The Reflection of the Hierarchy of Values in the Proverbial Fund of the Russian and French languages

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The paper deals with the research focused on the reflection of Russian and French basic values in proverbs - language units that most clearly demonstrate the value systems. Based on the fact that each nation has a certain hierarchically organized set of values, which partially coincide with other cultures but can have their own characteristics, it is important to identify both their universal and culture-specific features. This will allow us not only to build the hierarchy of values of a certain nation but also to conduct a comparative analysis of different languages and cultures from an axiological perspective. To get a general idea of the reflection of values and their hierarchy in proverbs, we have conducted our research on the basis of Russian and French lexicographical material. According to our hypothesis, the thematic classification of proverbs in dictionaries and the corresponding category titles enable us to reveal directly or indirectly the values of a particular nation, and the quantitative correlation of proverbs within each theme can give us an idea of the hierarchy of values: a bigger or smaller number of proverbs on a certain topic indicates the degree of their importance in the consciousness of native speakers of a corresponding linguistic community. The paper presents the preliminary data of the research carried out on a limited material in order to test the methodology chosen by the authors. The research was based on the card index of 2400 Russian and French proverbs elicited from specialized lexicographic sources by means of continuous sampling. The emphasis was made on the French practical material, and the Russian material served as a background for comparative analysis. The paper presents the number of proverbs within each topic, the data giving a general picture of the hierarchy of values (the topics are listed in the descending order of the quantitative indicator). It also contains the results of the comparative analysis. The research has confirmed the possibility of identifying basic values, building their hierarchy and determining the dominant value based on the analysis of the proverbial bank, in particular, the headings of the thematic classification indicated in the lexicographical sources, and the number of units in each topic. The results make it possible to clarify the understanding of the Russian and French linguistic worldviews and can be used in the process of the linguistic and axiological analyses of different languages.

About the authors

Natalia Yur'evna Nelyubova

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.

Ph.D., Associate Professor, Foreign Languages Department, RUDN University

10-2 Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russia, 117198

Victoria Igorevna Hiltbrunner

Vienna University of Economics and Business


Ph.D., Lecturer at Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Foreign Language Business Communication, Institute for Slavic Languages

Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria

Victor Ivanovich Ershov

Moscow State Institute (University) of International Relations, Odintsovo branch


Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Linguistics and Translation Department, MGIMO-University, Odintsovo branch

3 Sportivnaya str., Odintsovo, Moscow region, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2019 Nelyubova N.Y., Hiltbrunner V.I., Ershov V.I.

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