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This article considers the lexis of legal discourse. The material of the study is the results of a survey conducted among the students of the Law Faculty of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, who have the skills to compile and translate legal texts, in particular, international treaties. 58 Bachelor students of the third and fourth year of studies took part in the survey. The analysis of the survey results showed the presence of systemаtic errors and revealed some problem areas in the usage of lexical units while writing and editing texts of this type. The object of the study is legal discourse in Russian and English. The subject of the study is the lexis of international documents and its translation into Russian and English. The relevance of the analysis is supported by the institutional nature of legal discourse texts, i.e. by the necessity of observing certain rules and the mode of communication, as well as by the prescriptive function of legal discourse texts, which requires particular accuracy and absence of contextual synonymy when using lexical units. The authors of the article classified the lexis of this type of texts, which is potentially capable of correlating in the source text and the text-translation, as equivalent contextual-semantic, partially equivalent contextual-semantic and nonequivalent contextual-semantic; they also suggested its description by types and gave examples. The conclusion was that a special set of exercises is needed aimed at developing the necessary skills of differentiating lexical units into types and their translation taking into account the units type in the created or edited text. The necessary recommendation for students will also be the creation of their own individual vocabulary of partially-equivalent and nonequivalent English lexis. Based on the results of the study, the authors introduced a textbook.

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Introduction The ability to use lexical units in a particular discourse is a necessary competence of an interpreter. Discursive practice is the link between texts and social practice. Text analysis, including consideration of lexical level units, is included in the discursive analysis along with the description of the social conditions that generate the text and that affect its perception [1]. As a rule, the text is not “self-sufficient for an adequate interpretation, therefore, the ascent to discourse, to knowledge that has remained beyond the limits stated in the text, is natural” [2. P. 100]. Michel Foucault defines discourse as a connected sequence of statements that are subject to the same formation system [3]. Thus, legal discourse is a related sequence of statements on legal issues defined by the context of the situation and the culture. To the main functions of legal discourse we relate the following: 1) informative function, as almost any text carries information; 2) prescriptive function, as legal statements are direct or indirect orders to the recipient to perform certain actions or to refrain from committing them; 3) declarative function that we see in the proclamation of certain social and legal designations and ideas; 4) reasoning function that is inherent in the genres of legal discourse, among which the central types are various types of complaints, statements of claim, recalls of the statement of claim and, of course, legal decisions. Their communicative goal is to justify one or another position. One of the dominant features of legal communication is its institutionality. The institutional nature of legal discourse manifests itself in the subordination of its subject to the rules established in the discursive community, which determine “what can and what should be said, they imperiously impose a certain appraisal and cognitive basis and establish modes of communication” [3]. According to O.F. Rusakova, institutional communication is inherent in “a stable system of status-role relationships that has developed in the communicative space of the vital activity of a particular social institution. Within the framework of this system the power functions of symbolic coercion are realized in the form of a normative prescription and the legitimation of certain methods of worldview, world-feeling, vectors of value orientations and behavior patterns” [4. P. 263]. Participants in legal communication interact in accordance with the system of role prescriptions and norms of behavior. According to I.V. Palashevskaya, in the actions of participants in legal discourse coming from different legal authorities, there is a certain coordination that allows us to consider them as part of a wider institutional system [5. P. 263]. In modern linguistics, the most significant works devoted to legal discourse are the works of A.K. Soboleva [6], M.V. Borovkova [7], V.Z. Demyankova [8], L.E. Popova [9], D. Stone [10], T. Fiveg [11], M.A. Shirinkina [12]. To determine the language tools for forming skills to compile and edit texts of legal discourse, in particular, international treaties, it is necessary to identify difficulties that arise in the process of creating authentic documents. Analysis of the linguistic features of official and business documents, as well as the results of the diagnostic survey conducted at the 3rd and 4th year of the Law Faculty of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia made it possible to identify difficulties and mistakes that arise when creating and editing texts of international treaties. Students had certain difficulties in arranging linguistically the text content plan, as well as in understanding the meanings of the semantic parts that make up the inner and outer form. It should be noted that in one language values can be expressed by lexical means, in another language the same values are expressed by grammatical means. Under the semantic values it is necessary to understand the combination of different types of semantic correspondences - referential, pragmatic and also intra-linguistic. Equivalence of texts, in this case - texts of international treaties, cannot be understood as the preservation of all values, because some of the above types are only partially preserved. The referential values are fully transmitted, and this is due to the fact that the system of referential values of language units reflects the practical experience of the entire community speaking this language. And since the situations of reality in speech practice coincide more than they diverge, then the referential values reflecting the same type of situations in different languages, in most cases also coincide. To a lesser degree, pragmatic values are transmitted, since they are related to the category of relationship. The attitude to the same situations can differ not only for individuals, but for different language collectives, and therefore pragmatic values in different languages may differ. However, official-business style texts are characterized by the preservation of pragmatic values to the full extent. Intra-linguistic values are transmitted to the minimum degree or may not be preserved at all. This is due to the fact that each language is a kind of system, units and links of which are specific. While editing bilingual documents, a specialist identifies errors in them. In the course of the work, thus, sometimes one has to resort to changing words, phrases and idiomatic expressions, i.e. we are talking about selecting the correct variant of contextual-semantic units. Our analysis of the language of texts of international treaties gives ground to conclude that lexical units are potentially capable of manifesting themselves in various types of semantic correspondences, such as: 1) equivalent contextual-semantic units; 2) partially equivalent contextual-semantic units: (many-valued, undifferentiated and super-differentiated, with a difference in pragmatic meanings). 1. Equivalent contextual-semantic units In texts relating to legal discourse, equivalent contextual-semantic units can be singled out - “words that are mono-semantic and have only one lexical meaning in both languages” [13. P. 75]. The examples of these may be: - names of months, days of the week and numbers (January - январь, Monday - понедельник, one thousand - одна тысяча); - international legal terms that can be characterized as legal terms that have been unified in international legal documents and that are interpreted by governments equally (extradition - выдача преступников); - scientific and technical terms (hexenal - гексенал, pyrrolidine - пирролидин, hydrogen - водород). For example, in the English language: “Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated biphenyls are unintentionally formed and released from thermal processes involving organic matter and chlorine as a result of incomplete combustion or chemical reactions”. In the Russian language: “Непреднамеренное образование и выброс дибензо-п-диоксинов и дибензофуранов, гексахлорбензола и полихлорированных дифенилов происходят при осуществлении термических процессов в присутствии органического вещества и хлора в результате неполного сгорания или прохождения химических реакций”. Sometimes the same term can refer to different scientific fields. In this case, specialists correlate the term with the corresponding area and establish the equivalence of units, for example: bill: “The time of payment of a bill payable at a fixed period after sight is determined by the date of acceptance or, if the bill is dishonored by non-acceptance, by the date of protest or, if protest is dispensed with, by the date of dishonor”. «Срок платежа по переводному векселю, подлежащему оплате в установленный промежуток времени от предъявления, определяется датой акцепта, а в случае отказа в акцепте - датой протеста или, если протест не требуется, датой отказа в акцепте» [14]. In this case, the two lexical-semantic variants differ in the context: a bill and an account. These kinds of words do not cause difficulties when editing texts, as trainees, in essence, rely in the process of their comparison on “material that does not contain differentiating features that could be inappropriately transferred from one language to another” [15. P. 61]. The same group includes special lexis, which has a fixed variant in the language of diplomatic legal documents in English and Russian, in particular: resolution - резолюция; invite (in resolutions, conventions) - предлагать, whereas - принимая во внимание; a party - сторона; done - совершено. “Done at Vienna, this eighteenth day of April one thousand nine hundred and sixty-one”. “Совершено в Вене восемнадцатого апреля тысяча девятьсот шестьдесят первого года”. “For the purposes of this Convention statements made by and other conduct of a party are to be interpreted according to his intent where the other party knew or could not have been unaware what that intent was” [16]. “Для целей настоящей Конвенции заявления и иное поведение стороны толкуются в соответствии с ее намерением, если другая сторона знала или не могла не знать, каково было это намерение”. Business standards widely used in the compared documents are presented in the form of ready-made stamps and clichés. “Special business standards are subject to terminology. It leads to the stability of word combinations and the impossibility of replacing their components” [17. P. 92]. For example: denunciation of a treaty - денонсирование договора; provisional agenda - предварительная повестка дня; Secretary General - Генеральный Секретарь; to affix a seal - приложить печать; to ratify a convention - ратифицировать конвенцию. These business standards (stamps and clichés) in the process of training the skill of compilation and editing official business documents should be memorized by heart. The same kind of work should be done with Latin and French borrowings, for example: ad hoc committee - ad hoc комитет; ad valorem duties - адвалерные пошлины, de jure - де-юре, юридически; a posteriori - апостериори, эмпирически, из опыта, по опыту; contra pacem - против мира; res communis - общая вещь; res judicata - принцип недопустимости. The components of such units are not perceived as being dismembered from the grammatical point of view, the whole “unit is used in documents as a cliché, as a single whole” [17. P. 94]. Naturally, a group of contextual-semantic units of this type is legitimate to refer to equivalent units that have a fixed variant of use in international treaties. A certain part of the contextual-semantic units is represented by phrases. These contextual-semantic units are characterized by the fact that they “do not have any semantic shifts, the value is made up of the values of the words individually included in it, while they are not metaphorically reinterpreted and are not extensively applied, there is no limitation (in any case, may not be) on the compatibility of separate elements, the syntactic links are distinct and not obscured” [18. P. 36-37]. The stability of the contextual-semantic units-phrases is based on the regular frequency in this discourse, which conditioned their ability to be reproduced in the speech as “ready-made linguistic units”, in other words, the stability of the formal-grammatical structure. For example: this agreement shall remain open for signature by the governments - настоящее соглашение открыто для подписания правительствами; instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Director-General - документы о ратификации направляются Генеральному Директору; this agreement shall remain in force until denounced by one of the High Contracting Parties - настоящее соглашение сохраняется в силе до денонсации его одной из Высоких Договаривающихся Сторон; for the purpose of its obligations under the Convention - в целях (во исполнение) своих обязательств, вытекающих из конвенции. By themselves, contextual-semantic units related to the lexis of legal discourse are complex in the sense that they are new to students. Consequently, students must master distinctive Russian contextual and semantic units, as well as corresponding English ones, which can be used in the texts of international treaties. In the course of the diagnostic survey, the task was to select from the given series of contextual-semantic units: 1) single-valued words having in both languages only one lexical meaning; 2) scientific and technical terms that are related to one area of activity; 3) special lexis, which has a fixed variant in the language of diplomatic legal documents in English and Russian; 4) stamps and clichés, which cannot be replaced due to the stability of the components included in these phrases. The survey revealed that about 27% of students (16 out of 58 people) selected incorrectly contextual-semantic units and determined the wrong equivalent. For example, the initial words of the preamble, such as deeply concerned were given the equivalent of озабоченный, instead of выражая озабоченность; having examined - рассмотренный instead of рассмотрев; The present Convention shall be open to accession by ... - Настоящая конвенция должна быть открыта для присоединения ... instead of Настоящая Конвенция открыта для присоединения ... Inadequate replacement of words, word combinations and phrases in the texts is explained by the lack of solid knowledge among students of typical contextual-semantic units for linguistic arrangement of texts of international treaties. 2. Partially equivalent contextual-semantic units This group of lexical units includes many-valued contextual-semantic units. The vast majority of words of any language is characterized by polysemy, and the system of meanings of a word in one language, as a rule, does not completely coincide with the system of meanings of words in another language. We have found out that sometimes the range of meanings of a word in the English language is wider than that of the corresponding word in Russian, i.e. the word in English has all the same meanings as the word in the Russian language, but, in addition, there are meanings that are transmitted in other words in Russian. This kind of polysemy is called inclusion [13. P. 77]. For example, according to the dictionary, характер in Russian, like the English word character, has the following meanings: 1) character (a set of mental properties of a person); 2) character (firmness, will); 3) character (property, quality, originality). But the English noun character has more meanings: 4) reputation; 5) characteristic, written recommendation; 6) distinctive feature; 7) figure, personality; 8) literary image; 9) printed sign, letter, symbol - in the Russian language it is expressed in other words. The Russian word жертва (victim) has the following correspondences in English: 1) sacrifice; 2) victim. L.K. Latyshev in the book “Technology of Translation” [19] notes that the meaning of a multi-valued word is clearly defined by a minimal context, so the polysemy of lexical units does not create great difficulties with the choice of adequate correspondence for the trainee leaning on the context. But in order to give an adequate equivalent of the contextual-semantic unit of this subgroup, you must first determine the desired meaning, and then within this meaning find a suitable variant for the context. The most common were multi-valued words, in which the intersection of referential values in English and Russian was noted. The aggregate values of a unit of one language may not cover the entire volume of the unit value of the second language, i.e. part of the volume value of a unit of the second language may not be covered by the totality of its dictionary equivalents. This correspondence of values is fraught with an error in the choice of the equivalent offered by the dictionary, if none of the options in this context is suitable. For example: State Parties shall take into account the particular problems faced by rural women and significant roles which rural women play in the economic survival of their families...; Государства-участники принимают во внимание особые проблемы, с которыми сталкиваются женщины, проживающие в сельской местности, и значительную роль, которую они играют в обеспечении экономического благосостояния своих семей... [20]. None of the options offered by the dictionary for the translation of the word survival can be used in this context, and on the basis of the first dictionary meaning of the word survival, one should find the necessary option: survival → standard of living → adequate level of well-being. In such cases, students should extract the basic meaning of the word from the dictionary and then logically output the contextual equivalent. The complexity of editing bilingual texts of international documents was also represented by contextually meaningful units with a wide undifferentiated meaning. The meaning of this phenomenon is as follows: “One word of a language expressing a broader (undifferentiated) concept, that is, denoting a broader class of denotata, in another language may correspond to two or more words, each of which expresses a narrower, differentiated concept comparing with the first language, that is, refers to a more restricted class of denotata” [13. P. 78], for example: дело - affair, business, work; occupation, pursuit; line; просить - ask, beg, request. In such cases, it is necessary to use a methodical comparison technique in teaching practice, which helps to replace contextual-semantic units in Russian texts, since English lexical units do not inherent in expressing the difference between certain concepts, while in Russian this takes place, and more specific private concepts are used. For example: He goes by car - Он едет на машине. He goes on foot - Он идет пешком. In some cases, a specialist could resort to replacing a lexical unit expressing a narrow (differentiated) concept, with a broader meaning unit: Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction. Каждое государство-участник обеспечивает, чтобы его компетентные органы проводили быстрое и беспристрастное расследование, когда имеются достаточные основания полагать, что пытка была применена на любой территории, находящейся под его юрисдикцией. Equivalence of bilingual texts assumes the greatest possible affinity not only of the referential but also of the pragmatic value of correlated words, when the latter reflects the speaker's attitude to the information contained in the word. Thus, pairs of words were found which had the same object-logical value, but the pragmatic one differed and was embodied, as a rule, through a certain stylistic characteristic differed. For example: to end - to terminate, to begin - to commence. As the results of the diagnostic survey showed, the task of which was: 1) to “include” a multi-valued (Russian and English) word in this context; 2) to choose for the given context (Russian and English) contextual-semantic unit with a wide undifferentiated value; 3) to choose a stylistically justified contextual-semantic unit for the given context, - equivalent units were particularly difficult for the students. This is evidenced by the fact that 54% of students (32 out of 58 people) misused them in the texts. For example: Все государства могут считаться имеющими правовой интерес в защите обязательств государства по отношению к международному сообществу в целом. Это обязательства erga omnes. Instead of the noun obligations, the word engagements was used; Когда жертва является гражданином данного государства... . Instead of the noun victim the word sacrifice was used. 3. Nonequivalent contextual-semantic units By nonequivalent contextual-semantic units we mean lexical units (words and stable word combinations) of one language that have neither complete nor partial equivalents among lexical units of another language [13. P. 94]. For example, realities are understood as “features of life, everyday routine, the government structure of each country, its traditions, customs and beliefs - all that makes up its distinctive, national appearance” [21. P. 8]. Lexis reflecting these realities belongs to the group of nonequivalent contextual-semantic units. With reference to the texts of legal discourse, contextual-semantic units that designate only political institutions and social phenomena characteristic of a given country are legitimate to be enlisted in this group. For the Russian Federation, the following government institutions are characteristic: the Federal Assembly, the State Duma, the Federation Council; for Great Britain: the House of Commons, the House of Lords; for the USA: the Congress, The Senate, etc. To the group of nonequivalent lexis, we also relate part of the national legal terms, i.e. words and word-combinations with the help of which the contents of regulatory and legal prescriptions of are expressed and fixed. For example: районный суд (district court) is known to the legislation of the Russian Federation and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus, but unknown in the legislation of the United Kingdom and the United States. Conversely, the terms that are known to the laws of the United States and Great Britain, may be not specific to the laws of the Russian Federation and Belarus, and also may not be reflected in the Russian language, for example: “court of assize” (суд ассизов) - Division of the High Court hearing cases involving defendants accused of felonies. The prosecution was initiated by magistrates: Courts of Assize are served by judges who travel around county towns or by so-called Courts of Quarter Sessions, which convene four times a year in a number of counties and boroughs. For example, L.S. Barkhudarov notes that designations and concepts are included in the Russian language: палата общин - House of Commons, лорд-хранитель печати - Lord Privy Seal, спикер - Speaker and many other words and phrases. They are of English origin and got their consolidation in dictionaries with the result that they cannot be nonequivalent contextual-semantic units with respect to the Russian language [13. P. 95]. This statement, in our view, is justified in order to translate, but to edit bilingual texts of international treaties such words and phrases need to be replaced both in the text of the contract and in the translation. This is due to the fact that an international treaty can be implemented in the legal system of the government; i.e. the implementation of international law norms in practical activities of governments and other entities is carried out [22. P. 116]. Further in the field of view there are lexical units, which can be described as random lacunae. These are the units of the dictionary of one language, which for some reason do not correspond to the lexical composition of another language. They stand for the concept to be translated into another language by a descriptive way, for example: the word сутки is transmitted either by specifying the number of hours, twenty-four hours, or if the-clock action is highlighted, by the word combination day and night. In general, nonequivalent lexis can be transmitted to another language in such ways as: transliteration and transcription: acceptance - акцепт, offer - оферта, It is generally more difficult to conclude that there has been an acceptance than that there has been an offer. -Вообще гораздо труднее установить наличие акцепта, чем оферты; endorsement - индоссамент, A restrictive endorsement cannot be changed. - Ограниченный индоссамент не может быть изменен; calquing: grand jury - большое жюри; backbencher - заднескамеечник; brain drain - утечка мозгов; descriptive translation: act of God - стихийное бедствие, действие непреодолимой силы, форс-мажор; landslide - noбеда на выборах с большим перевесом голосов; brinkmanship искусство держать мир на грани войны; close translation: solicitor - поверенный, стряпчий, адвокат. However, many students - 46% (26 of 58 people) - had difficulties in choosing the correct variant of the contextual-semantic unit of this group. This is understandable, because the goal of achieving the authenticity of the texts of international treaties is in equal understanding by the parties that conclude the treaty. For example, if the term “magistrate court” is used in the text of an international treaty in English, then in the translation of the text the use of the term магистратский суд or мировой суд would be wrong from a professional point of view, because Russian and Belarusian judicial systems are not familiar with such an institution. In case of difficulties, it is necessary to correct both texts, that is, to replace the term known to one law and unknown to another, with the term with a broader meaning: magistrate court and мировой суд can be replaced by судебный орган, в юрисдикции которого находится данные дела - a judicial body which jurisdiction covers such cases or уполномоченный орган - authorized body. Sometimes translation is possible, when a detailed description of the meaning of terms is given or “the term in brackets is given in a different language, this way conditionally putting the sign of equality between the meanings of both terms” [23. P. 48]. When fixing nonequivalent contextual-semantic units, one should take into account its connection with other units in the sentence. Often the replacement of one unit leads to the need to replace other units of the sentence, respectively, morphological and syntactic changes occur. It is known that in the sentence words are connected with each other through a syntactic link, word combinations can be stable or free. “In free word combinations words retain their meanings, so when translating such word combinations it is important to know the translation of their constituent components” [24. P. 58]. But the elements of the word combination are often in complex semantic relations with each other, and the choice of an adequate equivalent for translation should be determined by “the norms of semantic matching, which in linguistics is understood as the rule requiring that the components of the phrase contain general semes or at least not contradictory with each other” [25. P. 25]. When fixing a word combination, which for a number of reasons does not have a direct equivalent, one should first find the key word in the phrase. Further on, if the difficulty is caused by the definitive word, and not by the key word, it is necessary to use the rule of semantic matching. According to this rule, students need to establish the meaning of the definitive word, the seme in its semantic structure, which should be realized in the context of the translated word combination, and then they should replace the inappropriate word combination with the one having a similar seme. For example: подтверждать международный договор - to ratify a treaty; подтверждать обвинение в суде - to substantiate a charge. In these examples, for different key words, the same defining word is used, and both word combinations have a common seme ‘to confirm the correctness of something’. At the same time, they also have differential semes: in the first case, this is ‘to seal by signatures’, and in the second case, the differential seme is ‘to provide facts to confirm something’. Obviously, the considered transformations were carried out at the level of component equivalence, i.e. trainees had to understand that in Russian and English the meaning may not be a word as such, but a semantic attribute, and when it is the only one, different words are used for its transmission. During the comparison of texts, contextual and semantic units were distinguished at the level of word combinations with formal non-expressiveness of semantic components. In this case, you need to use the methodical addition method. In particular, in the documents of the official business style, there are often attributive word combinations, the first member of which can be expressed in Russian otherwise - not by a word but by a subordinate clause or a participial construction. For example: oil countries - страны, производящие нефть; wage deadlock - тупик, в который зашли переговоры о повышении заработной платы; Peace Observation Commission - Комиссия, осуществляющая наблюдение за поддержанием мира; World Food Council - Всемирный Совет, занимающийся вопросами продовольствия. The opposite method - опущение (omission) - was used in the presence of semantic redundancy of contextual-semantic units, i.e. when a literal translation with their preservation would be contrary to the norms of the language. For example: Встреча на высшем уровне - Summit. “The choice of the grammatical form in translation depends not only and not so much on the grammatical form of the original as on the nature and meaning of lexical units receiving a certain grammatical form in the statement” [26. P. 150]. Because of this, grammatical units of the Russian or English languages may have no single correspondences that are constantly or in most cases would be used in translation, when the given unit appears in the original. When editing official-business style texts, a very common methodical technique involving the replacement of parts of speech can be used. It is convenient to consider this using the example of prepositional-attributive phrases. In two-termed word-combinations, the first term can be expressed in Russian by: - an adjective: emergency meeting - внеочередное/экстренное заседание; - a noun with preposition: disarmament conference - конференция по разоружению; - a noun in the genitive case: incomes policy - политика доходов, budget increase - увеличение бюджета. In the latter case, in addition to replacing the part of the speech, the elements were also rearranged in the word combination, i.e. the arrangement of elements in the text in one language in comparison with the text in the other language was changed. Conclusions The study of the special aspects of the legal discourse and lexis used in it shows that the lexical unit is a way of storing information and actualizes certain vision and knowledge of the situation. Our analysis of official and business documentation made it possible to determine the main language means of lexical level (equivalent contextual-semantic units, partially equivalent contextual-semantic units, nonequivalent contextual-semantic units) for creating authentic texts of international treaties. The results of the diagnostic survey revealed a number of difficulties encountered by students in using contextual-semantic units in texts of legal discourse, which led to the development of a special set of exercises to develop the skills necessary to create authentic texts of international treaties. Particular attention is paid to working with partially equivalent units of the Russian and English languages. A recommendation for students is to work at creating their own individual vocabulary of partially-equivalent and nonequivalent lexis of the English language. © Алонцева Н.В., Ермошин Ю.А.

About the authors

Natalia V Alontseva

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.
Email: alontseva_nv@rudn.university
11198 Moscow Miklukho-Maklaya st., 6, Russia Associate professor of the department of foreign languages, RUDN University; academic interests: pragmatics, discourse analysis, methods of teaching foreign languages

Yury A Ermoshin

RUDN University

Email: ermoshin_yua@rudn.university
11198 Moscow Miklukho-Maklaya st., 6, Russia Associate professor of the department of foreign languages, PhD in Pedagogy, RUDN University; academic interests: pragmatics, discourse analysis, methods of teaching foreign languages


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