REVIEW of Zoya G. Proshina, Anna A. Eddy (2016) RUSSIAN ENGLISH (HISTORY, FUNCTIONS, AND FEATURES). Cambridge University Press, The University Publishing House, 329 pp. Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

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Abstract



The remarkable book “Russian English (History, Functions, and Features)” edited by Zoya G. Proshina (Moscow State University) and Anna A. Eddy (University of Michigan, Flint) is a milestone in the development and understanding of World Englishes from a Russian perspective. The authors of “Russian English (History, Functions, and Features)” are prominent scholars who are well-known not only to Russian scholars, but also abroad. The book focuses on the development of World Englishes and new English varieties with Russian English among them. The process of globalization in modern world has affected all spheres of our life - politics, economy, education and culture. To realize these processes people should have a common means of communication - a lingua franca or a language for international communication. The English language has become this lingua franca, as about 1.5 billion people speak English today. Currently, mother-tongue and non mother-tongue speakers of English utilize it on a global scale. The English language is a tool to highlight national identity, youth subcultures and to share national cultural heritage with the whole English-speaking world through mass media, music and literature. Within this context, Russian English is one of many varieties of English functioning in the world. Geographically, Russia occupies the intermediate position between Europe and Asia, connecting and separating them at the same time. As the English language has become a global language in recent years, Russia doesn’t stand apart from this process. English is widely used by Russian citizens not only in the virtual world, but also for teaching and learning purposes, travelling, advertizing, spreading Russian culture throughout the world, so many prominent linguists declare the existence and functioning of the Russian English variety as an English language variety of the Expanding Circle. However, some linguists while not denying the existence of Russian English, still consider it a disputable phenomenon. The book consists of three parts, with Part 1describing Russian English as a variety, Part 2 dealing with functions of English in various domains in Russia, and Part 3 covering the attitudinal aspect towards this variety. In Part 1 “Russian English as a Variety” the authors introduce readers to the history of language contacts between Russian and English, the result of which was Russianization of English and Englishization of Russian. They also consider the place of Russian English in the family of World Englishes and some problematic issues of Russian linguaculture. Part 1 has four chapters. Chapter 1 “Russian and English contact: past and present” is written by A. Eddy and Z. Proshina, in which the authors examine the history of Russian-English linguistic and cultural contacts at a large period of time (XVI-XX centuries), paying special attention to lexical borrowings, morphology, changes in Russian written discourse, and ideology. The authors also discuss the impact of glob-alization on Russian speech community both within Russia and overseas. Chapter 2 “Russian English in the family of World Eng-lishes”, written by Z. Pro¬shina, considers Russian English as a sociolinguistic phenomenon and characterizes Russian English functional zones (acrolect, mesolect, and basilect) and their functions. Chapter 3 “Russian English Linguaculture”, written by Z. Proshina, A. Rivlina, S. Ter-Minasova, V. Kabakchi and E. Beloglasova, provides a comparison between Russian and English. The authors consider common features and distinc-tions between Russian and English on different language levels, the impact of English culture via the English language through mass media, advertisement, etc. on Russian culture and also characterize Russian culture-loaded concepts within English-speaking communities. Chapter 4 “Linguistic Features of Russian English”, written by V. Zavyalova, Z. Proshina, A. Ionina, A. Eddy, and T. Ivankova, deals with the description of linguistic features of Russian English (phonetic, orthographic, grammatical, lexical, and pragmatic). Part 2 “Domains of English use in Russia” offers a fundamental analysis of the English language functions as a lingua franca in the domains of politics, business and tourism, as a tool in youth subcultures, education and scholarship, and as a creative means in mass media, adver-tisement, music and literature. It includes nine chapters written by Russian researchers and covers the main spheres of English use in Russia: politics, business, education, mass media, internet, tourism, youth subcultures, advertizing, and literature. The authors give a brief outline of the problem, analyze reasons and factors de-termining the domains where English is used in different spheres of Russian life, supporting their points of view with the help of insightful and recent examples of Russian English. Part 3 “Attitudes of Russian speakers toward Russian English” engages with the major role of English in ex-pressing a speaker’s cultural and personal identity within the global community through attitudes of Russian speakers toward Russian English. Special attention is paid to the problem of linguistic purism and resistance to and gain in the World Englishes paradigm. It consists of four chapters, written by L. Ustinova, O. Lazaretnaya, Z. Proshina and M. Zeledko. Here the authors highlight different attitudes toward the use of English in Russia: from tough competition between two international languages to quite positive attitudes towards English, especially among younger generations, as a secondary means for self-identity not only in multicultural and multilingual Russia, but also on a global scale. It proves that Russian English has already occupied its position within the family of World Englishes. The book “Russian English (History, Functions, and Features)” edited by Zoya G. Proshina (Moscow State Uni-versity) and Anna A. Eddy (University of Michigan, Flint) is essential reading for students and researchers across a wide range of related fields. It will contribute to better understanding of regional varieties of English which function as languages of wider communication and contribute greatly to the English language in general, as well as to the varieties themselves. Nowadays we cannot speak about the English language as a language of one culture, but instead that of many. This accessible and engaging work presents a great number of concepts within the field of Russian linguistics, as well as introducing readers to outstanding Russian scholars in the field. The authors have put forward a profound, unprecedented, and thorough analysis of the English in Russia, as no other volumes on this interesting and timely issue have been published so far. Within the paradigm of I believe that the book will be appreciated by the readers of any profession, age, and social background seeking to understand the ways to bridge the gap between different languages and cultures.

Irina N Khokhlova

Vitus Bering Kamchatka State University

Email: irisha.n.56@mail.ru
Irina N. Khokhlova, PhD, Professor of English Philology Department, Dean of Faculty of Philology and Cross-Cultural Communication at Vitus Bering Kamchatka State University. Research interests: English theoretical phonetics, South African English.

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