Characteristics Of The Modern Russian Political Terminology


The article analyses the principle of forming political terminology, which is a main way to enrich the contents of political linguistics. The definition of the term is clarified from the standpoint of linguistics, and two opposite approaches to its definition are considered. Considering the view of semiotics in term studying, it is emphasized that its definition is focused on the referential function and refers to one or another special area of knowledge. Studying the definition of term under the background of terminology means that term is a stylized symbol which expresses or clarifies a professional concept by diction or text. Based on these definitions, it is possible to consider some specific special concepts in the field of political terminology of the Russian language in terms of its structure and contents. The political terminology of the Russian language is a special group among the terminologies. In its structure, there is a productive model in the formation of terms and a significant number of borrowed political lexemes through. The content of political terminology reflects the totality of knowledge, covers all the fragments of modern political reality and demonstrates its uniqueness and generalization of the term. Particular attention is paid to the metaphorical nature of the term. The study of the terminology of the Russian language shows the presence of a large number of metaphorical phenomena, the presence of metaphorical models, metaphorical terms, which is a separate area that deserves further research.

Keywords: Abbreviations, loanwords, metaphor, political terminology, Russian language, term


At present, there is still no generally understood definition of the term since it has complex characters, and it is not realistic to combine them in one definition. Scholars research terms in different fields from different points of view. The existing research on terms is most often affected in such professional areas as oil and gas, construction, medicine, etc. Now, scholars pay attention to terminology in the economic, legal, sports fields, and few scientists focus on terminology in the political field. Due to the main development of political linguistics, the study of political terminology has certainly become relevant. The theoretical significance of the research is to further enrich the content of political linguistics and clarify the need to study terminology in different areas. The practical significance is to deepen the understanding of the political concepts of Russia. The scientific novelty of the research is to consider terms from the point of view of linguistics, semiotics and terminology.

Problem Statement

With the advent of terminology in the 1930s, the definition of terms has been continually discussed in academic community, and different scholars have different understandings of the term. A generally accepted definition of terms has not been unified due to the complexity of the terms themselves, for it covers a wide aspect of areas and an abundant content. Moreover, the term refers to many disciplines. Referring to the opinion of Leichik (2007), a term is a multifaceted object that has diverse characteristics. Some researchers try to combine all the features of the term in one definition.

Perhaps the difficulty of defining a term is based on a series of circumstances. First, linguistics is the basis of terminology, and the term is a part of the language system. The term cannot exist independently from the language, so it is limited to a certain extent by the language itself; secondly, the term is a nomenclature in a certain area, it is a logical relationship between concepts in this area, which will make it possible to establish a relationship between terminology and logic; thirdly, the term is a specialized vocabulary created with the development of a certain discipline, and it represents the brevity of knowledge in this discipline.

At the moment, there are many researches of terminology in many professional fields, and political terminology is a special term category, because it involves politics, economy, culture, education and other social life fields. At the same time, the semantic content of political terminology depends on many factors: historical times, national traditions, civilized interests and values. It is of practical significance to study Russian modern political terminology as a special cultural material.

Research Questions

This article analysed the definitions of terms by combers from three aspects: linguistics, semiotics, and terminology, expounds the author’s understanding of terms, and defines political terminology based on the particularity of political language, analysed the characteristics of the modern Russian political terminology in its structure and content.

  • Term and terminology
  • Political terminology
  • Characteristics of the modern Russian political terminology

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of our research is to analyse the principles of the modern Russian political terminology’s formation as one of the ways to enrich the content of political linguistics.

Research Methods

The research methods used in this article include the method of document study, which mainly involves collecting and analysing relevant literature, the descriptive research method, that is to observe the formation of Russian political terminology studied, and analyse the characteristics from a theoretical level, and statistical method, using statistical data to explain the formation principles of modern Russian political terminology.


Term and terminology

Definition of the term from the point of view of linguistics

Terminology has the longest association with linguistics. There are many definitions of the term in the linguistic literature than in other sciences. We can see two opposing views on definitions of terms among Russian scholars. According to the first point of view, terms are special words. The representative of this view is the founder of the Russian terminological school Lotte (1961, p. 74). He believed that the term difference from an ordinary word is that its semantic content is determined by the systemic concepts of the corresponding field or discipline. In this sense, it is the term, in contrast to a common word, that is understandable in a certain area. In addition, Danilenko (1977) defines the term "" (p. 15).

Representative Vinokur (1939), who concluded that, on the contrary, any word can become a term and terms are not special words, which only play a certain function. This school includes the views of linguists such as Kuzkin, Kotelova, Moiseev and others. Due to the fact that the term is part of the language system, it primarily plays a linguistic function. Referring to Moiseev (1970, p. 38), the nature of the term is the linguistic function of the term, namely its nominative and nominative functions, and the term can name objects and phenomena of reality. When it comes to defining a term, from the point of view of Chinese scholar Zheng Shupu (2005), the difference between terms and common vocabulary lies in the scope of its use, in which the foremost is used in professional fields, and the latter is used in everyday life.

The debate between the two schools of thought gradually calmed down as the development of terminology deepened. We strive to consider the features of a term based on the term equivalent and general vocabulary. In the 1970s, scientists finally came to a consensus. The term is understood as a word or phrase associated with knowledge of a certain area, discipline.

Definition of the term from the point of view of semiotics

The founder of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, believed that every world consists of signs, and language is a special sign system.(de Saussure, 1933, p. 99). A term is essentially a form of natural language, so the term is also a special symbol. The sign of a term means a set of concepts, meanings and other regular, general and abstract content. Each term-sign includes a certain form - an image, a sound and a certain content - a concept, a meaning.

Among Russian scientists, Leichik (2007) was the first to use a semiotic approach to the study of the term, who believed that:

the term as a sign enters into all semiotic relations established by science: the relation of a sign to a sign (syntactics), the relation of sign to meaning, to meaning (semantics), the relation of a sign to a person (pragmatics) (p. 26).

The American linguist Charles Morris (1946) divided symbols into three aspects: syntactics, semantics and pragmatics. This led to the three worlds of semiotics. According to Charles Morris, we can analyse sign terms from such directions as the relationship between terms. the relationship between terms and referents, the relationship between terms and users. Russian terminologists Grinev-Grinevich and Sorokina (2012) later presented it in 7 aspects:

Table 1 - 7 aspects of terminology from a semiotic point of view
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The table 1 shows that semiotic approaches to the study of terminology have been expanded from three to seven, and the study of terminology from the point of view of semiotics can help us understand the essence of symbols. From the point of view of semiotics, Shelov gave the term a more complete definition. In his theory:

A term is a linguistic sign (word, phrase, combination of a word or phrase with special symbols, etc.), corresponding to the norm of its use in a professional or other community and expressing a special concept of any area of knowledge and, therefore, either having a definition (interpretation, explanation), or motivated by other linguistic signs (words, phrases, combinations of words or phrases with special signs, etc.), among which at least one expresses a special concept and therefore has own definition (interpretation, explanation) (Shelov, 2018, p. 46).

It is emphasized that such a definition focuses on the referential function and relates to a specific special area.

Definition of the term from the point of view of terminology

The definition of a term is the main and fundamental process in the study of terminology. Terminologists and linguists understand terms differently. Terminologists always pay attention to how a term is named before it is formed. and this name must follow the rules of terminology. Linguists always study terms after they have been defined it as a "term".

According to the theory of Leichik (2007, p. 256), the term has a referential characteristic, and it is a concrete or abstract representation of a concept in a certain special area. Chinese scholar Feng Zhiwei (2011) argued that terms are conventional symbols that express or clarify professional concepts in speech or text. All of these definitions emphasize a "professional concept", which clearly reflects the scope of application the term.

Some of the definitions of the term proposed by Russian and Chinese scholars are given above, and in the Russian language the term and terminology are clearly distinguished. Chinese Beike (encyclopaedia) explains Shu Yu (terminology) is a set of names used to express concepts in a specific subject area. In China, it is also called nouns or technical nouns (as opposed to nouns in grammar). Leichik (2007, p. 116) defines terminology as a collection of lexical units that denote a semantic commonality and similarity of formal structure, serving for a specific purpose.

From these definitions, it can be assumed that terminology is a nomenclature of linguistic units that represent concepts of some special area. So, what is political terminology?

Political terminology

The Big Encyclopedic Dictionary (2005) defines politics - "this is a sphere of activity associated with relations between social groups, the essence of which is the definition of the forms, tasks, content of the state's activities." Considering the functions of politics, the Chinese scholar Lei Dachuan (2009) noted that political terminology fulfills seven main functions in political life, such as "posing political questions", "describing a political vision", " manipulating people's psychological expectations", "managing political deeds", "implementation of political behavior", "political integration" and "search for political identity".

Based on the above definitions of the term, it is possible to consider specific special concepts in the field of politics, which are also the subject of this research, therefore, the lexeme "term" can be used to analyze a specific concept. But in the process of abstract analysis of terminological vocabulary, for example, about its characteristics, we will use "terminology", proceeding also from the fact that Zheng Shupu (2005) pointed out that terminology is the key word for summarizing knowledge about the disciplinary system. Thus, on the basis of the foregoing, political terminology can be determined - keywords that have systemic knowledge of the political field are formed in the process of managing state life and international relations by certain classes, classes of political parties, social groups and social forces.

Characteristics of the modern Russian political terminology

Feng Zhiwei (2011) proposed eleven principles for naming terms, which reflect the characteristics of terminology: professionalism, convention, featuring monomeaning, scientific, logical, laconic, productivity, stability, consistency, accuracy and internationality. Based on these principles, it is possible to study the characteristics of the Russian political terminology from two directions - structure and content as followed:

In structure

  • A large number of loan words.

Compared to the languages of other ethnic groups in Europe, Russian was formed late, so it is inevitably influenced by many foreign languages. In addition, language as a culture can rarely be self-sufficient. Each nation has its own official language and traditional culture. As globalization constantly deepening, exchanges between countries, cultures and languages have enriched each other's languages and cultures. As for the using for reference of foreign words in Russian, both Chinese and Russian scientists studied it. Yorova (2017, p. 158) notes that loan words of the Russian language are quite famous in such thematic groups as economics and finance, abstract vocabulary, names of persons, of course, in politics.

In this article, we haved analyzed 1131 terms in the Concise Political Dictionary, and founded loan words from 11 foreign languages, including Latin, Greek, French, and English. Below, on the basis of the statistical base of the Concise Political Dictionary with the total number of words in the dictionary 1131, the share of each foreign language in the general political dictionary is presented in the form of a table 2 as follows:

Table 2 - Statistics on borrowing of foreign words in the Concise Political Dictionary
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The table 2 above shows that the number of borrowed political lexemes from the Latin language is the largest. In the dictionary the total number of words is 1131. The words borrowed from the Latin language are 217, which represent 19.18% of the total vocabulary. It is followed by loanwords from the French language with a total of 80 words, which are 7.07%.

In addition, according to statistics, there are 74 abbreviations in the dictionary, which are 6.54% of the total vocabulary. Abbreviations are an important part of the terminology. Their meaning is relatively clear and easy to use, in any terminology of various fields there are many unique abbreviations that are familiar to specialists in this field, in the political field there are also a lot of abbreviations. It should be emphasized that(Poluboyarova et al., 2020, p. 64).

  • Productivity.

Productivity that is based on old words, is formed through word formation or lexemes. The term shaping model is productive, namely, this term shaping model can generate terms on a large scale. The higher the productivity, the more term formation. For example, in the Concise Political Dictionary there are such word production from the "state" as the. It is also noted such word-production political terms from the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, as the. From the term "democracy" they also form a considerable number of word-production political terms such as a.

In content

  • Modernity.

Modern language is a developing social phenomenon, and it cannot exist without social facts. The development and expansion of terminology reflects the changes of time. (Vinokur, 1939, p. 24). The Russian political terminology also keeps up with the times. Many popular political terms in the USSR, such as gradually left the scene of history. As the country developed, a considerable number of new political terms that correspond to the tendencies of the era, for example,, etc. About this Kondratyeva (2016, p. 38) noted that political terminology is an aggregation of knowledge covering all fragments of political reality that have an obvious linguacultural feature of a particular era.

  • Featuring monomeaning.

At least in one discipline, a term can express only one concept, and the same concept can be expressed only by one and the same term. There should be no ambiguity. Although this term is ambiguous, the concept expressed in the discipline is the same. Political terminology must be featuring mono meaning, because politics is a serious science. Several examples can be cited to illustrate the unambiguous nature of the Russian political terminology of the language.

Table 3 - Some examples of terms with ambiguous meanings in the Concise Political Dictionary
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  • Generalization.

Political terminology is associated not only with the political events themselves, but also with concerns all aspects of social life, such as economic systems, science, technology, culture and education. This is the biggest difference between the Russian political terminology and the terminology of other disciplines.

For example, the President's Address to the Federal Assembly contains terms related to the economic system, such as deoffshorization of the economy, free trade zone, economic modernization, ta; in the social sphere:, etc.; terms related to education:, etc.

  • Metaphorical term formation.

Metaphor is a universal phenomenon in language, which not only is a linguistic phenomenon, but also represents a way of thinking. (Mironova, 2016, p. 141). Terminology is regarded as a special expression of human scientific knowledge in natural language and an important product of human cognitive activity. Therefore, there are metaphors in terminology. The target domain is clearly understood by people thanks to the metaphor used in the source domain. This is a way of forming terms.

The fact of the formation of new terms with the help of metaphor once again testifies to the close relationship between the lexical units of the common language and the language of special purposes and the possibility of interchange of lexical units between them (Kiseleva & Mironova 2015, p. 487).

Research into the Russian terminology has shown that there are a large number of metaphorical phenomena in the terminology of the Russian language. From the point of view of Matienko (2020, p. 85), metaphor terms remain in demand in a special area, and they influence the description of an object in a given area and contribute to its development. By studying metaphorical terminology in the political field, we can further discover the relationship between political science and other sciences. According to the classification of types of metaphors Chudinov (2012), the following metaphorical models can be distinguished in the Russian political terminology:

1) Physiological metaphor.

Physiological metaphor focuses on the human body and the function of organs, draws an analogy between the human body, organs or physiological phenomena and political concepts. According to the specificity of the metaphorical display, it reflects the way of thinking of the source domain in the target domain. Thus, the target domain has the cognitive value of assessing the sphere-sources, and political concepts will receive the cognitive value of the assessment. (Lavrishcheva, 2018, p. 15).

So, for example, a маневр (wrist) is an important part of a person that connects his arms and a shoulder, and the metaphorical meaning of a maneuver denotes a way, method or unreasonable solution to a problem. The terms mean flexible methods of solving a problem in the political field, in the term a state body is considered administrative apparatus of the country as a human body, in addition, there are such terms as an official, a brain drain, which have a metaphorical meaning.

2) A metaphor of the family.

Which usually indicates the relationship between countries, states, leaders, etc. In the process of developing foreign policy and resolving diplomatic relations between countries, the metaphor of the family plays an important role, Dzhioeva and Strelnikova (2016, p. 88) came to the conclusion that in the face of the crisis of the state, the metaphor of the family can strengthen the unity of the nation. Family relationships are not only regulated by law, but are also influenced by traditional culture, and the same is true in political relationships.

Such as, the term(fraternal republic) means close relations between countries, and this term is very often used when describing relations between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus; (honeymoon) implies close relations between states as a spouse, in Russian political discourse we more often see this term to explain friendly Russian-Chinese relations.

3) Social metaphor.

In the Russian language there are political metaphors originating from the socio-cultural area, Chudinov (2001) noted that "social metaphors explore concepts related to the conceptual areas of "Crime", "War", "Theater (performing arts)", "Game and sports" (p. 55).

For instance, metaphorical terms that include the lexeme война (war) are aimed at a tough situation in some area, such as информационная война (information war), санкционная война (sanctions war), война нервов (war of nerves), and политическая война (political war); under the "игра" (game) frame, in these political terms, there is metaphorical usage, for example, геополитическая игра (a geopolitical game), политическая игра (a political game), антироссийская карта (an anti-Russian card), предвыборные карты (election cards), гонка вооружений (an arms race), избирательная гонка (an electoral race), игра с нулевой суммой (a zero-sum game). In addition, political terms политическая (международная) арена (political (international) arena) is (are) included in the “theater” frame.

Metaphorical term formation is becoming more and more common in modern scientific research. The above are just the beginning of our research. At present, scholars have not paid much attention to this direction, although the metaphorical use in political terminology deserves further study.


Terminology is the conciseness of knowledge in a particular field, and it plays a significant role in defining important concepts within a discipline and its development. The definition and characteristics of the term and terminology attract the attention of not only terminologists, but also specialists in various professional fields who are constantly standardizing their usage. Political terminology is just the beginning for understanding the political concept of a government. Normativeness and standardization of political terminology not only contribute to a deeper understanding by citizens of the political concepts of the country but will also facilitate communication of political culture between countries. Based on the analysis above, it can be concluded that the formation of the modern Russian political terminology, on the one hand, occurs due to external reasons, that means borrowing many loan words, on the other hand, these are internal reasons, namely the productivity of terms and their metaphorical use.

Based on the analysis above, it can be concluded that the modern Russian political terminology has several loan words from other languages in his structure, and, in addition, its own special abbreviations have a high productivity of term formation. Furthermore, in content, it changes with the tendencies of the era, it is features mono meaning in the field of politics, and concerns various spheres, including economy, culture, and education. Finally, the most important thing in the Russian political terminology is the metaphorical term formation.


This paper has been supported by the RUDN University Strategic Academic Leadership Program.


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Viktor Mikhailovich, S., & Qi, G. (2021). Characteristics Of The Modern Russian Political Terminology. In & V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 109-119). European Publisher.