Ethnolinguistic Component Of Conceptual Analysis In Classes In Russian As A Foreign


The article discusses the experience of including ethnolinguistic component of conceptual analysis in Russian as a foreign language classes. Theoretical basis of research is research on cognitive linguistics, linguoculturology, and the method of teaching Russian as a foreign language based on a conceptual analysis of language units. The article describes ways of including ethnolinguistic material in the bachelor's program in the field of Pedagogical education, profile "Russian as a Foreign language", based on ethnolinguistic analysis of Russian vocabulary and on the principles of a communicative approach in teaching Russian as a foreign language. The issue presents series of Russian as a foreign language classes based on ethnolinguistic analysis of Russian culture concepts – (pancake), (pie), (gingerbread). Their ethnocultural semantic, symbolic functions of defined matters in culture, variety of different options of concepts objectification in language and in practice of communicative behavior, local specialities of their application became to subject of the research. Proposed methods of studying conceptual content of Russian language seem to be quite universal for the introduction into practice Russian as a foreign language teaching.

Keywords: Concept, ethnolinguistic, language education, methodology of language teaching, Russian as a foreign language


Mastering of a foreign language is always an introduction to a new culture, which is explicitly or implicitly expressed in units of this language. Existing linguoculturological works have repeatedly confirmed the fact of the importance of the linguistic and cultural component in teaching Russian as a foreign language at any level (Vereshchagin & Kostomarov, 1990). The method of including of this component is also actively developing along with the growth of linguistic work itself, describing the conceptual content of Russian language in the cognitive and linguoculturological aspect (Boldyrev, 2020; Vorkachev, 2016). The actuality of cognitive studies of language and culture is also emphasized by foreign researchers (Berenskoetter, 2016).

Many specialists in the field of teaching Russian as a foreign language note that concept is the optimal unit for understanding the national specifics of language semantics (Sherstobitova, 2020). According to Schtyrlina, the concept especially, as a lexically expressed unit, presenting a fragment of the native speakers’ language model of the world, is able to ensure adequate and effective intercultural communication of language learning people with native speakers (Shtyrlina, 2019). Thus structuring of educational material on the basis of conceptual analysis contributes to the formation of the communicative competence of students, which is the most important task in teaching foreign languages in general, and the Russian as a foreign language, in particular. Study of concepts and methods of conceptual analysis gains particular importance in the training of philologists, including teachers of Russian language as a foreign language, for whom Russian language is not native. This contributes to the formation of skills for decoding texts of different styles, genres, discourses, selection and organization of didactic material, building inter-subject relationships and methodological integration.

One of the ways of scientific understanding of the conceptual content of language is ethnolinguistics. Its subject is the ancient linguistic model of the world, which is the result of reconstruction on the basis of folklore, folk culture, history and linguistic pragmatics data. Ethnolinguistic studies being a live direction in the science of language, located on the verge of cultural studies, ethnology and sociolinguistics, are developing in parallel in two traditions: American, related to the heritage of cultural anthropology of the late XIX - early XX centuries, and Russian (Slavic), inheriting to the works of Buslaev and Potebnya, which are devoted to study of peoples culture language. The results of ethnolinguistic studies show the place of Russian-language culture in the general linguistic and cultural space of Slavic, Slavic-Baltic and European languages.

A specific attribute of modern Russian ethnolinguistic studies is the coverage of the problems in reconstruction of spiritual culture in general and its elements - the oldest texts and rites, beliefs and ideas. Program works of Vyach. Ivanov, Toporov and Tolstoy are devoted to the research of diachronic semiotics of Slavic mythology, comparative semasiology of Slavic languages and folklore (Slavic ethnolinguistics, 2020). Interest in the ethnic past (not only in the academic environment, but also in modern Russian society in general) is dictated by the fact that language is understood as the most important driver of national commonness and identification (along with culture, traditions, historical memory) (Arutyunova & Zamyatin, 2020; Samoilova & Komyshkova, 2016).

Contemporary researchers distinguish two main approaches in Russian ethnolinguistics: cognitive, studying the linguistic pictures of the world in their similarities and differences, and communicative, the object of which is the specifics of ethnic speech behavior. It seems that both approaches are very relevant for study of Russian as a foreign language at an advanced level, for example, when mastering the profession of a teacher of Russian language (Latukhina & Marinina, 2020).

Topical educational and methodological publications about Russian language as a foreign language include linguoculturological material necessary for mastering of communicative competence in Russian; ethnological and folklore information is often used as didactic materials. This is also confirmed by research, repeatedly noted in reports of Russian and foreign scientists and methodologists (Gromenko, 2019; Kolesova, 2013; Tueva & Yevtyugina, 2019).

Problem Statement

However, the relevance of the study of Russian as a foreign language in the ethnolinguistic aspect does not solve the problem of the difficulty of mastering this material associated with insufficient methodological elaboration. On the one hand, there is rather rich scientific basis: it’s been developed a methodology for ethnolinguistic research, a body of ethnolinguistic scientific works, encyclopedic and other reference publications have been formed. This requires students not only to know a foreign (Russian) language, but also to have rather serious level of philological (linguistic) competence. Including of an ethnolinguistic component in the practice of Russian as a foreign language teachers education will expand ideas about Russian language model of the world (conceptual content of Russian language), about the problems of cultural contacts and borrowings, cultural and etymological links of vocabulary (including proper nouns) and phraseology, etc., which undoubtedly contributes to the strengthening of professional competencies of the future specialist.

On the other hand, the development of a foreign language should be based on a communicative approach, involving the activation of all types of speech activities in Russian as a foreign language classes: reading, speaking, listening and writing. Ethnolinguistic data, therefore, should be included in the practice of teaching in Russian due to develop communicative competence, deepen knowledge about the speech behavior of Russian-speaking people and develop skills for confident intercultural communication.

Research Questions

On the example of methodological developments based on ethnolinguistic materialhe research considers ways of including ethnolinguistic material in the bachelor's educational program in the field of Pedagogical education, profile "Russian as a foreign language".

The design of educational material is preceded by ethnolinguistic analysis of everyday concepts of Russian culture: (pancake), (pie), (gingerbread). Their ethnocultural semantic, symbolic functions of defined matters in culture, variety of different options of concepts objectification in language and in practice of communicative behavior, local specialities of their application became to subject of the research.

Сlasses in Russian as a foreign language based on the results of this study were designed at the levels of В2/С1.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to compose methodical material for classes in Russian as a foreign language, based on methods of ethnolinguistic analysis of Russian concept vocabulary on the one hand and on the principles of a communicative approach in teaching the Russian as a foreign language on the other hand.

Research Methods

Research methods are 1) general linguistic methods: semantic, etymological analysis of vocabulary, 2) ethnolinguistic methods: semiotic analysis, interpretation of folklore texts; 3) the method of composing (projecting) educational material: selection of vocabulary, texts, audio and video materials, educational adaptation of authentic texts;


The composition of a project of Russian as a foreign language classes based on ethnolinguistic material is preceded by a study of Russian ethnocultural concepts expressed lexically. A subject of such a study are concepts like блин (pancake), пирог (pie), пряник (gingerbread).

Ethnolinguistic analysis of concepts блин (pancake), пирог (pie), пряник (gingerbread)

According to the materials of the ethnolinguistic dictionary "Slavic Antiquities" (SA) (Slavic antiquities 1995–2012), at the verbal-semantic and ethnocultural level these words have synonymic relations: they are included in the hyper-hyponymic paradigm, where the peak is the word хлеб (bread).

For wedding, family and some calendar rites, concepts are interchangeable. That proves their equivalence in the synonymous row. The differences in the ritual function are determined by the dominance of one of the spheres: for example, the theme of the funeral rite dominates for the pancake and the theme of love and marriage – for the gingerbread. So, pancakes as a ritual dish are used not only in funeral and memorial, but also in calendar rites: on saints, Maslenitsa (Shrovetide), on Great Thursday and on Ascension. Gingerbread is mainly used as a gift – a sign of love to young people, girls or brides. In Arkhangelsk region, for example, girls gifted guys a special kind of gingerbread for Christmas to ensure marriage in the new year (SA).

Pie is a kind of dominant in the proposed synonymic row, because in the main rituals it is possible to replace it. In different regions of Russia, the custom was to bring pies for matchmaking, treat them to the bride's friends while preparing for the wedding. At the same time, the fish pie was a mandatory attribute of the memorial ceremony. Pies were also widely used in calendar rites, in Nizhny Novgorod region, for example, pies could replace pancakes on Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) (SA).

Folklore texts confirm the symbolic ritual meaning of the concepts pancake, pie, gingerbread and their functional synonymy. So in folk songs on Maslenitsa (Shrovetide), within the same context, we can find a number of pancake and pie tokens:

  • Ты пришла в воскресенье,
  • Всю недельку веселье,
  • С хмельным пивом и вином,
  • С блинами, пирогами
  • Да с оладьями.
  • (You came on Sunday,
  • All week of fun,
  • With hop beer and wine,
  • With pancakes, pies
  • Yes, with the melons).

Gingerbread in phraseology, for example, is associated with ideas of sweetness, richness, wealth, and prosperity (corresponds to functions in the wedding rite): Тарас есть пряники горазд, а Филат бы и каше рад (Taras eats with pleasure gingerbread, and Filat would be happy whith porridge); Мороки бояться, пряников не едать; (Afraid of problems, do not eat gingerbread).

The memory of folk traditions is also presented in modern communicative practice. The actualization of linguoculturological information in the study of Russian vocabulary in the communicative aspect is devoted to the series of classes we offer. To work with foreign students, it is planned to focus on the peculiarities of traditions related to the cultures studied.

Series of classes on Russian as a foreign «Russian tea tradition»

Our work proposes a system of materials, which sets out the main didactic units of classes. The goal of this series of lessons we set to create conditions for forming linguistic and cultural competence through study of types of baking (pies, gingerbread, pancakes). The general theme is the culture of Russian tea tradition, through which it is supposed to reach the understanding of cultures in the mental code system. The target audience is foreign students (B2/ C1 level).

First lesson reveals the concept of comfort on the example of a Russian summer house. Students get acquainted with words that will be found when studying subsequent topics. An example may be the following text:

Вечер. Прохлада. Тишина. Рядом мурлычет любимая кошка. Ты укутываешься в тёплый плед и ждёшь, когда заварится чай...

Нет ничего ароматнее этого горячего напитка: листья смородины, яблони, вишни, мята, зверобой и ромашка. Бабушка закрыла кран самовара, ты кладёшь ложечку мёда и холодную ягоду клубники. Теперь все лучи летнего солнца у тебя в чашке. Месяц улыбнулся. Ты кусаешь ещё тёплый пирог и со спокойной душой окунаешься в мир августа. Звездопад.

(Evening. Cool. Silence. Nearby is a beloved cat. You wrap yourself in a warm plow and wait for tea to brew...

There is nothing more aromatic than this hot drink: leaves of currant, apple trees, cherries, mint and chamomile. Grandma closed the crane of the samovar, you put a spoon of honey and a cold strawberry. Now all the rays of summer sun are in your cup. Moon smiled. You bite another warm pie and dip into the world of August with a calm soul. Shooting stars).

You can ask students to write out from the text elements that describe a world of comfort, to create a number of same words by themselves, compare the description with the corresponding features of the domestic culture of their countries.

Subsequent topics will directly reflect learning the traditions of Russian baking. Pancakes are closely woven with the Shrovetide rite, so at the lesson there is an acquaintance with the «sister’s-in-law gatherings» (золовкины посиделки), the mother’s-in-law Friday (тёщина пятница), etc. Discussion of Shrovetide effigy may be associated with a workshop on its creation, staging of rites. It will be relevant to get the results of sociological surveys illustrating what filling is more attractive for Russians in the 21st century.

We recommend students to watch fragments from the movie "Siberian Barber" (by Nikita Mikhalkov) and the cartoon "Prince Vladimir," the cartoon "Winged, shaggy and oiled". For reading and auditing, we can offer adapted texts by Taffi "Pancakes," Chekhov "Pancakes," "About frailty". For an additional material a compiled text on the etymology of the word оладья (оладушки, оладушек) (fritter) may be used and also the differences between this type of baking and pancakes.

For humanitarian students in order to analyze concept pancake in a diachronic aspect the folk fairy tale "Goat's Hut" can be used as an additional text. It is necessary to analyze the ritual functions of the text space and time. In the folklore text the image of pancakes is archaic, the dominant idea is funeral. For advanced level students it is possible to use video material, which is represented by the cartoon "Goat Hut." If turn off the sound, we can ask to voice the action, thus, it becomes possible to use communicative exercises with creativity.

We propose to divide the study of concept gingerbread into several stages. First will be a theoretical understanding of the concept, studying the technology of its production, traditions associated with it as a souvenir from Russian towns Tula, Gorodets (Nizhny Novgorod), Pokrov. In this case it will be relevant to watch a video recipe using the Movie Talk method (, reading the poem «Где родился Пряник тульский» ("Where the Tula Gingerbread was born" (Stepanov), learning Russian proverbs. As a homework we recommend students to watch the cartoon "Gingerbread" and discuss the topic of friendship, justice in modern Russian society. To complete the block of theoretical understanding would be logically to have a walk along Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street (the main street in Nizhniy Novgorod) with a trip to souvenir shops, in which the curator of the group needs to control the process of acquaintance with the gingerbread of Russia. Upon completion, students may be invited to participate in the survey "What kind of gingerbread is tastier?"

The second part of the events dedicated to the study of gingerbread is an excursion to Gorodets (Nizhny Novgorod Region) to visit "Gingerbread Museum" and other historical objects associated with Russian traditions (braiding rite, meeting with bread and salt, tea traditions, «dispersal» gingerbread). As a conclusion of the obtained information into the student's active speech activity, we propose the following type of work: it is necessary to come up with a story about the life of a gingerbread in the student's native country, the best work should be finalized by joint efforts for staging.

The completion of the lesson cycle is supposed to be the study of the least concept пирог (pie), which makes it possible to summarize the knowledge. Students have already mastered most of lexis, dismantled the main intents associated with the Russian tea traditions, so the work can be aimed at developing those skills that appear to be most relevant in a particular group.

To activate the formation of a reading skill, various texts from social networks, blogs, proverbs can be used ( As a group task, students can be invited to read the following texts and submit an abstract report with a presentation on the most interesting points: «Без блинов не масленица, а без пирога не праздник» ("Without pancakes, it is not Shrovetide, but without a pie it is not a holyday"), «10 русских пирогов, о существовании которых вы не могли знать» ("10 Russian pies you could not know"), «Русские пироги: история появления, секреты и обряды» ("Russian pies: the history of appearance, secrets and rites", «Самые знаменитые пироги России» ("The most famous pies of Russia").

As a result of the group discussion, the formation of linguoculturological competence is supposed. For Slavic-speaking students, an appeal may be proposed to Goncharov's text "Oblomov" in which attention is drawn to the "giant pie" in Oblomovka. In this case, it is organically desirable to continue studying the image of comfort using the example of the classic literature text.

The video can be represented by an excerpt from the film «Самая обаятельная и привлекательная» ("The most charming and attractive", Bezhanov, 1985) (21: 06-22: 29), for a younger audience can be offered "Ералаш" No. 138 series «Хозяюшка» ("Host"), the cartoon «Лунтик» ("Luntik"), part called "Pie". As a result, it is proposed with the help of a curator to video your recipe for pie and present it to the audience. The level of grammatical complexity is regulated taking into account the characteristics of the group.

As a generalizing material of the task, it is proposed to post in the social media group or record a voice message to the teacher about how the student tried the first time Russian pie, what are the brightest impressions of him left. If possible, students can be asked to create a drawing called "Dream Pie" and write a story for it (you can use any form: storytelling, writing, etc.). The purpose of the exercise is to use grammatical constructions (in this case, these will be new versions of verb control, an expanded volume of previously learned forms), a layer of vocabulary associated with the ritual side of the Russian tea traditions.

The final form of the class may be an essay on the topic "What is Russian comfort and how it smells" (you need to associate with the aroma of freshly baked goods: pies, pancakes, gingerbread).


The proposed methodological developments based on ethnolinguistic approach to study of the conceptual content of Russian language seem to be cross-functional enough to introduce into the practice of teaching Russian language as a foreign language not only in the pedagogical direction of training bachelors who master the profession of a teacher of Russian language, but also in any other direction and profile of training bachelors. The approach is quite applicable in a wide audience of people studying Russian as a foreign language, including in the framework of urgent courses, vacation schools, disciplines of additional education. The theoretical component of such classes can be exposed to a greater or lesser extent depending on the level of actual linguistic training of the student. The focus on the formation of communicative competence increases the motivation for learning Russian language, helps to remove barriers for communication and solves the problems of everyday communication in Russian.


This article is part of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation project "Organization of open education courses in Russian or for the study of Russian as a foreign language" of the departmental target program "Scientific and methodological, methodological and personnel support for teaching the Russian language and languages​ of the peoples of the Russian Federation" of the subprogram "Improvement of education system management" of the state program of the Russian Federation "Development of education".


  • Arutyunova, E., & Zamyatin, K. (2020). An Ethnolinguistic conflict on the compulsory learning of the state languages in the republics of Russia: policies and discourses. The International Journal of Human Rights. DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2020.1804368

  • Berenskoetter, F. (2016). Approaches to Concept Analysis. Millennium: Journal of International Studies,45(2), 151-173. DOI:

  • Boldyrev, N. N. (2020). Kognitivnyj podhod v lingvistike i smezhnyh oblastyah znaniya [Cognitive approach in linguistics and related fields of knowledge]. Issues of cognitive linguistics, 2, 5–25. [in Rus.].

  • Gromenko, M. (2019). Linguoculturological potential of Russian folklore in the practice of teaching Russian as a foreign language. Journal of science. Lyon №1, 28–31.

  • Kolesova, D. V. (2013). Sposoby prezentacii nacional'nyh konceptov na uroke russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo [Ways of presenting national concepts in the lesson of the Russian as a foreign language]. Russian language in the modern world: traditions and innovations in teaching the Russian as a foreign language and in translation, 94–100. [in Rus.].

  • Latukhina, A. L., & Marinina, Yu. A. (2020). Professional'nyj portret prepodavatelya russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo: kompetentnostnyj podhod [Professional portrait of a teacher of Russian as a foreign language: a competent approach]. Vestnik of Minin University, 8(4) [in Rus.]. DOI: 10.26795/2307-1281-2020-8-4-4

  • Samoilova, G. S., & Komyshkova, A. D. (2016). Mysl' semejnaya v russkoj yazykovoj kartine mira: istoriya cennostnogo otnosheniya k sem'e po dannym russkogo yazyka [Family thought in the Russian language picture of the world: the history of value attitude to the family according to the Russian language]. Vestnik of Minin University, 2. [in Rus.].

  • Sherstobitova, I. A. (2020). Koncept v metodike prepodavaniya russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo [Concept in the methodology of teaching the Russian as a foreign language]. Russian-Chinese cooperation: traditions, modernity and prospects, 114. [in Rus.].

  • Shtyrlina, E. G. (2019). Koncept kak lingvodidakticheskaya edinica v obuchenii russkomu yazyku kak inostrannomu [Concept as a linguodidactic unit in teaching the Russian language as a foreign language]. Philology and Culture, 4(58), 147–150. [in Rus.].

  • Slavic antiquities: Ethnolinguistic dictionary (1995–2012) in 5 vols. Moscow. [in Rus.].

  • Slavic ethnolinguistics. Bibliography. (2020). Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Ethnolinguistics and Folklore. [in Rus.].

  • Tueva, K. I., & Yevtyugina, A. A. (2019). Ispol'zovanie lingvokul'turnyh konceptov v processe obucheniya russkomu yazyku kak inostrannomu [Using linguistic and cultural concepts in the process of teaching the Russian as a foreign language]. Sociocultural space of Russia and abroad: society, education, language, 8, 144–151. [in Rus.].

  • Vereshchagin, E. M., & Kostomarov, V. G. (1990). Yazyk i kul'tura: lingvostranovedenie v prepodavanii russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo [Language and culture: linguistic country knowledge in teaching the Russian language as a foreign language]. 4th ed., Redesign. and additional. Rus. Language. [in Rus.].

  • Vorkachev, S. G. (2016). Ex Pluribus Unum: lingvokul'turnyj koncept kak sinteznoe obrazovanie [Ex Pluribus Unum: Linguocultural Concept as an Integral Entity]. Russian Journal Of Linguistics, 20(2), 17–30. [in Rus.].

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

01 September 2021

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




The Russian language, methods of teaching, Russian language studies, Russian linguistic culture, Russian literature

Cite this article as:

Komyshkova, A., Samoylova, G., & Tashchilina, E. (2021). Ethnolinguistic Component Of Conceptual Analysis In Classes In Russian As A Foreign. In V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 36-44). European Publisher.