Homeland: Cross-Cultural Value Study Based On Modern Indo-European Languages


The article under consideration deals with archetypal and ethnic-specific features of one of the initial linguocultural values based on the English, French and Russian languages. Homeland in its core is looked upon as a universal, omnipresent concept and a fundamental human virtue. At the same time, specific idio-ethnic properties, characteristic of each cultural and social framework, mark national specificity in the contrastive cultures and explore the ethnic-psychological potential of the given concept. The current study presupposes two stages: 1) delving deeply into the static language projection, shaping the associative circle of 'Homeland', as it is represented in the paremiological fund of the English, Russian and French languages; 2) comparing it with the dynamic associative mapping of the value, which is gained due to an associative experiment, providing keen insight into the up-to-date perception of the concept and communicating the direction of its present-day transformation. The authors reveal the presence of some ethno-specific associative layers through their relationship with the key features of national identity.

Keywords: Conceptethnic-specific featurehomelandlinguoculturevalue


Modern multicultural cross-ethnic realm brings about distortion and reshaping of classic value scopes and concept spheres, causing demarcation of nationally specific codes, their neutralization and averaging. This omnipresent tendency instigates enhancement of struggling for national identity preservation as an efficient means of ensuring national security, cultural and spiritual autonomy, drawing parallels among national cultures, yet pointing out unique constituents of ethnic value matrixes, that make each people incomparable.

Value per se is a peculiar category defining a solely human type of perceiving and segmenting reality which presupposes laying a special emphasis (marking) on certain concepts (Radbil’, 2013). Majorly cornerstone values are of all-embracing nature. They are cultivated and maintained in any ethnic commonality, thus enabling nations to build connections and understand each other. Nonetheless, values might as well exhibit traces of ethnic singularity and authenticity. A different qualitative and quantitative balance of conceptual components highlights national specificity and attaches greater significance to particular aspects of human existence, ranking the highest among this or that people (Speake, 2008).

One of the core conceptual universals characteristic of any national concept sphere is the notion of Homeland. Its axiological significance lies within the dichotomy ‘one’s own – foreign’. A comprehensive integrative approach to sculpturing the image of Homeland in the consciousness of the research subject reveals essential interaction unifying several aspects: ontological, cognitive and axiological.

The evaluation of mission properties of the construct ‘Homeland’ as an exceptionally complex, multilayer spiritual substance, enables singling out the following basic functions: maternal, value-encapsulating, primary goal indicative, ethno-specific, and heath-maintaining. All of them contribute to the genesis and development of a separate individual, social group and society as a whole since the notion of ‘Homeland’ is looked upon as an indispensable constituent of an ethnosocial system (Vasilyeva, 2006).

Problem Statement

The analysis of the image of Homeland in modern Indo-European languages testifies to the fact that it can be interpreted as a linguocultural concept interweaving both universal and idio-ethnic representations. It corresponds to the global culturally significant concept, which yet possesses a certain national-specific content. Questionable is certainly the degree at which a national concept sphere displays and accentuates particular traits, typifying the concept of Homeland, indicative of its national diversity and peculiar ethnic-specific worldview.

Examination of the considered value in two polar projections integrates static and dynamic perceptive angles. They comprise paremiological funds of the chosen Indo-European languages, listing nuclear associative layers of the ‘Homeland’ phenomenon, and the actual language stock. The joint insight provides stationary and up-to-date associative lines that show peculiar ethnic-specific interpretation of the given concept.

Research Questions

Irrespective of the inter-cultural potential of the studied value, neither of the fields mentioned above has been studied thoroughly regarding its dynamics. The conceptual scope of the universal human virtue 'Homeland' undergoes ever-progressing modification. The latter depends on a wide variety of extralinguistic premises becoming especially acute within the framework of the XXI century globalization.

Purpose of the Study

The undertaken research is aimed at extrapolation of primary universal ethnically demarcated constituents of the global value 'Homeland', encountered in many Indo-European languages (English, French, Russian) as opposed to highly ethno-specifying traits, correlating with national identity, national security, patriotism, uniqueness, customs, and way of life based on the static and dynamic language data.

Research Methods

The goal mentioned above is achieved due to the implementation of the methods of phenomena cognition dialectics: generalization, analogy, and comparison. The method of statistical analysis is resorted to in order to assess the quantitative index of associative sublayer distribution within the core value 'Homeland'. The method of mind-mapping is used for performing associative grouping.


Gradual Gradual fragmentation of an ethnic-specific cultural nucleus, as well as its sole virtues, presupposes delving deeply into a national language and culture 'produce' accumulating intellectual, historical, social and artistic experience of a people. Distinctive in terms of mirroring fundamental mental, perceptive, heritage, outlook, behavioural and assessment patterns of a particular cultural realm is the paremiological fund.

Static linguistic projection of the universal virtue 'Homeland' based on the English, Russian and French languages is observed in the paremio-semantic structure of the paremiological fund. Comparative study of the three linguistic traditions has enabled the authors to single out the following common semantic-associative groups:

  • Place of birth, native place

  • Home

  • Heritage / history / kin / roots

  • Family

  • Heart / emotions / feelings (both negative and positive: yearning, nostalgia, boredom, longing, homesickness)

  • Traditions

  • Mother

  • Beloved

  • Language

  • Unity

  • People

  • Paradise

Upon closer examination, each of the listed layers undergoes further associative division into sublayers.

 The axiological value of the concept Homeland is defined within the trichotomy of the associative scale 'good – neutral – bad', where Homeland is a value, and foreign land is an anti-value:

A foreign land adds wisdom. Sides will be crushed on the side (originally in Russian).

  • An alien side is a thick forest (originally in Russian).

  • In a foreign land, even spring is not beautiful. Our spring is gorgeous (originally in Russian).

  • In a foreign land, it is both lonely and dumb (originally in Russian).

  • On an alien side, they call a falcon a crow (originally in Russian).

  • In a foreign land, everything is a God’s gift (originally in Russian).

  • On an alien side, even a child is an enemy (originally in Russian).

  • Seek goodness on the side but love the old house (originally in Russian).

  • Don, Don, but home is better. Paris is good, but Kurmysh lives, too (originally in Russian).

  • One’s own burden does not pull, one’s own smoke does not eat eyes (originally in Russian).

  • There is no place like home.

  • Partout, c’est bien; à la maison, c’est mieux = It is good everywhere, but home is the best place.

The linguistic consciousness comprehends the named antinomy in the following way: one might praise a foreign land but remain loyal to Homeland.

  • It is warmer across the sea and lighter (more fun) in our country (originally in Russian).

  • A matchmaker praises a foreign land but will never step on it (originally in Russian).

  • A homely bad is better than a far-away good (originally in Russian).

  • Why go far? Here it is also good (originally in Russian).

  • Yerema, Yerema! Stay at home and sharpen the spindles (originally in Russian).

  • In one place, even a stone overgrows with moss (originally in Russian).

  • Mushrooms grow in the village but are known in the city (originally in Russian).

  • In a city, houses are good, but heads are poor (originally in Russian).

  • Praise a foreign land but stay at home (originally in Russian).

  • The longest way round is the shortest way home.

A foreign land is no better than Homeland. It may just seem so.

  • Glorious tambourines are just around the corner, but they will come to us like a basket (originally in Russian).

  • It is okay to listen to the buffoon on the gazelles, and you will start playing yourself – but not for us (originally in Russian).

  • Somewhere you do not know it is not luring (originally in Russian).

  • As it is at home, as it feels on the Don (originally in Russian).

  • Geese flew over the sea, came no swans either (originally in Russian).

  • Many go out for wool and come home shorn – allegory: Many seek to better themselves or make themselves rich, but end by losing what they already have.

  • Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.

Sadness and grief in Homeland are better than fun and happiness in a foreign land.

  • One’s own grieving is more important than a stranger’s fun (originally in Russian).

  • Across the sea there is gaiety but someone else’s, while here is grieving but our own (originally in Russian).

Foreign land may be quite attractive.

  • One will not gain anything by mere sitting at home (originally in Russian).

  • A sandpiper knows an alien side and a crane is looking for warmth (originally in Russian).

  • Farewell, Mother-Russia: I am heading for warmth (a crane upon its leave) (originally in Russian).

  • Flown to Russia, will stay for a while and leave (originally in Russian).

  • You cannot hold a steppe horse at a stable (originally in Russian).

  • Under a lying stone, no water flows (originally in Russian).

  • People live across the river and mountains (originally in Russian).

  • To see people and show oneself (originally in Russian).

  • I will turn around and look around (originally in Russian).

Homeland is not deprived of flaws.

  • Home is home, as the Devil said when he found himself in the Court of Session.

  • A steppe is no better than a forest. There is space in steppe and land in a forest (originally in Russian).

  • Not everyone might like the country: the water is close, while the forest is afar (originally in Russian).

  • The forest is a cross for the village, while no forest makes a poor village (originally in Russian).

The meaningful core of the concept ‘Homeland’ is constituted by a unity of the above-listed key semantic components found in the paremiological funds of the Russian, English and French languages. Homeland of any ethnic group is the combination of landscapes, where it first formed into a new system. It is thus an original territory, determined by the unique co-occurrence of the environmental features. Moreover, as such, Homeland is one of the components of the system called ‘ethnos’.

The paremiological fund captures the following conceptual features that make up the conceptual or prototypical basis of this linguocultural concept:

Homeland = state.

  • Pleasant is the side where the navel was cut (originally in Russian).

  • One will come in handy in the place where they are born (originally in Russian).

  • Where a pine has grown, there lies its beauty (originally in Russian).

  • God is merciful on one’s own side (originally in Russian).

  • Even a dog knows its side (originally in Russian).

  • Every bird knows its nest.

  • L’enfant du pays a beau vivre ailleurs pendant des années, il pensera toujours à sa terre = A child will always remember its Homeland, where it lived well.

Homeland = a piece of land.

  • Even a handful of homeland is sweet. One’s own land – one’s own dust (originally in Russian).

  • In one’s native land every stone is dear (originally in Russian).

  • Un savant dans sa patrie est comme l'or dans sa mine (ученый на своей родине как золото в шахте). = A scientist in his land is like gold in a mine.

  • You buy land, you buy stones; you buy meat, you buy bones.

  • La terre est la mère et la nourrice des hommes. = Land is a mother and food for people.

Homeland = home.

  • Bad is the bird that tarnishes its own nest (originally in Russian).

  • Everyone loves their Homeland (originally in Russian).

  • Every grain has its own furrow (own hole) (originally in Russian).

  • Everything is good at home, but living elsewhere is worse (originally in Russian).

  • Every bird praises its nest (originally in Russian).

  • God, grant every dog its doghouse (originally in Russian).

  • It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

  • Every bird likes its own nest.

  • Aimer la patrie comme l'aigle son nid = To love one’s Homeland as an eagle loves its nest.

This constructive metaphor accentuates such characteristics of the structure as the material, which it is made of, the need for its repair, the mandatory presence of an owner:

  • Until you visit someone else’s roof, you will never know where yours is leaky (originally in Russian).

  • To be in a stranger’s house means to see a rotten log in yours (originally in Russian).

  • Go abroad, and you will hear news of home.

  • One’s own home is not a stranger’s one. You cannot leave it (originally in Russian).

  • Ta maison est ta maison si tu en es le maître = Your house is yours if you are its owner.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning that for the English cultural world, it is precisely the notion of ‘home’ that is closest in meaning to the Russian concept of ‘Homeland’. One against the whole is the main tendency of the English essence development: an Englishman is an individualist, an island, in which there is a very particular desire for isolation – a separate life, and his/her own house. An Englishman’s house is closed, detached, representing the micro-model of the island – England:

  • An Englishman’s house is his castle.

  • East or West – home is best.

  • He has no home whose home is everywhere.

  • The wider we roam, the welcome home.

  • Dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad.

  • There is no place like home.

In English, the conceptual feature of a borderline, fence, posing as a shelter from the outer world, comes to the fore.

  • Good fences make good neighbours.

  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

A piece of land is of equally vital significance: If you would be happy for a week take a wife; if you would be happy for a month kill a pig; but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.

The ambivalence characteristic of the image of Homeland induces its polar semantic constituents.

On the one hand, Homeland requires protection:

  • Die but never leave your Homeland (originally in Russian).

  • Mourir pour la patrie, C'est le sort le plus beau, le plus digne d'envie ! Roland à Roncevaux = Dying for one’s Homeland is a most desired mission.  

  • Think global, act locally.

  • On the other hand, it empowers the defender, posing as a source of might.

  • Every dog is a lion at home.

  • Every dog is valiant at his own door.

  • A cock is valiant on his dunghill.

Representative is the link between the analyzed mental-lingual complex and people’s memories of their clan and ancestors, adding to the dignity of the contemporary:

  • Even the bones cry for their Homeland (originally in Russian) (according to the legends, howling bones can be heard in some graves) (Burchinskiy, 2006).

  • Even wormwood does not grow without roots (originally in Russian).

  • A house is a root, and one’s Homeland is a boast (originally in Russian).

  • Happy is the country, which has no history.

The proximity of conceptual features in various linguistic cultures confirms the idea that “national features cannot be exaggerated, referred to as exceptional. National features are just some emphasis, not qualities that are absent in other cultures” (Likhachev, 2006).

The following conceptual metaphors should be recognized as universal figurative components of this concept:

Homeland = family.

  • A lonely person’s home is everywhere (originally in Russian).

  • Where a fool’s family is, is his own land (originally in Russian).

  • In every family, any person (father, uncle) is big (originally in Russian).

  • La famille est le noyau de la civilisation = A family is a civilization core.

Homeland = love, the concentration of feelings and emotions.

  • Home is where the heart is.

  • Home is home though it is never so homely – the archaic phrase ‘never so’ means ‘ever so’.

  • Be England what she will. With all her faults, she is my country still (Cohen, 2000).

  • England, we love thee better than we know (Cohen, 2000).

  • La patrie est aux lieux où l'âme est enchaînée. Le Fanatisme ou Mahomet le prophète, I, 2, Palmire = Homeland is the place where your soul is.

  • La maison est où le coeur est = home is the place where your heart is.

Homeland = traditions of an ethnos, an ethnic group.

  • You follow the traditions of the people you adhere to (originally in Russian).

  • You are where you live (originally in Russian).

  • One’s own mode of life is better (originally in Russian).

  • Even people from the town of Penza find their comrades in Moscow (originally in Russian).

  • Every land has its own law.

  • One half of the world does not know how the other half lives.

  • Every tub must stand on its own bottom.

  • You cannot shift an old tree without it dying.

  • En terre étrangère comporte-toi comme l'étranger = Act like a foreigner in a foreign land.

  • De bon terroir, bon vin = Wine is good where land is good.

Homeland = unity of a people.

  • A pine stands far but rustles towards its own forest (originally in Russian).

  • Everyone stands on their own feet (originally in Russian).

  • Charity begins at home.

  • A house divided cannot stand.

  • United we stand, divided we fall.

  • The apple never falls far from the tree.

  • Every herring must hang by its own gill.

The analysis of the image of Homeland on the basis of modern Indo-European languages enables us to drive at the conclusion that this linguocultural concept combines both universal and idio-ethnic representations, i.e., corresponds to a universal culturally significant concept but has certain national-specific content.

The Russian linguistic consciousness perceives Homeland exclusively as a feminine principle, mother, mother earth, a symbol of motherhood, love, liveliness, kindness, warmth, softness:

Homeland is Mother, and a foreign land is a stepmother (originally in Russian).

One’s own corner is one’s own space. One’s own hut is a mother (originally in Russian).

The French recognize ‘Homeland’ as a beloved and a spouse: La belle, la douce France – beautiful, sweet France, a beloved and a spouse; and the English – as a granny to its people: Old merry England.

The Russian cultural world is also specified by bringing together the basic concepts of Heaven and Homeland: the city is a kingdom, and the village is Heaven; Moscow is a kingdom, but our village is Heaven; Moscow is good but not at home; our place is a corner of Moscow.

 Homeland is traditionally associated with a yearning  which presupposes longing  for something that is lost and exists only in memories: 

There lived a fellow, who knew no happiness in his village, but upon finding himself in a foreign land, he cried (originally in Russian).

  • When I do not see my people, I miss them; but when I get to see them to their worst, better without them (originally in Russian).

  • Even a crow (dog) in Homeland is sweet (originally in Russian).

  • Afonyushka is bored in a foreign land (originally in Russian).

  • In a foreign land, even a dog grieves (originally in Russian).

Homeland in the English and French cultural scopes is frequently associated with a nationallanguage :

  • A nation without a language is a nation without a heart.

  • Oui, j'ai une patrie : la langue française. Carnets, Gallimard = Yes, I have got a Homeland, it is the French language.

  • Chaque région a son langage, chaque maison a sa chanson = Each region has its own language, and each house has its song.

An opposite axiological pole of this concept is represented by the following notions :

Well-being, satiety:

  • Live wherever you can be full (originally in Russian).

  • A falcon does not sit still in one place; it flies where it sees a bird (originally in Russian).

  • La patrie d’un cochon se trouve partout où il y a du gland = A pig’s Homeland is where acorns are.


  • L’exil avec la richesse, c’est une patrie. La pauvreté chez soi, c’est un exil = An exile with wealth is Homeland, poverty at home is an exile.

  • La richesse est une patrie pour l’exilé = Wealth is a Homeland for the exiled.

Material values:

  • Si l’on ne peut pas appeler patrie, un pays où l’on ne possède rien ; comment nommer celui où l’on est esclave ? = If you cannot call the land where you have got nothing a Homeland, how would you call a land where you are a slave?

  • Toute terre m’est bon pays, où je trouve biens et amis = Each land where I find kindness and friends is good for me.

  • When the last tree is cut down, the last fish is eaten, and the last stream is poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money (native American saying).


  • In one’s own land no one is a prophet (originally in Russian).

  • A prophet is not without honour save in his own country.

  • Les grands artistes n’ont pas de patrie. Lorenzaccio, I, 5, l’orfèvre = Famous artists have no Homeland.

  • La science n'a pas de patrie. Discours d'inauguration de l'Institut Pasteur, 14 novembre 1888 = Science has no Homeland.


  • No matter where you live, you should serve one tsar (originally in Russian).

Notwithstanding explicit conceptual, associative and semantic mapping of the paremiological funds of the English, Russian and French languages, representing the concept of ‘Homeland’ in its diversity, it is advisable to also take into consideration its up-to-date factual occurrence in the contemporary language layer.

Russian-speaking community associative experiment

An associative express-survey questionnaire among native speakers has been conducted. The goal is tracing of contemporary dynamic shifts in the conceptual paradigm of the all-embracing cross-cultural value 'Homeland' defining its peculiar representations in each national concept sphere taken separately. The respondents were asked to provide valid information on their gender, age group (14–17, 18–21, 22–30, 31–40, 41–55, 56–65, > 66 years old), occupation (student, employee, retired, unemployed, other), and specify 3–5 associations were coming to their mind upon hearing the stimulus lexical item 'Homeland' sending the data in via a specially-designed interactive questionnaire-form.

For Russian society, as the preliminary data revealed, mostly young adults and seniors eagerly participated in the online survey (Figure 01 ).

Figure 1: The distribution of the survey-participants’ age groups
The distribution of the survey-participants’ age groups
See Full Size >

Several polls have been arranged within schools and different companies assisted by volunteers among the students of The Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod to provide more data and get a wider scope of associative and semantic mapping of the virtue. By 1 March 2020, more than the total of 150 respondents participated in the part of the research devoted to the Russian language. Each participant has been asked to provide from 1 to 5 associations, resulting in a data pool comprising 746 associations (the ultimate number has been calculated, taking into account only repetitive associations).

The frequency of individual responses has then been checked statistically (computer counting of singular repetitive words and phrases) in the whole data pool, revealing the following priority associations:

  • Russia – 81 answers,

  • Mother – 52 answers,

  • Home – 35 answers.

While ‘Russia’ is prevailing in both the online and field polls, the other two show mirror tendencies: ‘Mother’ has been mentioned by 11 people in the online survey and 41 people in the field polls (mostly by school children, which can probably be explained by their knowledge of the phrase ‘Mother-Homeland’. ‘Home’ has come up only 12 times among the field survey results, but 23 times online (the answers are mostly given by adults in the group of 31–55 year-old men and women representing family people).

These findings have allowed driving at the conclusion that the most obvious difference in the character of associations among Russian citizens can be observed among age groups, while gender and professional characteristics do not seem to have a significant influence on the overall perception of the value.

With this conclusion in mind, the next stage of the research has been planned. It consisted of systematizing individual responses into semantic groups with the intention to verify these groups through another field survey later.

The process of the semantic grouping of the collected associations has been arranged based on the method of semantemes interpretation as described by Sternin in the book “Methods of Word Semantics Description”. 25 first-year students studying for their Master’s Degree at The Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod have been invited to participate in the research: each has individually suggested their own variant of group distribution of the collected associative rows. Among the most common segments, the following have been mentioned (listed alphabetically): Achievements, Animals, Attitude, City, Comfort, Country, Emotions, Environment, Family, Feelings, Geography, History, Home / House, Image, Kin, Linguistic associations, Location / Sights, Nature, Nostalgia, Patriotism, People, Place of Living, Relatives, Symbol, Territory, USSR, War, Weather.

As it is probably obvious from the list above the basic principles of division into groups, have turned out more or less similar, though the suggested names entitling the semantic groups are quite different. The groups “Feelings” / “Emotions” / “Attitude” comprise mostly the same associations, which is also the case with “Geography” and “Territory”. The group “Linguistic associations” has been offered by one person for such responses as ‘an ugly creature’ (urodina), ‘birthmark’ (rodinka), ‘currants’ (smorodinka), based on the idea that responses of such kind can be given as associations with the root of the keyword “Rodina” (“Homeland”) – all of them having the key element “ROD” (“kin”) typical of the Russian language.

The final choice in the names of groups and the associations included into them has been gained via a verification field survey has been organized with the help of the Master’s Programmes first-year students. Control groups (10 to 30 people) of different ages, genders and professional occupation have been asked to evaluate the suggested semantic groups with lists of associations, and exclude those considered illogical or inappropriate. The results of each survey have been collected and presented for discussion in the form of tables of graphs (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

The pool of results has brought the researchers to the following conclusion:

  • Individual associations that have been excluded by more than ten people – with the same or similar argument given that they are not related to "Homeland" – are the following: ugly person/creature – excluded as a unique random association, traitor – excluded as a unique random association, immensity – excluded as an excessively abstract association, instability – excluded as a too abstract association.

  • The overall groups as confirmed by 90 % of all people in the control groups (the overall number of participant – 468 people) are (with the confirmed Russian associations given in the order of the frequency of confirmation):

" NATURE ": birch, currants, field, sky, river, mountains, sea, space, freedom, rye, wheat, ear, poplar, herbs, tree, spring, valley, soil, broom, flower-bed, flowers, fir-tree. Identified them separately although related to this semantic group, are such groups as " ENVIRONMENT " (including such responses as slush, bad roads, fresh air) and " GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES " (Lake Baikal, Bor, Sakhalin). However, not everybody has confirmed them. Many respondents included the associations into the more generic group " NATURE ".

" FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS " (it has been decided to keep the two suggestions combined as the group name due to overlapping responses): pride, nostalgia, dignity, love, happiness, faith, calm, duty, respect, freedom, loyalty, affection, despair, sadness, indifference, disappointment. It should be mentioned that although 'nostalgia' is included into the list of associations here, a very specific group of respondents (Russian citizens living abroad) has singled it out as a separate semantic multitude (including into the corresponding list of associations a mixture of names of famous people, natural objects and feelings). The group can probably be subdivided into positive and negative feelings/emotions, but that would require additional surveys.

SYMBOL ”. The group has been confirmed by 100 % of respondents, although the lists of associations have revealed certain differences in perception, primarily connected with certain age groups. The associations confirmed by everybody are the state symbols: coat of arms, flag, anthem. School children have included mostly material objects into their list of associations: matryoshka, (khokhloma), bear, deer, passport. The adult group (22–55) has added immaterial things, which stir certain feelings and make people think about their Homeland: song, rank / title, warmth, soul; as well as abstract notions: orb, fatherland, native land, peace, nationality. Some names of cities have been added into this group (though not unanimously): Moscow, Saint Petersburg (SPb). This mainly concerns respondents, who have disagreed with the inclusion of these associations into the segment “NATURE”.

HOME / HOUSE ” has turned out to be the most controversial, yet commonly confirmed (75 % of respondents) group. The main difficulty is the choice of English equivalents. Russian “HOME” comprises both “material” (HOUSE = building) and “mental” (HOME = comfort) aspects, which brings about the controversy. Some respondents have included all corresponding concepts into this group: family, fatherland, city / town, coziness / comfort, while others have tried to separate the associations. When the average has been counted, it has turned out inconclusive, but the group is still listed here due to the popularity of the individual response “HOME”. The most commonly confirmed associations in this group are: Russia, parents / nearest and dearest / relatives, comfort, family, familiar places, land, state, estate. Due to the controversy in associations, “FAMILY” is included into this group (based on the majority of opinions within the verification groups), which results in the conclusion that for Russians “House/Home” equals “Family” (at least with reference to ‘Homeland’).

  • This conclusion is preliminary, but it appears that based on the respondents’ age, their perception of ‘Homeland’ is mostly material (everyday symbolic objects) for school children, gradually becoming more abstract in adult groups (emotional attitude or perception of “HOME” in the meaning of “comfort” / “family”) and shifting back to material objects in the senior group (after 40), with a certain emphasis on nature and environment (showing a possibility of nostalgia).

English-speaking community associative experiment

The same survey research has been carried out within the framework of the English-speaking society. Among 70 respondents (50 % male and 50 % female) there are 83,3 % (58 people) native speakers of British English (Figure 02 ), whereas the rest 16,7 % (12 people) adhere to the group representing other variants of the English language (Canadian, American, Australian and others).

Figure 2: The distribution of the survey-participants’ gender groups
The distribution of the survey-participants’ gender groups
See Full Size >

The prevailing age group of the target audience comprises adults from 41 to 55 years old (50 %), adults from 22 to 30 years old years equal the index of 33,3 %, and the minority group of 16,7 % brings together people from 31 to 40 years old (Figure 03 ).

Figure 3: The distribution of the survey-participants’ age groups
The distribution of the survey-participants’ age groups
See Full Size >

As for their social standpoint, 83,3 % (58 people) are employed, have a stable occupation and keep their feet firmly on the ground, while 16,7 % are students at a starting point of their career ladder (Figure 04 ).

Figure 4: The distribution of the survey-participants’ social standpoint categories
The distribution of the survey-participants’ social standpoint categories
See Full Size >

Notwithstanding the clear-cut age and social gap existing among the respondents, peculiar is the striking mingling of the provided associative pool testifying to perceptive commonality attached to certain elements of the ethnic-specific conceptual realm within the society under analysis.

Among universally recognized semantic layers rooted in the value ‘Homeland’ there are:

  • MONARCHY: royal, royalty, queen, crown

  • PATRIOTISM: pride, nationalism, patriot

  • HOME: hearth, shelter, family, home, farms, town, London

  • TRADITION: heritage, origin, iconic sights

  • NATURE: countryside, empty land, sunshine, cold

  • ATTITUDES: cold, hostile, heart, safety/safe, love, smile, pride

  • SIZE: big

The extrapolated list of associative entities at use within the contemporary language stock corresponds to crucial constituents of English national character differentiated on the basis of the English language paremiological fund, where traditionalism, patriotism, and monarchy can be traced to the global field “Gentleman”, while the concept “Home” representing public isolation and advocating personal space, correlates with the notion of English reserve.

Noteworthy is absence / quantitative insignificance of paremiological embodiment of the notions ‘NATURE’, ‘ATTITUDES’ and ‘SIZE’. This tendency must be caused by English striving for emotional and verbal restraint, limitation of explicit personal feedback on phenomena. The three given concepts, on the other hand, are aimed at direct evaluation of emotional and physical data.


The analysis of the linguistic material based on historical, natural and ethnographic data confirms the basic status of the ‘Homeland’ constant, which is included into the national linguistic and cultural scope of every ethnic society under consideration. Language as a means of comprehending concentrated collective experience makes it possible to identify both archetypal representations characteristic of most linguistic communities and significant cultural dominants of a separate concept sphere.

A comparative analysis of the linguistic-cultural concept ‘Homeland’ on the basis of the paremiological foundation and the contemporary layer of the Russian, English, and French languages, has revealed that in the Russian-speaking cultural world, due to the patriarchal way of life and village community, man is perceived as a part of society, they are not responsible for their actions, the collective decides for them. The cognitive-systemic component of the concept ‘Homeland’, which determines its place in the conceptual sphere of the Russian language, indicates a connection with the concepts of ‘collegiality’, ‘mother earth’, ‘bread’, and religious concepts (‘paradise’, ‘God’s gift’). In the Russian national tradition, the basic meaning of the place of birth / place of development is clearly fixed. Its indirect evidence is concentrated in toponyms (Russia, Horde, Moscow, Kurmysh, Paris, Don), anthroponyms (Yerema, Uncle Egor, Afonyushka), numerous nominations of various natural components: vegetation (woodless, forest, steppe, forest, pine, wormwood, mushrooms, straw, hay), wildlife (falcon, crow, goose, swan, sandpiper, crane). Attention is also drawn to the connection with the traditional concepts of the Russian world: longing, fate.

The French concept ‘Homeland’ reflects feelings of a person’s independence, self-esteem, and inner dignity. The cult of sociality, sociability, superficiality, courtesy, lightness, is closest to the national mentality and the French cultural tradition (“Un homme sans patrie, c’est un rossignol sans chanson.” – A man without a Homeland is like a nightingale without a song; De bon terroir, bon vin. – Where is a good land, there is good wine). The priority of freedom, material values, wealth, fame, positive emotions, feelings of affection is revealed. The inner life of French society is seen in the model of social rondo, where all individual particles rotate in close contact polishing the sharp edges of each other while communicating, thus forming the ethnic core. A Frenchman is not an atomic person, an individualist, self-dependent vertically, but above all a social person, not vertical, but inclined to or fro. The man is explained as a function of circumstances, a product of environmental conditions and upbringing.

The English-language concept ‘Homeland’ reflects the uniqueness and individualism of the English nation, estrangement from the rest of the world, isolation, self-sufficiency, restraint in the manifestation of emotions and feelings. The English paremiological fund captures adherence to empiricism, craving for knowledge (Learning is better than house and land), an awareness of the need to protect nature (You can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back. When the last tree is cut down, the last fish is eaten, and the last stream is poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money) and to act based on one’s own national interests (Think global, act locally).


  1. Burchinskiy, V. N. (2006). English and French. Perception of the World, Behaviour. Language. Chrestomathy for students majoring in Linguistics and Cross-cultural communication. Nizhniy NGLU im. N. A. Dobrolyubova.
  2. Cohen, M. J. (2000). The Penguin Thesaurus of Quotations. Penguin Books.
  3. Likhachev, D. S. (2006). Selection: Thoughts on Life, History and Culture. Russ. Cultural Fund.
  4. Radbil', T. B. (2013). The Basics for Studying Language Mentality. Textbook, 3rd ed. Flinta: Sci.
  5. Speake, J. (2008). The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. Oxford University Press.
  6. Vasilyeva, L. (2006). Brevity is the Soul of Wit. English Proverbs, Sayings, and Set-Expressions. ZAO Tsentrpoligraf.

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

27 February 2021

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

Cite this article as:

Kabanova, I. N., Gorokhova, A. M., Nozhevnikova, E. G., & Vaseneva, E. V. (2021). Homeland: Cross-Cultural Value Study Based On Modern Indo-European Languages. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 410-425). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.02.02.53