Precedent toponym as a political symbol

Cover Page


Precedent toponyms in the political discourse often mean the symbols of the state power: the Kremlin, the White House, Wall Street, Berlin, London, etc. This article is devoted to the analysis of meanings of the precedent toponym “Red Square”. The continuous sampling from the Russian National Corpus, some text fragments from fiction, oral speech and Internet resources were used as the study material. The toponym meaning in the concrete context was determined with the help of semantic analysis aimed at defining of the main seme. The obtained meanings were classified. As a result 16 semantic meanings of the precedent toponym “Red Square” were identified. In the Russian linguistic view of the world the toponym “Red Square” has denotative, connotative, precedent meanings added by the unique associative background. The comprehension and evaluation of these meanings are different in the groups of native speakers and non-native speakers of the Russian language. This toponym has gradually formed the image that has become the marked sign of the world culture possessing its own system of notions and associations. For people studying the Russian language as a foreign language some well known precedent toponyms such as Moscow, the Kremlin, Red Square have only political meaning as the symbols of Russia and the state power. Forming the cultural competence while working with foreign students it is useful to find out the full range of meanings of the precedent toponym.

About the authors

Irina Vladimirovna Bugaeva

Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Author for correspondence.
SPIN-code: 4250-2339
29, Sretenka str., Moscow, Russia, 127051

Doctor of Philology, Professor, professor of the Chair of Foreign Languages at Moscow State University of Psychology and Education


  1. Batalov, A.L. & Belyaev, L.A. (2010). Sacred space of medieval Moscow. Moscow: Theory. Design. Information. Cartography. (In Russ).
  2. Berezovich, E.L. (2001). To the construction of a complex model of toponymic semantics, Izvestiya Ural State University, 20. 9—15. (In Russ).
  3. Bolotinа, K.E. (2016). Precedent phenomena in the language picture of the world of Quebecers, Russian journal of Linguistics Vestnik RUDN, 20(2), 61—76. (In Russ).
  4. Great encyclopedic dictionary (1980). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia. (In Russ).
  5. Bugayeva, I.V. (2017). Red Square in the city space and the Russian mentality In Onomastics of the Volga Region: materials of the XVI International Scientific Conference, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first Volga Region onomastic conference and the memory of its organizer V.A. Nikonov (Ulyanovsk, September 20—23, 2017), S.V. Ryabushkina, V.I. Supruna, E.V. Zakharova, E.F. Galushko (Ed.). In 2 vols. Vol. 1. Ulyanovsk: FGBOU V “Ul’GPU them. I.N. Ulyanov”, рр. 17—23. (In Russ).
  6. Bugayeva, I.V. (2007). Background semantics of toponyms, Bulletin of Tambov University. Series: The humanities, 4(48), 13—17. (In Russ).
  7. Vasiliev, A.D. (2014). Some precedent toponyms in the linguistic consciousness of Krasnoyarsk residents, Vestnik of the Krasnoyarsk State University. Рed. University, 3(29), 164—166. (In Russ).
  8. Vasilyeva, S.P. (2006). Russian toponymy of the Yenisei Siberia: a picture of the world [dissertation]. Krasnoyarsk. (In Russ).
  9. Vorobiev, V.V. (1997). Linguoculturology (theory and methods). Moscow: Publishing house of the PFUR. (In Russ).
  10. Golomidova, M.V. (1998). Artificial nomination in Russian onomastics: Monograph. Ekaterinburg: the Urals. state. ped. University. (In Russ).
  11. Gorbanevsky, M.V. (1994). Russian urban toponymy: The problem of historical and cultural study and modern lexicographic description [dissertation]. Moscow. (In Russ).
  12. Gudkov, D.B. (1999). Precedent names and problems of precedent. Moscow: Izd-vo MGU.
  13. Dzhanieva, V.V. (2008). Lingvokognitivnye basis of communication: inokulturnye precedent phenomena [abstract of dissertation]. Vladikavkaz. (In Russ).
  14. Dorzhieva, Т.S. (2010). Structure of toponymic semantics: an associative component, Bulletin of the Buryat state. University, 10, 111—116. (In Russ).
  15. Red Square // Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron: 86 t. St. Petersburg, 1890—1907. (accessed 06.01.18).
  16. Levina, E.M. (2016). Could there be a precedent toponym? Philological Sciences. Questions of theory and practice, Tambov: The diploma, 4(58): in 3 hours Part 2, 115—119. (In Russ).
  17. Lenintseva, V.A. & Burukina, T.N. (2015).The precedent names of the Chinese national culture. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 2, 70—89. (In Russ).
  18. Nikonov, V.A. (1965). Introduction to toponymy. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ).
  19. Superanskaya, A.V. (2007). General theory of the proper name. Moscow: LKI. (In Russ).
  20. Tolstoy, N.I. (1970). Once again about the semantics of the proper name. InActual problems of lexicology. Minsk. pp. 56—399. (In Russ).
  21. Tolstoy, N.I. & Tolstaya, S.M. (1995). Cultural semantics of the Slavic * vessel- // Tolstoy N.I. Languages and folk culture: Essays on Slavic mythology and ethnolinguistics. M.: Indrik. (In Russ).



Abstract - 628

PDF (Russian) - 588




Copyright (c) 2018 Bugaeva I.V.

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

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies