Evolution Of The Russian Language Picture Of The World


The article deals with the dynamism of linguistic representation of Russian reality, which makes it possible to see fragments of the conceptual picture of the world that are relevant to a certain ethnos. The purpose is to consider the evolution of the Russian language picture of the world which represents, in its turn, changes in the conceptualization of objective reality on the example of lexical innovations demanded by the modern language taste and, therefore, especially frequency ones. The authors note that this tendency not only transforms the vocabulary system of the language but also determines the ways of conceptualization of reality uncharacteristic for the Russian mentality, leading to a clash of value systems embedded in different languages. They established that the methods of reception of the Western mental constructions by the Russian language consciousness represent a real possibility of the concept to assimilate in the Russian language picture of the world, to adapt to the peculiarities of the national mentality. The study proves that, as a rule, concepts are borrowed in the original form, and this entails the reconstruction of the corresponding fragment of the language picture of the world and the clash of value systems of different languages. Of course, the Russian conceptosphere will remain committed to national traditions at the current rate of change, although quite active changes. Nevertheless, the evolution of communicative consciousness causes a pronounced change in the conceptual model of Russian reality and causes a change in the value paradigms of modern Russian society.

Keywords: Concept, mentality, system, value, picture of the world


Social change is related to the historical dynamics of language; Multidirectional vectors of intensive shifts in the Russian language system characterize the modern stage of Russian history. This is evident in the nature of lexical stability, its level, which many researchers believe to be quite unstable. The consequence of the above is a transformation in language taste and speech behavior of native speakers; The vectors of current lexical processes are multidirectional, and therefore they cause different vocabulary shifts. However, the priority in modern linguistics of the anthropological paradigm of scientific research has led to interest in lexical changes that represent shifts in the Russian language picture of the world and, as a result, changes in certain fragments of linguistic conceptualization of reality. Such shifts result from corresponding cognitive mechanisms demonstrating changes in the perception of the world; the system of ideas about the world, included in the semantic structure of linguistic units. Such conceptual changes, of course, relate to the influence of extra-linguistic factors, but psychological factors also play an explicit role, acting as a consequence of external catalysts of language dynamics. For this reason, in socially active periods the cognitive potentials of the language are especially vividly expressed and demonstrate, among other things, the evolution of the Russian language picture of the world.

Problem Statement

At the present stage of historical development, language science reveals an obvious interest in the language picture of the world, which originates in the works of V. Humboldt. Due to the thesaurus study of vocabulary, in the Russian linguistics Karaulov began to develop questions related to the study of the linguistic picture of the world. We can say that the language picture of the world is now a traditional object of Russian science, which is reflected in the works of many scientists, including the works of Gorbov (2016), Maslova (2004) and many others. Subsequently, the research on the Russian language picture of the world qualified this vector as obvious, which resulted in the linguistic development of this issue based on the postulates stated in the mentioned collective monograph (Maslova, 2004; Shmelev, 2009; Zaliznyak et al., 2005). Thus, Maslova (2004) indicated that the conceptual picture of the world is much richer than the linguistic picture of the world"; the linguistic picture of the world is a mental-linguistic education, its elements are concepts, i.e., the signified informemes. Later works proposed different typologies of language pictures of the world: by its subject and object, as well as by methods of language representation (exponents). Attention to the study of the linguistic picture of the world has increased significantly while noting the heterogeneity of its forms of manifestation and indicating that all levels of the linguistic system of one or another ethnos represent the linguistic model of the world. At present we can state two established vectors in the studies of the language picture of the world. Firstly, the object of research is the reconstruction of the system of representations reflected in the language, that bases on the procedure of semantic lexical analysis. The opposition approach is research and development aimed at exploring individual concepts specific to a given language that provide the key to understanding a particular culture, thus creating translation risks for the verbal equivalents that they represent. Simultaneously, the modern domestic semantics is developing an integrative direction aimed at reconstructing the national language image of the world by means of the complex (linguistic-cultural and semiotic) analysis of linguistically specific concepts in the cross-cultural perspective, i.e. the so-called cross-cultural methods (Khanova, 2015; Shmelev, 2009).

Research Questions

The subject of the article is the analysis of the semantic influence of lexico-semantic variants equivalent to inolexems on the language system determining the ways of reality conceptualization that is not typical for the Russian mentality.

In recent years, research on the cognitive function of language implemented in the conceptualization of reality has become an integral part of language science. The linguistic picture of the world as a mentally-linguistic education, the exponent of which is language, seems particularly relevant in this regard.

Within the linguistic picture of the world, language links to thinking, cultural and ethnic phenomena as well as phenomena within the language itself. The nature of the language model of the world is especially evident in the vocabulary of the language due to its direct social orientation and the other characteristics of the given language level following from it: openness, permeability, uncertainty of vocabulary borders, plurality of constituent elements. At the same time, it is necessary not to forget about other representatives of the world linguistic picture, namely, different kinds of texts.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the article is to state the active process of neologization in modern Russian language, to consider the evolution of the Russian language picture of the world by the example of lexical innovations, that represent in its turn the changing conceptualization of objective reality.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the study is the provisions on the relationship between language and culture, language and consciousness, the primacy of human factor in language. The fundamental methods of research are general scientific theoretical methods (descriptive, cognitive, analytical review of scientific sources, observation, comparison, systematization, generalization); interpretation method. The synthesis of the results of theoretical and practical research allows to inventorize the accumulated intellectual capital and determine the vectors of a new direction in the study of lexical innovations; empirical and heuristic methods of research aimed at analyzing the data of studies conducted in linguistics ensure the development of a hypothesis about the relationship between structural transformations of language and worldview as the connecting between the concepts of language and thinking.


As already mentioned, the end of the 20th–21st is a period of intensive changes in the lexical system of the Russian language. The consequence of the above is a significant change in the language picture of the world, which implies the emergence of new ideas in the world picture. Many researchers attribute this situation to the spoilage of the modern Russian language, and this is not entirely groundless. Language reflects a certain way of perceiving the world. The whole sum of the images of real subjects and situations of reality, accumulated in the semantic structures of the lexemes and the semantics of word combinations, are systematically formed and become a common property with an objective inevitability. The language speakers take on faith the background knowledge, presuppositions, connotations, i.e. all notions constructing the national model of the world because they are implicit in the semantics of lexemes. The speaker, using the language code containing the corresponding meanings, naturally perceives the corresponding conceptualization of reality, that is, a certain world view.

The unit of the world linguistic picture is a concept that has no unambiguous definition in modern linguistics. Due to the concept's objective connection with language and a person as a carrier of the language system and structure, as well as with culture, since a native speaker is a representative of a certain ethnocultural community, it seems legitimate to understand the concept of complex thought education arising from the reflection of reality and including three structuring components: concept, evaluation and value component (Karasik, 2004).

We know that concepts are not typical in terms of content: some of them are stable, while others are not stable due to differences in their semantic components towards the linguistic consciousness of different representatives of one or another ethnos. Due to the specifics of their content, concepts of this type oppose the conceptuaries that are unusual for them, and their value components do not coincide. This is the way to pay attention to many lexical innovations of the modern Russian language.

A whole range of new words appeared in modern Russian vocabulary relates to the spread of the ideology of success in Russian society (usually career), associated with unlimited consumption and enjoyment; see, for example: and others.

The adjective "карьерный" (eng. 'career') has a prominent place in this innovationThis word refers to a derivative of the word but for modern speech use it is actual homonymic education from the word (Here and further examples of texts follow the National Corpus of the Russian language.) (National Corps of Russian). In the semantic structure of the adjective name, among the smallest components, there is the seme "acceptance of the attitude to achieve success in the service, displacing the attention to the nuances of relations between people". We compare the following examples:Meanwhile, the Russian national culture has never considered the indispensable achievement of career advancement, career growth as a fundamental life value. It was always attributed to Western civilization.

At the present stage of the historical development of Russian society, certain fragments of the language conceptualization of the world have changed under the influence of other languages and cultures, and one more word relevant to modern mass communication is meaning relatively recently "accompanied by success, successful"; it was possible to call a successful business, an event, but not a person. The latter case uses the verb, which has the function of a personality characteristic with a tinge of disapproval; compared with

The English – Russian dictionaries give the meaning of a adjective lens under different numbers: adj.: 1) благополучный – prosperous, счастливый – happy, удачный – lucky, успешный – fortunate, a successful experiment – удачный опыт, a successful beginning – удачное начало, successful outcomes – благоприятные итоги, successful tests – успешные испытания, successful negotiations – успешные переговоры; 2) преуспевающий – succeeding, удачливый – lucky, a successful actor – преуспевающий актер, highly successful – очень удачливый, преуспевающий, successful in business – имеющий успех в бизнесе, to be successful in smth. – преуспеть в чем-л. He is successful in everything. – Ему везет во всем. Syn: wealthy" (English-Russian common vocabulary).

Thus, this adjective acquired a new lexico-semantic variant as a result of calquing, i.e. the influence of a verbal equivalent in a foreign language system, where the latter had a greater volume of meaning, and therefore the semantic system of the source language influenced the Russian language picture of the world. Consequently, the modern Russian speech practice, along with the word combination of a began to regularly use the phrases: etc.:.

The semantic structure of the adjectiveundergone a similar change concerning its syntagmatic connections: previously it could not be applied to the human personality, and today's speech widely uses such syntagms as,,(compare with):.

Many words have lost their negative assessment, in particular,; in this case.

means vanity, ambition, zeal as well as walking around, grooming. From the French language this word has passed into the Russian language in these lexical and semantic variants, initially had a negative emotional-expressive coloring and synonymized with the well-known stylistically similar substances of; in the "Explanatory dictionary of the living Great Russian language" we read:Ambitious, selfish, conceited, vain, greedy to honor, praise, rewards with awards and distinctions (Dahl, 1998). Later lexicographical editions present this lexeme in a similar way, it lacks positive seeds in its semantic structure: it indicates the following meaning of the producing word 1) excessive ego, conceit, unreasonable claims to anything.

In modern Russian, the adjective has a new meaning: "associated with an energetic desire to realize an ambitious goal, plan, idea, etc.". The change in the semantics of the word caused his new syntagma. If earlier the adjective was combined with the names of persons (), now the defined word nominates that result from human activity: plan, program, project.

In Western European languages, the wordhas acquired a neutral connotation long ago, corresponding to the meaning "aspiration, purpose, attitude"; the English equivalent has transformed the Russian name of the adjective. This reception of the "western" concept deals with the change of public consciousness aimed at achieving something in one or another, usually professional sphere at any cost. On the lexical and semantic level, it deals with deactualization of notions expressed by the words It seems that value, as one of the main conceptual constructions, is an undeniable evaluation mechanism that correlates an abstract concept or reality with the evaluation scale of an ethnic community, thus expressing its attitude towards something. The linguistic aspect of value is represented by verbal forms of evaluation, in particular, the transformed semantics of the said adjective; compared with

The components of the value system of each ethnos form a certain hierarchy whose fragments, reflected in the minds of individual members of society, are different from the corresponding fragments of other native speakers, as well as from the value prototype of a particular ethnos (Fiedler, 2017). Of course, a conflict between some values is possible in this hierarchy. The latter can be reflected in various discourses as well as in a separate word. For example, this is the lexeme not corresponding to the national perception of the world. This situation requires the adaptation of the foreign cognitive structure. The French adjectiveunderwent such a transformation, which in the second half of the 19th century narrowed the volume of its semantic structure, although initially, it retained the full range of native lexical and semantic variants in Russian speech practice:"delicate, thin; tasty; fragile; sensitive; impressionable; tactful; whimsical" (compare with the word "деликатес –

The indicated semantic transformation occurred because the aristocracy of taste is not one of the main categories of Russian culture; the borrowed lexical unit was functionally oriented to the expression of evaluating the tactical manner of behavior in the sphere of human relations. "This corresponds to special attention to the nuances of relations between people, typical for the Russian language picture of the world and reflected in a number of Russian linguistic specific units" (Krysin, 2005). All the above has led to a new paradigm of the word:,. Thus, the foreign concept was embedded in the Russian language picture of the world as a designation of one important cultural value. Subsequently, the adjective name under consideration underwent another semantic shift under the influence of the English analogue and entered the Russian language in the meaning of "бережный – careful", "аккуратный – accurate":Interesting to note that the National Corps of the Russian language has not yet reflected the new syntagmatic links of the borrowed word. According to linguistic examples, values are undoubtedly historical, and therefore the new categories of values transmitted to contemporary Russian culture must correspond to the traditional national mentality to some extent, which is difficult to state at this diachronic stage of Russian society development (Gorbov, 2014). The linguistic reflection of notions of real reality allows us to indirectly conclude that the modern Russian language picture of the world is under certain cultural pressure from other systems, which results in some shifts in the traditional national worldview (Ponomarenko et al., 2017).


So, the language picture of the world does not remain constant in the development process. Due to the ongoing globalization process in all spheres of modern society, the tendency of semantic influence on the Russian language system becomes actual during the contact influence of languages by using lexico-semantic variants equivalent to inolexemes. Such a trend determines the ways of conceptualization of reality not typical for the Russian mentality. The mechanisms of perceiving foreign mental structures by the Russian language consciousness demonstrate the ability of the foreign concept to adapt in the Russian system of ideas about the world, to adapt to the peculiarities of the Russian worldview. Meanwhile, other people's concepts are usually broadcast in the original form, which causes the reconstruction of a cell in the language picture of the world. Kolesov (1993) outlined this problem: Unfortunately, today in many ways our thinking space is curved by the inorganic invasion of foreign mental categories. The question of the possibility of solving this situation relates to what vectors of worldview evolution will be a priority for Russian society in the nearest period of its development.


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Senko, E. V. (2021). Evolution Of The Russian Language Picture Of The World. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1432-1438). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.189