of actions or attributes of actions; names of household items, clothes, footwear; names of items connected with human activity; names of animals, birds. Within each group, the authors analyzed the words by their part-of-speech belonging and concluded that the emotional-expressive vocabulary of the Irkutsk region's sub-dialects consists in a greater extent of nouns and verbs. The paper contains classification of dialect words by type of reflected connotation, identification of words with positive coloring and words with negative coloring, calculations showing quantitative correlation of these language units. The analysis of connotative vocabulary revealed that since ancient times people have approved individuals who are outwardly pleasant, healthy and strong, neat and clean, hardworking and economic, moderately sociable, cheerful and non-conflictual, caring for household items and tools, showing love and care for domestic animals. In children, they value obedience and strongly condemn the laziness. Sub-dialects of the Irkutsk region have much less words with positive coloring than words with negative coloring.

Keywords: Dialectemotional-expressive coloringemotional-expressive connotationssub-dialectssub-dialects of the Irkutsk regionvocabulary


The popular sub-dialects are an integral part of the Russian national language (Rebrina & Malushko, 2017). Through their study, we learn about the names of household items, habits, traditions, life phenomena familiar to the rural population, the old residents of a particular area. Therefore, the study of dialects is essential to not only recreate a holistic picture of the Russian language, but also for a deep understanding of Russian culture as a whole.

The scientific community pays close attention to dialects (Lu et al., 2019; Cooper, 2019; Jones et al., 2017; Walker, 2018). They have special expressiveness, emotionality and evaluation (Andreeva, 2017; Prikhodko, 2013; Chung & Zeng, 2020; Ge et al., 2020). At all times rural residents brightly and aptly named objects, figuratively characterized the nature, assessed the person, etc., so by analyzing emotionally colored vocabulary it is possible to know folk culture and learn about the system of values, features of the mentality of the old-age population of any region, including the Irkutsk region (Russia).

Problem Statement

The dialect language is a treasury of material and spiritual culture of the Russian people, a phenomenon of national heritage. For this reason, it is important to know and preserve the originality of national-linguistic pictures of the world embodied in dialects.

The sub-dialects of the Irkutsk region are one of the sources for describing the history of the region, language and culture of its inhabitants - the rural population. Therefore, they have always attracted the attention of ethnographers, historians, philologists and others (Chupanovskaya, 2016; Medvedeva, 2010). Despite the available scientific works (Anisimova et al., 2019; Malushko et al., 2016; Serebryakova & Milostivaya, 2017), researchers have not yet sufficiently studied the linguistic phenomena of the Irkutsk region sub-dialects. In particular, there is no complete description of the emotional-expressive vocabulary, which determines the relevance of this work.

Research Questions

This paper focuses on the following issues:

  • Lexico-semantic groups and emotional-expressive connotations of dialectal words of Irkutsk region.

  • The emotional and expressive vocabulary of the Irkutsk region sub-dialects as a means of reflecting popular beliefs.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the research is to describe the lexical and semantic peculiarities of emotional-expressive words belonging to the Irkutsk region sub-dialects. The authors solve this problem by analyzing the dialect material extracted from the "Irkutsk Regional Dictionary" and personal files of the authors. The emotionally-expressive vocabulary of the Irkutsk region sub-dialects is subject to a systematic study, whose tasks include developing a classification of dialectal words, revealing their characteristic emotionally-expressive connotations, which allows forming a certain idea about the axiological picture of the world of the old-age population in the Irkutsk region.

Research Methods

This is a complex work, resulting in a variety of research methods. The research used a linguistic description method that includes observation and interpretation techniques. There were methods of the system analysis combining classification and generalization of observed relations between language units, and also elements of the quantification analysis.


6.1 . The analysis of the collected factual material resulted in the following groups of vocabulary (by frequency of examples), including words with emotional-expressive coloring:

  • Names of people by qualities of character, features of behavior.

  • Names of people by appearance characteristics.

  • Names of people by the presence/absence of any ability, strength, and health.

  • Names of the action or attribute of the action.

  • Names of household items, clothes, shoes.

  • Names of items related to human activity.

  • Names of animals and birds.

We will consider each group of words separately, paying attention to the quantitative indicators and the part-of-speech belonging of the representatives. Vocabulary description uses the following abbreviations: sw.- swear word; disap. - disapproval word; fig. - figurative meaning of the word; contempt. - contemptuous word; derog. - derogative word; dim. - diminutive word.

  • Names of people by qualities of character, features of behavior

This group is the largest (41% of all collected examples). It consists of nouns, for example:

базлан – the one who shouts a lot; кобыляк – about a lazy teenager; охрёпа – about a slovenly man; заедала – the one who often starts a fight.

Within this group, the frequency names are also adjectives, for example: полохливый – shy; самолюбный – narcissistic; ушлый – cunning; непослухмянный – naughty; неимущий – weak person.

  • Names of people by appearance characteristics.

In our research file the group of words (7% of all examples) includes mostly adjectives, for example: нюхренький – unsightly man; баской – beautiful man; бравый – beautiful man.

Nouns are much rarer, for example: долгун, долгуша – about a tall, thin man; мотовило – about a tall, thin man; лахудра – about a disheveled, sloppy girl, woman.

  • Names of people by the presence/absence of any ability, strength, and health.

This group of words (6% of the total number of examples) are only nouns, for example: беспуть – about the uninformed, stupid man; заливала – about a man who loves to compose, knows how to tell interesting unusual stories; голендуха – about the stupid man; нечистик – about a man who can magic.

  • Names of the action or attribute of the action.

This group of words is numerous (27 % of examples). The lexemes of this group are verbs that denote various actions, for example: хануть – to die; охобачивать – to eat greedily; настебунять – to sew something badly, carelessly.

There are also adverbs that contain a connotative component in their semantics, for example: беспуто – unwise, bad; лихоматом – loud, strong.

  • Names of household items, clothes, shoes.

This group is represented only by substantives, for example: божничка – godmother; веретёшко – spindle; хруньё – bad clothes.

Total number of examples of this group is 7% of the collected lexemes.

  • Names of items related to human activity.

All words in this group are nouns, e.g.: сиговочка diminutive from "сиговка" (a net for catching sigas); выкиднушка – dim. from "выкид" (a fishing tackle); мужичок – left, concave coulter for turning the earth over.

As in the previous case, this group accounts for 7%.

  • Names of animals and birds.

This group of lexemes also consists only of nouns, for example: телушонка – derog., from "тёлка" (the heifer); упадь – about a bad, weak horse; бася – lamb; цыпушка – dim. from "цыплёнок" (chicken).

This group of words is the smallest: by our calculations, there are only 5% of emotionally-expressive lexemes for animals and birds.

Thus, dialectal words that contain an emotionally expressive component in their semantics include nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs.

Our research file contains the following quantitative distribution of lexemes of different parts of speech: noun names - 57 %; verbs - 20 %; adjective names - 18 %; adverbs - 5 %.

6.2. Emotional and expressive connotations of words. The analysis of actual material showed that there are two groups of collected words with emotional-expressive coloring: dialectal words with meliorative (positive) emotional-expressive coloring and dialectal words with pejorative (negative) emotional-expressive coloring. For example:

Можненький , diminutive Significantly grown up, able to do anything, work.

Вилючий , disap. able to twist, to resort to cunning, to tricks.

Лентяк , contempt., from "цыплёнок" (lazy).

Нация , disap. A reprehensible habit, a feature of behavior.

Thus, the word заполошный (strongly excitable, prone to panic, rash actions) in its semantics has a clear negative assessment of human behavior, lexemes чистоплотка (tidy, clean woman) and похахай (joker, funny man) have positive emotional-expressive connotations.

  • Words with meliorative emotional-expressive coloring

Among such lexemes, there are words with the diminutive component, for example: лагушок – dim. from "лагун" (a barrel with a hole in the upper bottom); станинка – dim. from "станина" (lower shirt of women); таймешонок – dim. from "таймень".

Quite a lot of words contain in their semantics approval, for example: заливала – about a man who loves to compose, knows how to tell interesting unusual stories; могутой – strong, strong; чистюнька – tidy, clean woman, трудник – hardworking man.

There are also examples that we can qualify as joking: прокуратник - mischievous; простусмешник - someone who jokes at someone; укочевать - to go away.

  • Words with pejorative emotional-expressive coloring

Negative coloring stands out the following examples:

1) disrespectful, for example: базлан - derog., the one who shouts a lot; запонишко - derog., from "запон" (apron);

2) contemptuous, for example: голендуха – a stupid man; облайка – a rude woman prone to scolding;

3) disapproval, for example: забазланить – disap., to strongly scream; ботало – disap., chatterbox, loudmouth;

4) swear, for example: кобыляк – sw., a lazy teenager; косматуха – an unbrushed person (usually a child).

We found that words with positive and negative emotional-expressive coloring reveal rich synonymous and antonymous connections.

Examples of synonyms:

похахай (joker, funny guy) – прокуратник (naughty guy) – простусмешник (one who jokes at someone);

прилень (laziness) – стяжина / стяг (fig., contempt., about a very lazy person) – опухляк (sw., about a lazy person) – ослопина (sw., about a lazy teenager) – отяг (sw., about a lazy person):

Examples of antonyms:

тюмрюк (about a silent person) – боталуша (chatterbox), трепло (chatterbox);

охредной (sloppy) – обрядный (tidy).

Thus, lexemes with positive and negative connotations stand out among words with emotionally expressive coloring in the Irkutsk region sub-dialects. Words with a negative assessment are more common. According to our estimates, their share in the collected research file accounts for a greater number of examples from the entire lexemes. Figure 01 shows the quantitative distribution of words (in percent) by type of emotional coloring (according to the research file).

Figure 1: Quantitative distribution of words by type of emotional coloring (according to the research file)
Quantitative distribution of words by type of emotional coloring (according to the research file)
See Full Size >

6.3 . Emotional-expressive vocabulary as a means of reflecting folk ideas. The dialect language marks something that seems important to a person. In this sense, we think the emotionally expressive vocabulary is indicative.

Based on the previously selected groups of vocabulary, we have attempted to show what phenomena, subjects, characteristics, etc. the old-age population of Eastern Siberia gets the appropriate assessment: positive or negative.

  • Names of people by qualities of character, features of behavior

As the examples show, the nominations used for the name of the sluggish, slow-moving person have a clear disapproval color: лямуша, копуша – about the slow, slow-moving person; утлый – sluggish, sluggish person; тямля – about the sluggish, dispersed person.

On the contrary, an active, industrious person deserves high praise (but such words are very few): безустанный – tireless, not knowing fatigue.

Special negative assessment is given to lazy people, both adults and children: ленище – about a very lazy person; лентяк – lazy; опухляк – lazy; ослопина – about a lazy teenager; слопина – about a stupid or lazy teenager.

Whereas hardworking people have figurative names: трудник – hardworking person; огородистый – who works hard and well in the garden.

People condemn angrily people who talk a lot and in vain, gossip. Such people, for example, are called as follows: трепальщик – a man who talks a lot; хвощёвка – gossip women; трепло – a man who talks a lot, deceives.

People consider the verbiage as bad quality, the ability to speak beautifully as a good quality: наречистый (with a bright positive assessment) means "eloquent".

According to our research file, a person should not be extremely silent: тюмрюк means a silent person.

At the same time, the people condemn the propensity to curse, to shout, as evidenced by numerous examples. We will cite some of them: базлан - the one who shouts a lot; облайка – about a rude woman prone to scolding; ругательник – the one who often scolds. All words have pejorative coloring.

In Irkutsk region there are some negative names for adults and children who provoke a quarrel, take part in a fight, for example: сведёныши – those who are angry with each other, fight; варнак – the instigator of the fight (about the child); заедала – the one who often acts as the instigator of the fight.

People prone to lies and cunning receive a negative assessment: хлопуша, хлюпиха – a liar; ушлый – cunning; ханыга – about a cunning, dishonest man; вилючий – able to twist, to resort to cunning, to tricks.

Character traits / behavioral features such as naughtiness, capriciousness, the inability to forgive, the inability to adapt to other people receive clear disapproval: непослухмянный – naughty; урос – about the harmful child; куражливый – capricious; неспустиха – the one who does not forgive the offense; неуноровный – the one to whom it is difficult to adapt.

In addition, examples show that people who are prone to alcohol consumption are severely reprimanded: чарочник – about a drinker; забутыльник – a drunkard.

There is also the disapproval of those who eat a lot of food unchecked: ненаедный – insatiable; прожора – about those who eat a lot.

  • Names of people by appearance characteristics.

According to popular belief, a person should be neat and tidy. Words that contain this characteristic in their meaning, have a positive color: чистоплотка – clean, tidy woman; чистотка –clean, tidy woman; чистюнька – clean, tidy woman.

The sloppy, untidy person gets the most different negative assessment: contemptuous, disapproval. There are even swear words. All these lexemes show that a person should look tidy, should be clean and brushed, because otherwise he deserves only condemnation and blame, for example:

1) disapproval, contemptuous words: лахудра – about a disheveled, sloppy girl, woman; отымалка – untidy, unclean woman;

2) swear words: косматуха - about an unbrushed man (usually a child); охрёпа - slovenly man; хохранец - ragamuffin, dirty.

People who are externally beautiful receive a positive assessment, while people who are not externally beautiful receive a negative assessment (the last words are more frequent): баской, бравый, бравенький – a beautiful man, страшняк – about a very ugly man, unsightly, unscrupulous, некористый, некорыстый, нюхренький – not good, unsightly.

The interesting thing is that a person should not be too thin or too full in the representation of old residents of Irkutsk region. Words with such semantics possess pejorative colouring: долгун, долгуша, мотовило – about the tall, skinny man; разботелый – grown-up.

  • Names of people by the presence / absence of any ability, strength and health

Within this group, we have identified the following characteristics of the person receiving the appropriate characteristic:

1. Intelligence/smartness.

The lack of these qualities is reprehensible. So, for example, голендуха means a stupid man. The word беспуть refers to an unintelligent person.

2. Health, strength.

The words with semantics connected to good health, presence of forces have obvious positive coloring: могутой – strong, robust; хабушка – about the girl possessing health; можненький – dim. from "можный" (strong, robust).

Negative coloring is inherent to lexemes, which express the opposite meaning: неработный – about who cannot work; неимущий – weak man; полорукий – one who cannot hold anything firmly in his hands.

  • Names of the action or attribute of the action.

In Irkutsk region sub-dialects, verbs have bright expression and quite transparent emotional evaluation. Therefore, it is quite easy to establish the connotations accompanying the main lexical meaning. The analysis showed that people' disapproval is as follows.

1. Actions related to a loud scream and scolding, for example: раззепаться – to scream; забазланить – to scream heavily; расхайлаться – to scream, to make a distinction.

2. Actions related to irritation, anger: взбрыгать, взбрындить – to suddenly angry; нахайлать – toscream; выстырить – to achieve something with arguing, scandalous.

3. Actions related to the scandal, violence: петошить – to scold hard, chase someone; натренькать – to beat up; понужать – to chase, push.

4. Actions with the components " to go away", " to take away", " to move": утарабанить – to steal away, to take somebody away; утаркать – to whisk off, to get away; спёхивать – to bump, to shift.

5. Conditions of great fatigue from physical work: умайкаться – to get tired; мантулить – to work harder; умудохаться – to get very tired.

The adverbs in this group have the ability to add positive verbs to the verb value. ( обиходно – neat, tidy.), or more often, a negative color: лезом – to pester; лихоматно – loudly, powerfully; недарова – no good; непутно – bad; несталиво – unsightly, clumsy.

  • Names of household items, clothes, shoes.

As a rule, the names of household items have positive coloring: кадачка – dim. from "кадка" (pail); посудочка – dim. from "посуда" (tableware); лагушок – dim. from от лагун (top bottom keg); пестерюшечка – dim. from пестерь (tall woven basket with handles).

In the semantics of such words we observe an additional diminutive value.

Apparently, old residents of Irkutsk region treated the objects necessary in everyday life with special care, as reflected in the appearance of meliorative coloring of such lexemes.

With regard to clothes and shoes, we can draw the following conclusions. Not old and worn-out things, as opposed to old and dilapidated things, have positive emotional-expressive coloring: станинка – dim. from "станина" (lower shirt of women); надевашка – upper shirt; хруньё – bad clothes; мерлушка – unsightly cap.

Consequently, people believe that it is good when clothes and shoes have the proper look.

  • Names of items related to human activity.

Residents speak about subjects of the given group with special respect, reverence: трубичка – dim. from "трубица'' (a ring, a short tube, serving as fastening; a hub); литовочка – dim. from "литовка" (a plait); лопаточка – dim. from "лопатка" (a bar for sharpening of a plait).

The semantics of these words has a diminutive component, which is quite understandable: the farmers treated the tools with care and love, it was impossible to perform complex and necessary work without these items. Noteworthy examples are the items that were used by hunters and fishermen: сиговочка – dim. from "сиговка" (a network for catching whitefish); хайрюзовочка –dim. from "хайрюзовка" (a network for catching grayling); сачишко – dim. from "сак" (bat).

  • Names of animals and birds.

The rural population has always been engaged in poultry farming, cattle breeding, horse breeding and sheep breeding. The semantics of such words reflected a kind attitude to animals: цыпушка – dim. from chicken; кутька –chicken; ягушка – dim. from "ягнёнок" (lamb); яманёнок – dim. from "яман" (goat); бася – lamb.

But if the animal was unhealthy, weak, it was called disapproval, for example: цыпушчонок - disap., from "цыплёнок" (chicken); телушонка – derog., from the heifer; упадь – about a bad, low-power horse.

Thus, the rich lexical fund of the Irkutsk region's sub-dialects includes quite a few connotational colored words, which testifies to the high emotionality of the old residents of the region, their desire to not only name the subject, phenomenon, and action, but also to give them an assessment, and to make their speech more vivid and expressive.


Identified groups of words reveal representatives with different emotional and expressive coloring. People speak positively or negatively about something, give a negative or positive characteristic of something. And this manifests itself in the corresponding connotations. The sub-dialects of the Irkutsk region have words with meliorative coloring in much less than words with pejorative coloring. This observation once again confirms the repeatedly stated idea: people often and harshly criticize something negative, because they take positive things for granted, ordinary things.

The analysis of examples with different types of emotionally-expressive coloring (approving, diminutive, joking, disapproval contemptuous, swearing, etc.) allowed us to establish the character traits, behavioral features, appearance of people, household items, etc. receiving positive or negative assessment among old residents of Irkutsk region. According to popular belief, a worthy person should be communicative, non-conflict, hardworking, economic and tolerant to the extent possible. In children, they value obedience and strongly condemn the laziness. It is good when a person has external beauty, health, strength, intellect, sense of humor, ability to forgive offense. According to the old residents of the region, it is also important to have a tidy appearance, to keep the house and household clean, to be careful in everything, to treat tools and pets with love and care.


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Chupanovskaya, M. N., Maklakova, T. B., Valeryevna, T. Y., & Khaydarovna, N. A. (2020). Emotional And Expressive Vocabulary In The Sub-Dialects Of The Irkutsk Region. In N. L. Shamne, S. Cindori, E. Y. Malushko, O. Larouk, & V. G. Lizunkov (Eds.), Individual and Society in the Modern Geopolitical Environment, vol 99. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 622-631). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.72