The paper discusses the concept of ‘homeland’ in Russian and Kalmyk linguocultures. In the course of the linguoculturological analysis of the lexicographic, paremiological and textual material in the Russian and Kalmyk languages, it is concluded that the concept under consideration is verbalized in a variety of means. Initially, in the linguistic consciousness, the homeland was associated with a native nomad (among the Kalmyks), a tribal place (among the Russians), it was a space where people lived. Gradually, a living space started to include such concepts as region, country, motherland. In the Kalmyk language, the lexical-semantic field of the concept ‘homeland’ includes a larger number of units than in the Russian language. Among the means of verbalizing related to this concept, there are units that are used in different styles, reflecting the stages of understanding by the people ‘their own’ space and different times of the society development. The core of the lexical-semantic field of the concept ‘homeland’ is formed by the lexemes homeland [tөrskn hazr-usn], which is indicated by their highest frequency and minimal contextual dependence. The periphery of the concept is formed by lexemes associated with the core through direct and figurative meanings. In the Russian paroemia, the homeland is associated with an image of a mother, whose main features are protection, care, and warmth. Due to the intersection of the semantic fields ‘our’ (native, motherland) and ‘foreign’ (enemy, counterpart, foreign land), the image of the homeland is endowed with the characteristics of something sweet, dear, warm, etc.
Homeland’ as a kind of the universal concept of ‘one’s own’ space, comprehended through the opposition ‘friend / enemy’, is one of the most important values of any ethnic group. This concept has been sufficiently studied on the material of the English language (for example, D.A. Kozhanov, O.A. Urusova, and etc.). Vorkachev (2008), analyzing this concept in the modern Russian linguoculture, drew attention to the appearance in the Russian speech of a new nominee – ‘this country’, which, in his opinion, is evidence of the general crisis of the Russian idea of patriotism at the end of the 20th century. The homeland, as a result of the conceptualization by the individual of ‘his/her’ space, is comprehended as a place, where people of ‘our tribe’, ‘ours’, the place where there is peace and order, good relations between people, the place that is separated from other places where ‘foreigners’ live, people that we do not know, where our laws are not recognized and where, perhaps, there is no law at all (Stepanov, 1997). As established, the opposition ‘friend / enemy’ was also characteristic of mythological consciousness: ‘patrimony space’, where a person was protected by the ancestral spirits, was opposed to the ‘harmful space’ where protection did not act (Kozhanov, 2006). In the future, as a person’s knowledge enriched, he/she mastered the world, the limits of ‘his/her own’ space expanded. As a result of a metaphorical rethinking of patrimony relations, in the sphere of ‘his/her space’ first the native land, then the native country is included.
Both at the level of everyday consciousness, and in linguistic science, ‘small homeland’ and ‘big homeland’ are distinguished. ‘Small homeland’ is associated with a place where a group of people, united by family or corporate relations, lives, the closeness between which is maintained by daily contacts, living in the same territory and common interests. It is this content of the ‘small homeland’ that reflects the mythological understanding of the concept ‘ours’. ‘Big Motherland’, representing the mental image of a historically formed integral geopolitical space, geopolitical unity, whose citizens are united both by a common language and by a collective ideology and ties that represent some sort of rethinking of relations related to patrimony kinship, as the result of their identification with a collective ideology, reflects the stage of later comprehension concept ‘our’. ‘Our’ space is a mental unit with a complex structure, which reflects the peculiarity of the society to which a person belongs, and the understanding of social ties and relations by the collective consciousness. It defines a person’s self-identification in each specific situation.
The subject of the paper is the understanding of the homeland as its own space by the carriers of the Russian and Kalmyk linguistic culture. The specificity of its understanding, as we see it, is associated with the types of economic activity and cultures of the two peoples – sedentary, agricultural (Russians) and nomadic, mobile, cattle breeding (Kalmyks).
Purpose of the Study
The aim of the research is to study the structure and content of the mental area associated with the homeland in the linguistic consciousness of Russians and Kalmyks. To achieve the aim, the semantics of the linguistic units, which verbalize the concept of ‘homeland’ will be studied, as well as their functioning in texts related to various stages of the history of the Russian and Kalmyk peoples.
To carry out the research, a linguoculturological method was used, which implies a definition-based analysis of all lexical means associated with the concept ‘homeland’ in each of the languages, and the analysis on how this concept is reflected in paremiology and literary texts. In order to analyze the dynamics of the concept, the data of the associative experiment were used.
Lexicographic analysis made it possible to establish that the lexical-semantic field of the concept ‘homeland’ in the Russian language includes lexemes – homeland, native, fatherland, motherland, domestic, fatherly. In the Kalmyk language, it includes lexemes [төрскн, төрсн hазр-усн, төрскнә, орн-нутг, төрл эк орн-нутг, эк орн, төрскн нутг, нутг-нурhн, уул hазр]. Among the designations of the concept in the Kalmyk language, there are lexical items that are relevant for different styles and stages of the formation of the language, in Russian – for different styles. This indicates a long period of the concept comprehension by the collective unconscious of Kalmyks and Russians. In the dictionary of synonyms of the Russian language, the word ‘homeland’ contains synonyms of fatherland and motherland, which are labeled ‘high’, indicating that these words give speech a touch of solemnity, elation, they are used in publicistic, oratory, and poetic speech. In the Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian language by Ozhegov and Shvedova (2004), the ‘homeland’ is defined as follows: 1. Fatherland, native country. Love to motherland. Homeland defense. 2. Place of birth, the origin of someone or something. Moscow is his homeland. India is the homeland of chess. The Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian language defines the meaning of the lexeme ‘fatherland’ as follows: the country, where a person was born and to whose citizens he/she belongs. Love to fatherland. Protecting the fatherland. This dictionary explains the meaning of the lexeme ‘homeland’ through synonyms fatherland, motherland and illustrates it with the following examples: Love to the homeland. Selfless devotion to the motherland. The historical and etymological dictionary of Chernykh (1999) explains: the fatherland is ‘the country, where a person was born and to whose citizens he/she belongs’, ‘the land of fathers’. The terminology of this word, like the word ‘fatherland’, is a later phenomenon, but by the 17th century, presumably, it had already ended. The old meaning is ‘the land of the fathers’. According to the Etymological Dictionary of Fasmer (1996), the homeland is ‘fatherland’, while ‘homeland’ in Ukrainian means – family, in Bulgarian – a place of birth, in Serbo-Croatian – abundance of fruits, in Slovenian – rodina (the same as in Russian), in Czech – rodina, family, in Polish – rodziria that means the same. The meaning ‘home country’ is first encountered by Derzhavin. So, the etymological meaning of the words ‘homeland’ and ‘fatherland’ or ‘land of the fathers’ can be traced in the corresponding words of the modern Russian language. A large explanatory dictionary of proverbs and sayings of the Russian people explains: there are two homelands: homeland-country and homeland-side. A Russian person who has gone abroad, by the word ‘homeland’ means primarily Russia. Many old proverbs about homeland and foreign land refer to the homeland-side, that is, to the places where a person was born, where every pebble is familiar to him. However, this does not exclude the possibility of using these proverbs in a broader sense, that is, in relation to the homeland-country. Homeland attracts to itself not only by the very fact of being born in this or that area. Leaving for a foreign land, a peasant took a handful of land from his personal plot and kept it until he returned: the native land is sweet in a handful. At home, a person feels bolder, freer. Homeland gives some strength, confidence: in own house and walls help (The proverbs and sayings of the Russian people: a large explanatory dictionary, 2006). Thus, according to paremiological sources, the homeland is a sweet, beloved, native place that guards, protects, gives strength and confidence to a person. Set expressions and phrases urge not to betray the homeland, and appreciate it. Set expressions, reflecting the actualization of the concept ‘foreign land’, which is most closely related to the concept ‘homeland’, convey the attitude to the homeland: after parting with a friend, a person cries for seven years, parting with the homeland – all his life, and bones cry for homeland. For this reason, the remains of the deceased are dug up in a foreign land and transported to the homeland to bury there: a person without a homeland is like a nightingale without a song (The proverbs and sayings of the Russian people: a large explanatory dictionary, 2006). The dictionary of the words collocation of the Russian language explains: the homeland is the country in which a person was born and a citizen of which he is. Fatherland (in a high style with a capital letter) is beautiful, beloved, mighty, distant, second, soviet, socialist, ours ... homeland (Collocations Dictionary of the Russian Language, 1983). The analysis of contexts allows us to conclude that homeland is endowed with the signs of beloved, beautiful, mighty, far, ours. It is associated with such abstract feelings as devotion, pride, patriotism, longing, duty, betrayal. According to the Russian Associative Dictionary, the stimulus ‘homeland’ evokes the following associations among contemporary Russians, here are the figures: homeland 46; fatherland 31; patriotism 15; mother, patriot 13; USSR 8; Russia 7; cinema hall 6; collective farm 5; defender, mother, Soviet Union 4; state, something mine, patronymic 3; protection, change, leave 2; meeting, be proud, pride, citizen, cherish, magazine, banner, history, locality, crying, plow, something in Russian, plain, native, Russian, belonging to the Russian Federation, glory, soldier, save 1 (The Russian Associative Dictionary, 2002). It is characteristic that, on the whole, the image of the homeland in the consciousness of modern Russians is endowed with the same properties typical of the ethnic consciousness recorded in the Russian paroemia.
The dictionary of synonyms of the Kalmyk language (Monraev, 2002) brings the following synonymous series to the word [һазр]: [элсн, шора, тоосн, һазр; бәәрн] – 1) land; homeland 2) place. For the word [төрскн] the dictionary gives [ээҗ-аавин нутг, төрсн һазрн] – homeland, fatherland. ‘Foreign land, foreign country’ is translated [хәр һазр, хәр орн-нутг], where хәр means ‘outsider’, ‘unfamiliar’, ‘alien’ (Monraev, 2002). Compare: [хәрд һарх] ‘get married’ (literally: go towards an unfamiliar way). The Russian-Kalmyk Dictionary, edited by I.K. Ilishkin, provides the following definitions of lexeme ‘homeland’: 1. Fatherland [төрскн]; homeland defense [төрскән харслhн]; 2. Birthplace [төрсн hазр-усн]; return to homeland [төрсн hазр-уснурн хәрү ирх]. Unlike the Russian language, in the Kalmyk language, the word [төрскн] in the meaning of ‘place of birth’ is used in relation to a living/human being, it is not used in the figurative meaning. Lexeme ‘Fatherland’ in this dictionary is defined as [төрскн], interpreted as a nomadic place, where a man grew up, a man matured: [өссн-боссцн орн-нутг]. Lexeme ‘Motherland’ is also translated by the word [төрскн], interpreted as a nomadic place, where a man was born and raised: hарсн өссн орн-нутг. The adjective ‘domestic’ or ‘national’ in Kalmyk is corresponded to the lexemes [төрскн and төрскнә]; ‘domestic goods’ [төрскн эд-тавр]; ‘The Great Patriotic War’ is translated as [Aлдр Төрскн дән]. The pair word [hазр-усн] in the word combination [төрскн hазр-усн] (homeland) is literally translated as earth-water, used to describe ‘small homeland’ (Ilishkin, 1964). In Kalmyk-Russian dictionary, edited by B.D. Muniyev, [төрскн] is defined as ‘homeland’, fatherland, motherland / native, domestic; [төрскнән харсх] means to defend homeland; [төрскнән эврәннь нүднләрн әдл хар погов]. I take care of/cherish my homeland as the apple of my eye; [төрскн келн] is the native language. In this dictionary, the second meaning of the lexeme [төрл] is ‘kindred, native’: [төрл эк орн-нутг] native country, mother-land. The word [орн] is highlighted with the meanings ‘country, power, state’. The phrase [эк орн] (the first word means ‘mother’) is labelled/marked as ‘rare’, the dictionary translates it as ‘homeland’; [мана төрскн орн] – our home country. [Төрсн] means native, [төрсн hазр] means ‘home land’; [төрсн hазрин hазр җөөлкн] (a proverb) means ‘soft soil of the native land’. In the dictionary, edited by Muniyev (1977), the lexical item [нутг] has a ‘historical’ mark, which indicates that the word is coming out of living use, but is still known to the speakers of the modern Kalmyk literary language. Its meaning is defined as follows: 1. ‘Homeland, motherland, native [улус’]; [төрскн нутг] means ‘homeland, native place’ 2. Folk meaning – ownship 3. Nomads, a nomadice place [нутг усн болх] means ‘to marry’; [нутгтан хайх] means ‘offended, be dissatisfied’. The case form of [нутгин] is defined by this dictionary as ‘local, territorial’; [нутгин әмтс] means ‘local population, locals’; [нутгин күн] means ‘earthling’. The Kalmyk-Russian dictionary quotes the paired word [нутг-нурhн]. The second element [нурhн] the dictionary, from a historical perspective, qualifies as outdated and defines it as follows: 1. Majority 2. Society. The paired word [нутг-нурhн] is defined as ‘country, homeland’; [нутг-нурhн талан одх] meand ‘to be in native places’; [нутг-нурhн талан хәрү ирлhн] means ‘to return to motherland, homeland’; [нутг-нурhнан сансн көвүн, нууран сансн hалунла әдл погов] means ‘a boy who missed his homeland is like a goose who misses the lake’. The Kalmyk-Russian dictionary in the dictionary entry [hазр] quotes the phrase [Уул hазр] ‘Mother-land’, where [уул] is the main, indigenous, ancestral ([уул hазр] means ‘homeland, ancestral land’) (Muniyev, 1977). So, the Kalmyks-nomads perceived the homeland as ‘their territory’, ‘their place-nomadic’, an integral sign of which is water, being the most important source of life of steppes living in semi-desert conditions. The contextual analysis of the means included in the lexicon-semantic field of the analyzed concept in the Kalmyk language indicates their wide compatibility. Thus, lexemes [төрскн hазр-усн] can be used in the function of the agents: homeland waits – [төрскн hазр-усн күләҗәнә] (high language); to defense homeland – [төрскән харсх]; think about homeland – [төрскн hазр-усн тускар санх]; to serve Homeland – [төрскин төлә көдлх] and etc. Accordingly, lexemes are used in different cases, in combination with different prepositions/postpositions.
In the Russian paroemia, there is a metaphorical rethinking towards the image of motherland. It is characteristically to put the image of a mother to a place that is native for you, whereas, vice versa, a foreign land is associated with a stepmother. To update the characteristic features of a homeland, there are used the nominations of animals (dog, hare), birds (cuckoo, rooster, kulik, chicken, crow, nightingale), natural objects (dense forest, pine, pebble, swamp), background knowledge which complements the appropriate image of a sweet homeland. At the same time, in the ethnic consciousness Moscow, which ‘does not believe in tears’, is associated with a far, big, foreign land, opposing a native place. The analysis of the Kalmyk paroemia shows that the Kalmyks do not ‘humanize’ the image of homeland. The Kalmyk paroemia emphasizes the signs of a native land and water. Dust, sand of the native land is soft and warm. The land is green even in the winter, precious as gold: [нутг-нурhин шора алтн мет] means ‘even dust of the native land like gold’; [төрсн hазрин шора эм] means ‘dust of the homeland is a cure’;[төрскн hазрин шора җөөлн] means ‘the land of the motherland is soft’; [эврә hазр усн дулан, хәрин hазр киитн] means ‘from the homeland wails warm, from a foreign land – cold’; [эврә hазрин үвл чигн ноhан, күүнә hазрин хавр чигн хар] means ‘in the homeland and in the winter all is green, in a foreign land and in the spring all seems black’. The waters of the homeland are transparent, sweet, healing: [уусн усн аршан, унсн шора алтн] ‘water of the motherland – arshan, the land of the motherland – gold’. Paroemia calls to love, cherish, appreciate the homeland: [төрскндән дурта күн дәәсиг диилхд дот] means ‘who loves the homeland, it is easier to win’; [төрскнән эврәннь нүднлә әдл хар] means ‘take care of your homeland as the apple of the eye’ (Todayeva, 2007). Proverbs and sayings also contain recommendations of correct behavior when being away from the homeland: [аль hазр одвл тер hазрин ду дуулх] ‘to sing the songs of the side where you go’ (Todayeva, 2007).
The topic of ‘homeland’ the Kalmyk writers address throughout the whole life. Below, we consider the insight about a homeland by the folk poet of Kalmykia, Kugultinov (2002). The analysis of his works included in the anniversary edition (Kugultinov, 2002) allows us to conclude that the lexicon field of the concept ‘homeland’ includes the following lexemes: Russia, Russ, Kalmykia, Elista, the country, Kalmyk steppe, fatherland, a native land, my house, Mother-land. The analysis of the lexical items frequency use shows that ‘homeland’ is associated with the Kalmyk steppe. The contextual analysis indicates the personalized comprehension of the object by the author: the steppes are native, my steppe, our steppe, the steppes of Kalmykia, the Kalmyk steppe. The word-forming analysis made it possible to distinguish the following contextual use of the adjectives: native home, native side, native land, native place, native villages, native steppes, native Kalmykia, steppes of the native. The cognitive analysis of the concept ‘steppe’ distinguish some frames: plant world, animal world, objects, natural phenomena, settlements, seasons, space, people, persons. Within each frame there are subframes, in the artistic text that form the authenticity and poetic image of the homeland. Frame structure looks like this: fauna world (coyly, tulip, thorns, watermelon, wormwood, buryan, poplar, quinoa), animal world (saiga, eagle, sheep, racehorse, dogs, lark, sheep, kite, herds, wolves, cow, calf, cranes), objects (well, hills, ditches, beams, ravine, earth, soil, sands, snowdrifts, streams, sun, moon, clouds, clouds), settlements (hoton, village, city, elit), dust, wind, silence, buran, itching, heat, earth), space (space, dal, width), people (Kalmyks, grandfathers, sages, old people, children, old man, youth, relatives, mother), persons (Valya, Togryas, Pishman, Gorodovikov, I. Jambinov). Most often in poetic texts subframes ‘fauna and animal world’, ‘objects’ and ‘natural phenomena’ are used, which allows us to conclude that poeticization of the native steppe, its world is the main mission and goal of a poet. Kugultinov-lyric identifies homeland, native land with the steppe, its unique nature. The associative connection is noteworthy: the native steppe is a longing for the native land, which can be understood, given the circumstances of the poet’s life and historical events in the fate of the Kalmyk people, a part of which the poet has always felt. Thus, based on the analysis of some artistic texts, it can be concluded that D. N. Kugultinov, as a poet-lyricist, identifies the homeland with the Kalmyk steppe and Kalmykia; as a poet-citizen, he considers his homeland Russia, as a poet-philosopher, he calls the homeland the planet Earth. Homeland, being the key concept of the culture in the poetic picture of the world represented by D.N. Kugultinov, is endowed with the highest value, it makes up the main orientations of the personality. This allows us to conclude that this concept forms the value dominant of the Kalmyk ethnic group, the expression of the spirit of which is its outstanding representative – the poet D. N. Kugultinov.
Thus, the analysis shows that the concept of ‘homeland’ in the Russian and Kalmyk languages is verbalized in a variety of means. Initially, in the linguistic consciousness of the Russians and Kalmylks, the homeland was associated with a native nomad (among the Kalmyks), a tribal place (among the Russians), it was a space where people lived. Gradually, a living space started to include such concepts as region, country, motherland. In the Kalmyk language, the lexical-semantic field of the concept ‘homeland’ includes a larger number of units than in the Russian language. Among the means of verbalizing related to this concept, there are units that are used in different styles, reflecting the stages of understanding by the people “their” space and different times of the society development. The core of the lexical-semantic field of the concept ‘homeland’ is formed by the lexemes homeland [tөrskn hazr-usn], which is indicated by their highest frequency and minimal contextual dependence. The periphery of the concept is formed by lexemes associated with the core through direct and figurative meanings. The analysis of paroemia, reflecting the ethnic comprehension of the mental unit analyzed, indicates a difference in the figurative component of the concept. In the Russian paroemia, the homeland is associated with an image of a mother, whose main features are protection, care, and warmth. It is supplemented by the opposition to a foreign land, which is characterized by cold, malice, hunger. Due to the intersection of the semantic fields ‘our’ (native, motherland) and ‘foreign’ (enemy, counterpart, foreign land), the image of the homeland is endowed with the characteristics of something sweet, dear, warm, etc. The homeland in the Kalmyk paroemia (proverbs) is personified with a piece of land that is green even in the winter, covered with soft grass, which is dearer than ‘the gold’ of a foreign land, the water of which is sweet, pure, and healing. The homeland in the minds of both Russians and Kalmyks is of the highest value.
The study was carried out as part of the research grant from Kalmyk State University “The Vital Values of the Russian and Kalmyks’ linguists”.
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Esenova, T., Mitriev, I., & Esenova, G. (2021). Homeland’ As A Basic Value Of Linguistic Culture Of Russians And Kalmyks. 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. 2058-2065). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.272