Verification Of The Linguistic Status Of Gastronomic Neologisms Borrowings


A great number of recent borrowings in the gastronomic vocabulary occurred as result of intensification of intercultural contacts, a change in the perception of this sphere worldwide, and transformation of a successful lifestyle idea. Referring to data from search and social networks made it possible to obtain up-to-date information on speech functioning of such kind of lexical units, which are not standardized currently and are absent in traditional lexicographic sources. Thus, the purpose of the article is to describe one of the algorithms of verifying the linguistic status of neologisms that appeared in the Russian language as a result of borrowing from other languages. The research material was obtained with the help of a continuous sampling method from recipes at cooking sites, blogs and vlogs. The identified lexemes were analyzed with the help of the lexical-semantic method in English and Russian dictionaries. Verification was based on the data of the Russian National Corpus, Internet resources search queries, as well as the frequency analysis of the hashtag requests from various social networks. We collected a number of gastronomic borrowings that Russian speakers identified as “strange” and unnatural, and stated the high potential for them being used even more frequently: such kind of borrowings give a sense of identity with a foreign culture on the part of the consumer and a sense of foreignness on the part of the service provider. It helps to attract attention to goods that is utmost for a restaurateur or an author of a recipe.

Keywords: Neologism, borrowing, assimilation, gastronomic vocabulary, hashtag request, the Russian National Corpus


The value of the research is due to the intensive penetration of foreign-language inclusions into the Russian language. The reason for such an increased influx of new vocabulary is the growth of tourist flows and cultural ties between Russia and foreign countries. The Russian language, like any other, is influenced by English: English words and phrases are increasingly being included in our vocabulary for obvious reasons: ubiquitous computerization, the expansion of international cooperation in various fields, and the ever-increasing leadership of English as an international one. “The language profile of the Russian society is changing leading to societal and cultural changes, reorientation and reconstruction of national identity” (Verenich & Kruglikova, 2012, p. 535).

Food culture is an essential component of the mentality of the peoples of the world and occupies an integral part in human everyday life (Shkhumishkhova, 2009). Currently culinary art and gastronomy are one of the most common topics in social communication. The scope of gastronomy from close topics has become an open one. It is a status, prestigious phenomenon, an object of a hobby (the number of food bloggers, food photographers, food tourists have increased so far). Open topics, when touched upon in speech, initiate conversation … interlocutors do not try to put blocks or barriers in the way of the topic’s expansion (Shuneyko & Chibisova, 2016). The usage of new words identified with other cuisine and cultures consequently creates a fleur of something strange and lure. This is one of the reasons of people being eager to touch upon these topics. Another reason is to articulate their identity with a particular ethnicity as in the case of the dichotomy between ‘me’ and ‘the other’ (Gruen, 2005).

The novelty of the work lies in two facts. The first consists in verifying the status of occasional gastronomic words most of which are not included in modern dictionaries of borrowed vocabulary, but our empirical material shows their presence and functioning in the Russian language. The second one is connected with the usage of some computational, quantitative and corpus methods while analyzing the material. A number of researchers point out their “dramatic increase”, “growing popularity” (Anderson, 2017; List, 2019; Monaghan & Roberts, 2019).

Problem Statement

Borrowing of language units is the result of language contacts. The word goes a long way from the donor language to the recipient language, adapts or does not adapt to the system of the recipient language. The language, borrowing foreign words, does not leave them unchanged for a long time, but subjects them to the process of assimilation. According to Rybushkina (2015), the assimilation of borrowed words is “their adaptation in phonetic, grammatical, semantic and graphic relation to the system of the language that receives them” (p. 37).

The phenomenon of neologisms that come to a language through borrowing from another one has attracted the attention of linguists for quite some time (Anderson, 2014; Krysin, 2004; Monaghan & Roberts, 2019; Rybushkina, 2015; Tadmor et al., 2010).

Most often, a neologism is defined as a “new word", which seems quite understandable and simple. But when it is necessary to determine which words can be considered new and which cannot, a problem arises that does not currently have a solution in linguistics. The problem lies in the relativity of the concept of “novelty”. Firstly, according to many researchers, the concept of “novelty” is relative and requires clarification. Researchers disagree on the period after which the word is no longer considered a neologism. Secondly, a personal feeling of novelty is a subjective criterion, which depends on the education, environment and sphere of activity of the individual: words unknown to one person can be familiar to another. Thirdly, the sense of novelty of a word depends on its frequency. People can take archaisms, historicisms and vernacular expressions for neologisms they have never encountered before.

While analyzing the neologisms borrowings of the gastronomic vocabulary we followed the historic approach of new words interpretation. Its basic principle is the need for specifiers such as linguistic context, time and the type of novelty of the unit (Kotelova, 1983).

The first and main specifier is the period of time during which the word is used by native speakers. Neologisms should include words that exist in a certain period of the language and did not exist in the previous period. Therefore, the identification and study of neologisms can take place within any time period: 30s, 80s, 20th century, 21st century, etc. The spheres and genres of language use is the second one. The third specifier is the assessment of a language unit in terms of novelty. The last and the most important specifier is connected with meaning: the word can acquire a new meaning (semantic neologism); a new form (neologism is a synonym for an existing word); both a new meaning and a new form (neologism proper).

According to Krysin (2004), there are five stages in the development of new vocabulary. At the initial stage, the concept is borrowed along with the borrowing of the referent, the lexical unit is used occasionally, most often with the preservation of the external graphic form of the source language. At the second stage, borrowing is assimilated: it is transliterated or transcribed, enters grammatical, morphological and syntactic paradigm of the recipient language. At the third stage, borrowing is characterized by common usage, while preserving its original genre-stylistic, contextual and (or) social features. The fourth stage is characterized by the loss of the above features, while various semantic changes occur due to the expansion of its connection with other words. At the fifth stage, the word is standardized by the recipient language at all lexical levels. As far as our research is concerned, the gastronomic borrowings of the first and second stage of assimilation have been analyzed.

Research Questions

Frequency data acquired with the help of quantitative methods and corpus based ones assist in verifying the fact of borrowing of the words of the chosen theme. Is it possible to verify the degree of their assimilation and the readiness of speakers to use such kind of words in everyday speech?

Purpose of the Study

This study is an attempt to develop an algorithm of verifying the linguistic status of neologisms that appeared in the Russian language within the period of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries as a result of borrowings from other languages. These days the process of adopting new realia and new words is avalanche, so it requires some computational, quantitative and corpus based methods.

Research Methods

The bulk of the research material comprises recipes, restaurant menus, dictionaries of foreign vocabulary, the Russian National Corpus, data from Google search engine queries, and hashtag search requests. At the first stage, a selection of lexemes that sound unnatural for the Russian speaker was carried out from recipes, menu of restaurants, culinary blogs and vlogs using a continuous sampling method. Further, to identify usual functioning of such kind of words the lexical-semantic method was carried out in English and Russian dictionaries of new vocabulary (Kuznetsov, 1998; Shagalova, 2020), explanatory ones (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020; Online Etymology Dictionary, 2020). At the final stage, we turned to Google and social nets requests to verify the speech functioning of words with frequency data within the period of their first mentioning and the current moment.


This paper analyzes 183 neologisms-borrowings entering Russian from languages of the Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan groups. The main part of borrowings falls on the period of the XXI century ((berliner)(brusketa)) and are not registered in lexicographic sources; the work contains words that have been encountered for many years ((sufle),(minestrone)). These units have been analyzed following to the algorithm: 1) definition of the borrowing; 2) description of grammatical/morphological characteristics; 3) word-formation characteristics; 4) etymological characteristics; 5) frequency (Google and the Russian National Corpus).

Our research includes words that are at the initial stage of assimilation. They have not undergone changes in the recipient language and are little adapted to its grammatical system. They are often used in their original form, but for the purpose of convenience, native speakers turn to techniques for transcribing or transliterating such words.

Here are some examples of the words and their analysis.

(berliner) or (berlinskiy ponchik, berliner donut) is a German traditional pastry made from sweet yeast dough, fried in deep-frying oil. The traditional German Berliner is filled with jam filling (strawberry or plum jam) and poured with sweet icing or powdered with sugar at the end of cooking (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020). It is usually used in the original spelling but for the purpose of convenience, transliteration of the term is frequent in unofficial sources. Usage example:

As for morphological characteristics, the word is an inanimate noun, masculinum, has categories of gender, number and case. The external structure of the Russian word has lost its connection with the original, as the final part of the word is not identified with the English suffix. In Russian (berliner) is a monomorphic root word. The word is not registered in the meaning of a kind of donut in the Russian National Corpus within the period from 2000 to 2020. It is absent in Russian lexicographic sources as well.

The analysis of the results of the Google search query (the first 10 ones) also showed a small number of the word usage. The hashtag request (berliner) (berliners) counts less than 100 publications (the information is current 10.07.2020).

The next lexeme (klafuti) is of French origin and was firstly registered in 1948 in English (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2020). It is a sweet dish containing fruit, especially cherries, and a sweet batter (a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar and flour), baked in the oven. The noun was borrowed by the Russian language through transcription, with the last syllable stressed as in the source language. Usage example:.

The word refers to the class of inanimate nouns. It has not acquired grammatical and morphological characteristics of the Russian noun paradigm, as it does not change in number and case. It allows no word-forming affixes.

As for its frequency, in the period from 2000 to 2020, this unit was not registered in the Russian National Corpus. The hashtag request #клафути has more than 5000 publications, (clafutis recipe) and (clafutis recipes) – less than 100 publications.

The word is a barbarism, it is assimilated neither in its outer form nor in morphology. The frequency criterion proves its status of an unassimilated neologism as well.

The next word (minestrone) is a type of Italian soup containing a mixture of vegetables and pasta. It was borrowed through transliteration. In Russian, the phrase “vegetable soup” is the equivalent of the borrowed lexical one. An example of the word usage:..

The term (minestrone) is a barbarism. The word is not grammatically assimilated, it possesses no number and case categories. The gender is neuter, but the word can agree with other parts of speech, both masculine and neuter. This fact shows the word being in the process of adaptation to the Russian noun paradigm. From the point of view of its morphology, the word has lost its morphological motivation as well (the Italian word was derived from (soup) and - (augmentative suffix), meaning “grand soup”, and “soup with a large number of ingredients”).

As seen in Figure 1, the word is undergoing the second wave of assimilation in Russian. The first took place within the period of 1945 and 1965 with the highest usage frequency of 0.05766. In the period from 1990 to 2004, there is a gradual increase in the use from 0.00 to 0.09313 per million cases. From 2003 to 2020, the word is being popularized. The peak of uses (0.13807 per million) is registered at the current moment in 2020.

Figure 1: The word usage graph of the neologism минестроне (minestrone) Source: the Russian National Corpus (Russian National Corpus, 2020)
The word usage graph of the neologism минестроне (minestrone) Source: the Russian National Corpus (Russian National Corpus, 2020)
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The hashtag request is the following: (minestrone) – more than 1000 publications, – less than 100 publications. Other variations such as (minestrone soup), (vegetable minestrone), (summer minestrone) and so on have less than 100 publication each.

Some gastronomic words are at the second stage of penetration and assimilation. At this stage, words are transliterated or transcribed, correlate with a certain part of speech and acquire some lexical and grammatical characteristics.

One of the varieties of soft, chewy, circular piece of bread with a hole in the centre and with savoury filling is referred to as (bejɡl). The word entered the Russian language being transcribed (English or). Example of use:. It is a masculine word, the second type of declension, changes in numbers and cases. The word is partially assimilated morphologically.

The Russian National Corpus has no information on the word usage. The hashtag request (bagel) и (bagels) accounts for over 1000 publications, (bagels) – less than 100 publications. There are examples of word coining such as (bageloff) and (bagels) (less than 100 publications).

(terrin) is a dish made of small pieces of cooked meat, fish, or vegetables pressed into a rectangular shape. The term was borrowed from the French language terrine and assimilated through transcription with the last syllable stressed. The word as a kind of meal originated from “earthenware dish” (1706) as a result of metonymic change, but this association is no longer perceived by a modern speaker. Example of use:. The word is not grammatically assimilated: it refers to the masculine gender, does not decline and has the same form in both the singular and plural. It is not assimilated phonetically as it retains the French pronunciation.

Following the data in the Russian National Corpus, the word entered the Russian vocabulary in 1997 and showed gradual increase within the period of 1997 and 2018 with 0.12055 cases of usage at its peak. After that, its frequency falls slightly to 0.10756 in 2020 (Russian National Corpus, 2020).

The English word, which means a thin, flat, round cake made from a mixture of flour, milk, and egg, fried on both sides, has penetrated into Russian and been adopted in its phonetical form – (pankejk). An example of the use:. The word is assimilated phonetically, semantically, graphically and grammatically: the word is masculine, has the singular and plural forms, case forms.

It is not registered in dictionaries. The Russian National Corpus has no information on its usage either. Nevertheless, the hashtag request shows high frequency of the word and its derivations: # (pancakes) (185k publications), (pancake) (16.4), (pancake recipe) (11.1k), (kefir pancakes) (1000), and so on.

(fresh) is a kind of fresh unsalted drink borrowed from English in its phonetical form. The English lexeme is not registered in dictionaries in this meaning. It was derived from the word combination “fresh juice”, the second element of which became omitted in the course of time. The usage example:.

According to the Russian National Corpus, the word(fresh) was firstly used in 1994. Since then it is constantly expanding its frequency showing the peak of usage in 2019 (0.23595 entries per million) (Russian National Corpus, 2020). The hashtag request gives the following data: (fresh) (100k publications), (freshes) (more than 5000 publications).


The borrowings we have studied are occasionalisms, they are taken from menu, recipes. The peculiarity of the gastronomic genre lies in keeping to and preserving the national and cultural specificity of traditional dishes. The use of such kind of borrowings gives a sense of identity with a foreign culture on the part of the consumer and a sense of foreignness on the part of the service provider. It helps to attract attention to goods that is the paramount task of a restaurateur or author of a recipe. Occasional borrowings-neologisms allow this to be realized. Thus, when there is an equivalent unit in Russian, the author of the recipe typically prefers occasional non-assimilated ones (compare,(pankejk, pancake)(olad’i, battercakes)(minestrone)(ovoschnoj sup, vegetable soup).

Our research showed high necessity for the investigations in the field of neologisms as the tempo of intercultural interaction is enlarging with the help of new technologies and the desire for new experience people are eager to realize. All this leads to an avalanche of new words, ideas that require verbing.

The algorithm of verifying the linguistic status of new words suggested in the article is regarded to be a combination of traditional methods and computer-assisted technologies that allows researching correct data about the period of borrowing and the frequency of the units under analysis. A comprehensive analysis of such a kind allows, with a certain degree of reliability, to draw conclusions about the linguistic status of a borrowed language unit.


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Malysheva, N. V. (2021). Verification Of The Linguistic Status Of Gastronomic Neologisms Borrowings. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), Amurcon 2020: International Scientific Conference, vol 111. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 633-640). European Publisher.