Russian Culture Codes (On The Example Of The Russian Language Zoonyms)

Abstract

The paper shows the development trends of the content of the zoomorphic code in the modern Russian-speaking speech use (by the example of the zoonyms of the Russian language). The study used the method of continuous sampling, introspection, the method of analysis of dictionary definitions, methods of component analysis, contextual and interpretive analysis. Results. It is shown that the zoonymic vocabulary of the Russian language can perform characterizing, invective and interjection functions in speech. The zoonym in the characterizing function most often gives a negative assessment to a person, but does not induce him to action, does not affect him. The invective function (the function of insult) is presented as a way to induce action, since the insult aims to get a reaction from the addressee of the insult and confirm or increase the status of the insulting one. The main feature of the interjection function of a zoonym is the implementation of the pragmatic semantics of this group of words. The study revealed the dynamics of Russian cultural codes towards positivization, anthropologization and simplification of stylistic diversity as the tendencies in their development. The study of the functioning of zoonyms in such types of contexts as stating, neutralizing and stimulating, revealed a tendency to neutralize animalistic features and strengthen anthropological ones. The results of the study can be applied in the field of linguistic expertise, lexicographic practice, as well as in the field of teaching Russian as a foreign language.

Keywords: Zoonymsfunctionsculture codecultural meanings

Introduction

The relevance of the work is due to the enduring desire of scientists to explore the linguistic picture of the world of a particular language as part of its culture, closely related to the traditions of the people and the linguistic competence of a native speaker. The choice of zoonyms in this sense is not accidental, since languages traditionally use the semantic sphere of “animals” as the basis for metaphorical understanding of the world around us, primarily of humans (Nikolaeva & Isaev, 2018). Zoonyms reflect cultural meanings, understood as ideational constructs associated with cultural objects (denotations) as signs, that is, being their informational, emotional, expressive content (meaning). Culture codes are embodied in signs (verbalized and non-verbalized), which makes it possible to distinguish zoonymic, somatic, spiritual, religious, magical, anthropological, color, bestiary, natural landscape, sound, floristic, temporary, food and other codes. The study of culture codes makes it possible to identify and systematize ethnocultural stereotypes and to discover the specificity of the cognitive activity of linguistic culture carriers (Avanesova & Kuptsova, 2015; Daulet et al., 2018; Frolova, 2019; Husnutdinov et al., 2019).

Problem Statement

Within the framework of this study, culture codes are understood as an expression of cultural meanings.

The object of the research is zoonyms of the modern Russian language. The subject of research is cultural meanings formed in the text space of Russian linguoculture.

The study of the zoomorphic code of culture was carried out in science by identifying the features of the semantics of zoonyms (including phraseological components-zoomorphisms) and the specifics of its formation. It was noted that the meanings presented in the dictionaries of the Russian language do not always represent a complete picture of the lexical and semantic variants that are revealed in speech use. Researchers pay special attention to describing the origins of the figurative meaning of zoonyms, the role of mythological, folklore and literary traditions in the process of reflecting a picture of the world of a particular language by zoonyms (Kudryavtseva, 2015; Maslov, 2014).

Nevertheless, the extensive list of studies still does not include works where the cultural meanings formed by zoonyms are analyzed from the standpoint of their dynamics, trends in their development. This approach involves identifying the features of the functioning of zoonyms in texts. This is the novelty of this work;

Research Questions

The work raises the following research questions:

3.1. How is the zoomorphic code of culture represented in modern Russian-language speech use?

3.2. What are the directions of the dynamics of cultural meanings transmitted by the zoomorphic code of Russian culture?

3.3. How does the functioning of zoonyms in modern Russian demonstrate the reinforcing stylistic monotony of Russian speech?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the work is to show the development trends of the content of zoomorphic code in the modern Russian-language speech use (by the example of the zoonyms of the Russian language). In this work, modern speech use is understood as the use of the lexeme in the texts of fiction and journalistic literature of the XX XXI centuries. The study of such use makes it possible to determine the change in semantic content depending on a specific speech situation. The latter in this work is called the dynamics of cultural meanings.

Research Methods

The research methods were the method of continuous sampling, introspection, the method of analyzing dictionary definitions, methods of component analysis, contextual and interpretive analysis. The study of the dynamics of cultural meanings is carried out in the direction of “language → speech”, “norm → usus”. Therefore, the work presents the formulations of “information quanta”, called meanings and fixed in dictionaries, and then examines the implementation of these meanings in speech use, denoting the function and functioning of zoonyms in texts.

The material of the research was presented by examples of verbal use of zoonyms from the National Corpus of the Russian Language (National Corpus of the Russian Language, n.d.). The use of this source is fundamental for this work, since the materials of the National Corpus of the Russian language correspond to the principles of a descriptive description of the language, taking into account the linguistic intuition of native speakers. 130,000 words were analyzed, among which about 490 zoonyms were found.

Findings

Functions of zoonyms in the text

The characterizing function of zoonyms

Cultural meanings are revealed in this work in speech use, the analysis of which leads to the allocation of the following functions of zoonyms in the text: characterizing, invective and interjection.

When performing a characterizing function, a zoonym defines a person in terms of his behavior, actions and character traits ( rat, goat, rooster, camel, echidna, sheep, dog ); as well as appearance ( monkey, cow, pig, hippo, doe ). The zoonym in the characterizing function most often gives a negative assessment to a person, but does not induce him to action, does not affect him.

However, our examples show the process of positivization of the figurative meaning of a zoonym in Russian-speaking speech practice. In this sense, we do not agree with the statement that “... the process of acquiring a figurative meaning by zoonyms sooner or later ends with the design of this meaning as negative-evaluative” (Maslov, 2014, p. 36).

See: My sister now even had a teacher, like a speech therapist, - it didn't help. And Kamiy got rid of folksy way of speaking herself (“a good parrot”). And she entered the Sorbonne, and even the university, the Academy. She studied very well (K. Metelitsa. Fruska). The zoonym “ parrot ” in this text has a figurative dictionary meaning with negative connotations ( disapproving one who does not have his own opinion and repeats other people's thoughts, words (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 923); who repeats other people's words, without having his own opinion, about a person inclined to constantly imitate smb . (Khimik, 2004, p. 473). In the example above, however, the negative connotation is not represented; moreover, the positive connotation (good parrot) is actualized. At the same time, understanding the context will not cause difficulties for a native speaker of Russian language and culture. In the Russian-speaking consciousness, the sign of "imitation" is fixed, which is the leading one in the formation of the semantic grid of this text. Thus, the change of the semantic vector from negative to positive is noted, the so-called positivization of the meaning of the lexeme parrot.

Invective function of zoonyms

The use of the zoonym in the invective function aims to get the addressee to react to the insult and to confirm or increase the status of the offending one (Majuga, 2019). Inverse constructs and comparative constructs have invective potential. So, the use of the zoonym “ ram ” in the function of address ( How long have you been driving, ram! ) contains not only the characteristics of the driver, but also the effect on his actions, prompting the driver to understand his behavior, retrain, improve, etc. And comparative constructions with zoonym “ parrot ”, presented in explanatory dictionaries ( dress like a parrot; repeat smth. like a parrot (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 923), reflect the original pejorative cultural meanings of this image - to be dressed brightly, variegated; mindlessly, monotonously say the same thing, repeat other people's words, thoughts (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 923).

The difference between the characterizing and invective zoonymic lexeme is especially indicative, when this lexeme already contains the component “motivation” in its semantics. Compare: (1) But after some time the indignant donors decorated the door of Maria Baronova with the following inscription: “Bitch, return the money, scumbag” (G. Pyatov. Anniversary of Krymsk: “dump” or “throw in”?); (2) The most harmless of them (notes - O.I., E.B.): “Lida - you are a bitch, you are to blame for the death of our children” (I. Naydenov. Beslan syndrome). The figurative meaning of the zoonym “ bitch ” (about a person who causes anger, irritation (usually to a woman) by behavior (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1288) implies an impact, but such an intention of the author of the text is not always revealed in real speech use. The word “bitch” in the expression “ bitch, return the money ” implies an impact, reinforced by the imperative mood of the verb “return”. In the phrase “ Lida - you are a bitch, you are to blame for the death of our children ” there is only a function of characterization, and not an incentive to action or influence.

As the analysis of the material has shown, zoonyms are rarely used as an invective and their use is limited to the framework of oral speech. This is confirmed by the fact that in the above fragments the authors use zoonymic vocabulary exclusively when quoting colloquial speech.

Interjection function of zoonyms

As you know, the function of expressing emotions is characteristic of such a group of words as interjections. Interjections are distinguished serving the spheres of emotions and emotional assessments, expression of will and etiquette by their semantic functions. Most of the interjections with specialized semantic functions express negative emotions: contempt, neglect, and others (Shvedova, 1980).

The expression of negative emotions in zoonyms is due to the presence of pejorative connotations in their meaning. Thus, the pejorative connotation of the lexeme “ dog ” is represented in the dictionaries of the modern Russian language as follows: “ about an evil, cruel, rude person ” (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1224; Ozhegov & Shvedova, 1999, p. 739). In this sense, the zoonym “ dog ” is used in modern speech in characterizing and invective functions. The explanatory dictionaries of the modern Russian language also indicate the interjection use of the zoonym “ dog ” – “ used as an expression of approval, admiration for someone ”. ( He is a sharp lad. And, there is nothing to say, smart, smart, dog! Polonsky, Fresh legend; - Ah, the dog, what he is doing! - the audience approved of the dance . Wanderer, Ogarki) (Evgenieva, 1984, p. 169).

Analysis of the use of the zoonym “ dog ” in modern speech practice shows the conditions for the implementation of its interjection function. Compare: (1) I really wanted to move the guy. And he, such a dog, does not give up! - Korotyshkin laughs (Soviet sport, 2010.08.16); (2) There is a feeling that it’s as if you don’t remember the songs, or you didn’t write them at all. Feel surprised and think: “Oh, the pest, how popped the clogs, the dog! ”(RBC Daily, 2008.02.29). In these examples, the zoonym “ dog ” is used as an expression of the negative emotion of contempt. It is noteworthy that the context in this case contains indicators of emotiveness: in example (1) this is the pronoun “such”, expressing “ a strong degree of property, state or strengthening of the assessment ” (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1303), and in the example (2) comparison with the reference “ pest ”, which also reinforces the negative assessment of the object.

In addition, an important condition for the manifestation of the “interjection” of a zoonym is desemantization of the main one ( a pet of the canine family, akin to a wolf (used by humans for protection, hunting, riding in a team, etc .) (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1224) and figurative ( about a knowledgeable, dexterous, skillful person in any business; expert (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1224).

It should be noted that such desemantization occurs when the zoonym is used not only in interjection, but also in characterizing and invective functions. Compare: (1) “This is a farewell kiss. You are a dog!”, - said the journalist then and was detaine d (National Corpus of the Russian Language, n.d.); (2) As a result, he gives the enemy material on himself: “ Dog, found a friend you thought! I run to the Don, just not to your dog Sievers, but to General Krasnov ... ”( National corpus of the Russian language, n.d.). In examples (1) and (2), “ dog ” is used in the same sense – “ about an evil, cruel, rude person ” (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 1224). But in example (1), the characterizing function of the zoonym is realized, since the speaker gives a negative characteristic to the object in order to increase his status. And in example (2) the invective function of the zoonym is realized, which is facilitated by the position of the word “ do g” as an address.

The main feature of the zoonym's interjection function is, from our point of view, the implementation of the pragmatic semantics of this group of words. According to scientists, interjections are not just standard "emotive" units expressing inner experiences, but also a subclass of interjectives, distinguished on the basis of the criterion of the speaker's attitude to various objects (Shkapenko, 2017). With regard to the analyzed linguistic material, this means that examples with a zoonym word in the interjection function express not only the negative emotion of contempt (1), but also the pragmatics of the attitude to the object of perception (2).

Compare: (1) The Central Committee began to decide what to do with a hole of 100 million? The dollar, the dog, did not fall (National Corpus of the Russian Language, n.d.); (2) Three years ago, when Galkin issued the phrase: “Who is this howling? So this is the Baskov, dog!”, the singer's fans were terribly outraged (National Corpus of the Russian Language, n.d.). In both examples, the nomination object is represented by the zoonym “dog”: in example (1) it is a dollar, in example (2) it is Nikolai Baskov, a famous Russian singer. But if in example (1) the word “dog” is used as a clarification, which actualizes the emotiveness of the lexeme, then in example (2) - as a definition (application), emphasizing the attitude towards the famous singer.

Thus, the definition of the function of a zoonym in the text reveals one of the aspects of the dynamics of cultural meanings: the original purpose of a zoonym to give a negative characteristic to an object in modern speech use, when performing a characterizing function, can change its vector to the opposite. The contextual environment contributes to the formation of this connotation. Therefore, it is important to determine the types of contexts in which zoonyms occur.

The functioning of the zoonym in the text: types of contexts

The study of the functioning of zoonyms in the text revealed several types of contexts that actualize different cultural meanings: ascertaining, neutralizing, stimulating.

The establishing context actualizes the features of the object named by the given zoonym.

See: (1) - Not geese, but parrots. - You, my friend, note, maybe he is an overseas parrot ... - Why parrots? Very modestly and comfortably dressed (V. Aksenov. Star ticket); (2) - Don't you have your own brains? Are you a parrot - repeat after others? - she shouted (M. Traub. House in the South). In example (1) the original cultural meaning of the zoonym “parrot” is actualized - “variegated coloring of parrots”, which in relation to a person is assessed as a lack of taste in clothes, and in example (2) the emphasis is on the feature “thoughtless repetition after someone” as a characteristic of a parrot from a human point of view. The signs of a bird (animal, insect, fish) in such contexts are anthropocentric, that is, they highlight in a representative of the animal world what is important to a person, what he sees as the main thing in the behavior and appearance of the animal.

The neutralizing context is characterized by the fact that the focus is on the definition of the word, and not on the attributes of the object named by the given lexeme. In fact, it is irrelevant which zoonym to use in this context. Such contexts are commonly referred to by researchers as modifying. At the same time, the parrot is characterized as boiled (1), cute (2), talented (3), wooden (4), which is completely uncharacteristic for this order of birds. See: (1) He covered the microphone for a moment with his hand and quickly whispered: - Well, you are like this ... parrot boiled. Turn on, improvise ! (N. Penkov. It was time); (2)… this painted TV operator, a cute parrot, probably just a few years ago, reported about the next Star pinned to the surviving struggler for peace (A. Kabakov. Writer); (3) After all, four months! Today I have convinced that our daughter is a very talented parrot. Several times the last few days, playing with the Masha, I bowed down, made a fearful face and roared: “Hrrrr”. Today in the morning I walk closer, I bend over and hear: “Hr-r-rr” : (A. I. Panteleev. Our Masha); - “Watercress”? - repeats sadly, like a wooden parrot. - Yes, “Watercress”! - shouting, already seized by creativity, the inspiration that provincial readers say so much about (A.I. Kuprin. Grass).

In stimulating contexts, correlating the features of an object designated by a zoonym with the object itself requires cognitive effort: a native speaker of a language and culture understands the subtext if he understands the full picture, is familiar with the concepts of a given culture, and has background knowledge of the native speaker of this language. Compare in K. I. Chukovsky: “In our language this word (parrot. - O.I., E.B.) is contemptuous: “you talk like a parrot”, “you parrot”, and in Uzbek poetry it is a canonical love appeal to a girl. There is always: “you are my adored parrot”, “I am ready to die for one of your glances, oh cruel to me parrot”, so in this case the literal translation will not be accurate because the word that in the atmosphere of one language evokes affection and tenderness, in the atmosphere of another - contemptuous snorting, mockery” (K. I. Chukovsky. High art).

See: (1) A Jew is as well visible in the city of Kozelsk as an Amazon parrot at the North Pole (D. Markish. Become Lyutov. Free fantasies from the life of the writer Isaac Babel); (2) And he tells you: Lancelot. Well, it is known what kind of bird the parrot is (E. L. Schwartz. Dragon). Example (1) emphasizes the impossibility of geographic combination of two realities: birds from South America and the North “crown” of the earth. These are incompatible things for the Russian consciousness – “South-North”. The subtext of the passage reveals a multi-layered idea of the author - an indication of both the geographic opposition and the symbolic significance of the North Pole for the Russian people. Compare: The main connecting medium of Russia with the West is, of course, the intelligentsia, although not alone. For Russia, the East-West problem plays less of a role than South-North links. Nobody seems to have paid much attention to this, but it is exactly so (D. Likhachev. About the Russian intelligentsia). In example (2), the image of a bird stupidly repeating words is presented, from which the hero Jailer concludes that the parrot, unlike other birds, agrees that he saw Lancelot. E. Schwartz's play "Dragon" (1943) is a satire on a totalitarian regime, so the image of a parrot is not just a satire on a person without his own opinion, but the image of a political parrot repeating the same worn-out phrases. Compare: I remember that he likes to make fiery speeches and usually talks about aspirations ... If anyone is able to say "aspirations", it is clear that this is a political parrot or a person with naturally worn brains (M. A. Aldanov. Origins. Parts 9-17)

Comparative, dividing and opposed syntactic constructions are of particular interest for studying the dynamics of cultural meanings. The grammatical meaning of juxtaposition underlying these constructions allows us to more clearly identify the cultural meanings of interest to us. Studies in the field of changes in grammar related to cultural dynamics have shown that, for example, in classical fiction, the comparative character is less pronounced, the reader himself is invited to think out and complete the image, in contrast to modern fiction, where comparativeness is expressed directly, clearly visible and not requires explicit effort from the reader. The material under study showed that a parrot is compared in modern speech use with a canary and a monkey (1) ( according to the “tendency to imitate” ), a young month (2) ( according to the “manner of sitting” ), mailbox (3) ( according to “color and the habit of sticking out the chest” ), echo (4) ( on the basis of “unpleasant sound emitted by a bird” ) and the prophet (5) ( on the basis of “repeat, do the same thing, learned once and for all ”). See: (1) They do not seem to exist, speaking canaries. A canary is not a parrot. Ruslan listens, nods, but keeps an eye on his grandmother, as if in hockey - who will win? So she caught up with them (L. G. Matveeva. Prollenka); Stop monkeying! This is not a child, but some kind of parrot! She takes over everything! And she made Manya take off her scarf (I. Pivovarova. Once Katya with Manechka); He will say, I imitate. he will say, I'm some kind of monkey or a parrot there. No matter. He will learn who is sitting next to him! (V. V. Golyavkin. Drawings on the asphalt) ; (2) - In the place where the plate sat down, there was even, untouched snow. They ran out onto the porch - a young moon, like a parrot, was sitting on a branch (S. Kozlov. A New Year’s Tale) ; (3) Near the bakery, a parrot-yellow post office box protruded importantly (G.G. Belykh. House of the merry beggars) ; (4) - Larisa! From somewhere below, perhaps from the same gorge into which Mikhail had pushed her, a hard, unpleasant, parrot-like echo answered me (O.D. Forsh. Dressed in stone); (5) No “reflection of life”, no convoy where the blind singers wander, no “moment”. It is clairvoyant, rebellious, always about the future, often leading life, but, of course, constantly looking ahead, and not to strangers, a prophet, not a parrot (M. A. Kuzmin. Walkers of history).

It should be noted that less traditional comparisons of a parrot bird with a letterbox, an echo, and a prophet are noted in the fiction of the 30s. of the XX century. In modern fiction, stable comparisons predominate, recorded in the explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language ( dress like a parrot; repeat something like a parrot (Kuznetsov, 2000, p. 923) or their variants ( chatter like a parrot; dress up like a parrot ). The reason for the “simplification” of the imaginative potential, in our opinion, is the desire of the speaker to adapt to the addressee of the message, to his cultural level, the volume of his background knowledge.

Conclusion

The dynamics of cultural meanings as “information quanta” associated with cultural objects is found in speech use and should be conducted in the direction “language → speech”, “norm → usus”. The present study has shown that the approach “from language to speech” and “from norm to usus” reveals a change in the semantic spectrum of zoonyms. Their verbal use was revealed in the texts of fiction and journalistic works, since these texts are representative and presented in the National Corpus of the Russian Language (National Corpus of the Russian Language, n.d.), the use of which corresponds to the principles of a descriptive description of the language, taking into account the linguistic intuition of native speakers.

The isolation of animalistic and anthropological features of an object called a zoonym in modern speech use revealed the fact that the dynamics of cultural meanings is presented not only in a significant expansion and detailing of the features that are recorded in the dictionaries of the Russian language, but also in the selection of those features of the appearance and behavior of the animal (birds, insects, fish), which are fundamental for describing a person. Moreover, examples of the use of zoonyms in speech show the process of positivization of the figurative meaning of a word in Russian-language speech practice: the original purpose of a lexeme to give a negative characteristic to an object (invective) in modern speech use sometimes changes its vector to the opposite (non-invective).

The functions of zoonyms in modern Russian speech use are represented by three groups: characterizing, invective and interjection functions. When performing a characterizing function, a zoonym characterizes a person in terms of his behavior, actions and character traits, as well as his appearance. The zoonym in the characterizing function most often gives a negative assessment to a person, but does not induce him to action, does not influence him. The injective function of a zoonym is defined as a function of motivation to action and aims to achieve a reaction from the addressee of the insult and confirm or increase the status of the offending one. The interjection function is due to the presence of pejorative connotation in the meaning of zoonyms. Zoonyms in the interjection function express not only the negative emotion of contempt, but also the pragmatics of the attitude towards the object of perception.

The study of the functioning of zoonyms in such types of contexts as stating, neutralizing, and stimulating, revealed a tendency to neutralize animalistic features and strengthen anthropological ones. The signs of an animal (bird, insect, fish) in the stating contexts are anthropocentric, that is, they highlight what is important to a person, what he sees as basic in the behavior and appearance of the animal in a representative of the animal world. In neutralizing contexts, the zoonym is used in combination with adjectives that indicate anthropologization and generalization of cultural meanings. In stimulating contexts, the aspect of the idiomaticity of the zoomorphic metaphor is strengthened, that is, their “comprehensibility” for carriers of other cultures. The use of zoonyms in certain syntactic constructions (comparative, dividing and opposed) revealed the tendency of traditional and non-traditional comparison of an object not only with a person, but also with other realities of the cultural life of an ethnic group. Less traditional comparisons are noted in the fiction of the early twentieth century, while in modern fiction, stable comparisons, recorded in the explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language, prevail.

Thus, the study revealed its dynamics towards positivization, anthropologization and simplification of stylistic diversity as tendencies in the development of Russian cultural meanings of the zoomorphic code.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

27.05.2021

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.83

Online ISSN

2357-1330