Vol 24, No 1 (2020)


“... to grasp the native's point of view...” - A Plea for a Holistic Documentation of the Trobriand Islanders' Language, Culture and Cognition

Senft G.


In his famous introduction to his monograph “Argonauts of the Western Pacific” Bronislaw Malinowski (1922: 24f.) points out that a “collection of ethnographic statements, characteristic narratives, typical utterances, items of folk-lore and magical formulae has to be given as a corpus inscriptionum , as documents of native mentality”. This is one of the prerequisites to “grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world”. Malinowski managed to document a “ Corpus Inscriptionum Agriculturae Quriviniensis ” in his second volume of “Coral Gardens and their Magic” (1935 Vol II: 79-342). But he himself did not manage to come up with a holistic corpus inscriptionum for the Trobriand Islanders. One of the main aims I have been pursuing in my research on the Trobriand Islanders' language, culture, and cognition has been to fill this ethnolinguistic niche. In this essay, I report what I had to do to carry out this complex and ambitious project, what forms and kinds of linguistic and cultural competence I had to acquire, and how I planned my data collection during 16 long- and short-term field trips to the Trobriand Islands between 1982 and 2012. The paper ends with a critical assessment of my Trobriand endeavor.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):7-30
pages 7-30 views

Mexican Politeness: an Empirical Study on the Reasons Underlying/Motivating Practices to Construct Local Interpersonal Relationships

Mugford G.


Fundamental concepts are all too often taken for granted in im/politeness research, especially since they are not always carefully and fully defined before researchers engage in confronting methodological issues. Definitions of im/politeness may reflect ‘armchair’ or intuitive approaches (Jucker and Staley 2017), which frequently ignore the sociocultural context within which relational work is performed. Following Larina’s (2015) concept of communicative ethno-style , this study examines how Mexican im/politeness studies regularly build on classic ethnocentric decontextualised im/politeness approaches (e.g., Brown and Levinson 1987) and fail to understand laypeople’s co-constructed discursive approaches (e.g. Watts 2003). This paper questions national and regional stereotypical approaches to understanding im/politeness practices and patterns. It examines the Mexican context and identifies how relational work is carried out at a localised level. Individual interactants can decide how they want to come across and which pragmatic resources they will employ when constructing, developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. The paper is structured in the following way. First, I examine theoretical, discursive and contextually explanatory approaches to researching Spanish-language im/politeness in general. Then, by focusing on individual underlying social and linguistic behaviour, I scrutinise particular Mexican sociocultural politeness practices such as displaying confianza (familiar trust) and respeto (hierarchical respect) (Félix-Brasdefer 2008). In order to do so, I asked interview participants to assess their own motivations behind employing such im/politeness practices and provide experiences/instances of Mexican sociocultural practices. Finally, discussion focuses on how Mexican interactants co-construct interpersonal relations and how these are reflected through localised im/politeness patterns and practices

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):31-55
pages 31-55 views

Speech Etiquette in Online Communities: Medialinguistics Analysis

Duskaeva L.R.


The article deals with the peculiarities of communicative politeness in the poorly investigated sphere of Russian-language communication focusing specifically on online groups. The purpose of the article is to identify the ways and means used in this environment for the organization of polite communication. A distinctive feature of the author’s research approach is the analysis of etiquette in the context of a dialogue, which means not only the analysis of the rules of stimulus, but also the rules of reaction, which corresponds to the systematic approach as a general principle of media linguistics (as a research method). The article defines speech etiquette as a system of norms and rules of polite speech behavior, the observance of which ensures the existence of the online community. The study allows us to conclude that the communicative tactics of etiquette in online groups are as follows: a) the participant’s inclusion into the community is regulated; b) bans on some forms of speech behavior are established and sanctions for violations of bans are imposed; c) high communicative status is provided to the author in different ways and freedom for creative self-expression is guaranteed to each participant; d) on the one hand, the establishment of contacts with a partner suitable in one or another parameter is stimulated, on the other hand, the degree of the partners’ proximity is regulated in accordance with the wish of its initiator; e) the opportunity to give/receive a response to a particular activity of the communication initiator is provided. These setups are implemented via a variety of resources, including both technical and speech means of address and response. Netiquette, drawings and images help to ensure emotional comfort. An adequate communicative distance is supported by abbreviations used in speech and understood only by the group members, by creating an adequate balance in the use of elevated and low stylistic means, in the use of methods creating a comic effect. Following speech etiquette rules is promoted by a kind of communication sanitation, which is carried out by the group administrator and the participants themselves. Participants use a metatext, which demonstrates the reflection of the group participants’ speech activity. The existing rules in online communities are aimed at making communication emotionally comfortable, ensuring easy navigation, neutralization of aggression, and prevention of speech crimes, encouraging the users to demonstrate courtesy and display attention to one another.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):56-79
pages 56-79 views

Translation and Paratexts: A Study of Animal Farm in Persian

Amirdabbaghian A., Shangeetha R.K.


Translators’ ideology permeates all non-technical translations, and the need to study the extent to which ideology plays a vital role in the manipulation of literary texts with a political edge is undoubtedly important. As of Iran, the state ideology has been changed from secular to religious (Islamic) after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This shift of ideology has influenced society in many facets, including language use. Therefore, individuals were encouraged to produce religious discourse to appear popular and this encouragement includes translation too (Amirdabbaghian 2019). This study aims to describe the ideological impact of the social situation (Islamic Revolution) in Iran on the translation of George Orwell’s well-known political novel, Animal Farm (1945) into the Persian language. The research will apply van Dijk’s (1998) theory of ideology and Lefevere’s (1992) theory of translation, rewriting and manipulation of literary fame, to discuss the paratextual differences in both the source and target texts. The target text which has been chosen for the current research is Hosseini and Nabi Zadeh’s (2003) version published by the Doostan publication in Tehran, Iran. Using the paratext of Animal Farm translated into Persian, this article makes an effort to prove that the translators’ ideology influenced by their life experience, social status, and occupation as well as the situation and environment in the target language country may be revealed in the set of tactics used in translating the literary work, in the use of language and in the interpretation of the source text author’s ideas expressed in the text.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):80-95
pages 80-95 views

English and Russian Genitive Alternations: A Study in Construction Typology

Monakhov S.


There is little doubt that one of the most important areas of future research within the framework of Construction Grammar will be the comparative study of constructions in different languages of the world. One significant gain that modern Construction Grammar can make thanks to the cross-linguistic perspective is finding a clue to some contradictory cases of construction alternation. The aim of the present paper is to communicate the results of a case study of two pairs of alternating constructions in English and Russian: s-genitive (SG) and of-genitive (OG) in English and noun + noun in genitive case (NNG) and relative adjective derived from noun + noun (ANG) in Russian. It is evident that the long years of elaborate scientific analysis have not yielded any universally accepted view on the problem of English genitive alternation. There are at least five different accounts of this problem: the hypotheses of the animacy hierarchy, given-new hierarchy, topic-focus hierarchy, end-weight principle, and two semantically distinct constructions. We hypothesised that in this case the comparison of the distribution of two English and two Russian genitives could be insightful. The analysis presupposed two consecutive steps. First, we established an inter-language comparability of two pairs of constructions in English and Russian. Second, we tested the similarity of intra-language distribution of each pair of constructions from the perspective of the animacy hierarchy. For these two purposes, two types of corpora were used: (1) a translation corpus consisting of original texts in one language and their translations into one or more languages; and (2) national corpora consisting of original texts in two respective languages. It was established that in both languages, the choice between members of an alternating pair is governed by the rules of animacy hierarchisation. Additionally, it was possible to disprove the idea that the animacy hierarchy is necessarily based on the linearisation hierarchy. Two Russian constructions are typologically aligned with their English counterparts, not on the grounds of the linear order of head and modifier but on the grounds of structural similarity. The English SG and Russian NNG construction are diametrically opposed in terms of word order. However, they reveal the same underlying structure of the inflectional genitive as contrasted with the analytical genitive of the Russian ANG and the English OG. These findings speak strongly in favour of the animacy hierarchy account of English genitive alternation.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):96-116
pages 96-116 views

Metasemiotic Projects and Lifestyle Media: Formulating Commodities as Resources for Identity Enactment

Molodychenko E.N.


There has recently been a notable increase in the amount and perceived significance of new lifestyle media. Besides the instructive and entertaining function, these media arguably play a more fundamental sociocultural role of constructing identities. In consumer societies, these identities are to a great extent enacted through the acquisition of commodities and engagement in commodified practices, which thereby become semiotic resources of identity stylization. The purpose of this article is to explore the discursive mechanisms underpinning the process of formulating commodities and practices as such semiotic resources. To this end, several discourses from new online men’s magazines have been analyzed drawing on a model of discourse analysis that sees discourse as one of the “moments” of the social practice it is embedded in. The results indicate that the mechanism behind the processes in question can be described as a metasemiotic project. As such a project unfolds in discourse, various commodities and practices are being typified by a metasemiotic term. One of the most frequent prototypical metasemiotic terms in these resources is stylish man . The term is instantiated in texts by several lexemes, including the lexeme style and its derivatives, as well as lexemes naming various “masculine personas” such as man , guy, kid, gentleman, bad ass. It has been shown that an increasing number of commodities and practices are being “theorized” by the discourse of new online men’s magazines and typified by this term. One important feature behind the workings of the metasemiotic project is intertextuality. Specific texts are always dialogically linked to other texts of lifestyle discourse, while object-signs are reformulated and imbued with different social values. These results contribute to the exploration of contemporary lifestyle media and discursive mechanisms of identity construction used by them, and, in a more general sense, to recent discussions of operationalizing wider sociocultural context in textually oriented discourse analysis.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):117-136
pages 117-136 views

Addressing a Judge in National Varieties of English

Ozyumenko V.I.


Despite the fact that legal discourse is intended to be clear, precise and unambiguous, in legal terminology there are obvious signs of cultural variability that can be observed not only in different languages, but also in varieties of the same language. Ignorance of cultural differences in legal terminology and legal discourse can lead to serious complications in an intercultural context. This study is limited to terms of reference and forms of address to judges of different levels in the British, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand varieties of English in a courtroom setting. The goal of the study is to analyze the terms of references and forms of address to judges in these varieties of English, identify their similarities and culture specific features and try to find the reasons for the differences. The data were obtained from various sources: dictionaries, legal documents, newspapers, as well as some secondary sources (Brown & Rice 2007, Hickey 2008, McPeake 2010) and Internet resources. They were analysed drawing on studies of pluricentric languages (Clyne 1992, Kloss 1967, Leitner 1992, Muhr & Marley 2015), World Englishes Paradigm (Bolton 2006, 2017; Crystal 2003, Domashnev 2000, Kachru 1985, 1986, 1988, 2008; Low & Pakir 2017, Proshina 2012, 2017, 2019); implementing comparative, semantic, pragmatic, discursive and cultural analysis. To explain some of the results, the legal and political systems of the countries that speak the national varieties of English were analysed. Preliminary results of the study revealed both similarities and differences in the terms of reference and forms of address to judges of various ranks, caused by a nexus of historical, political and social reasons that require further study. Among these, one can note the degree of openness of society to the democratization of its legal system, the country's desire to either follow the traditions established in British judicial discourse, or to demonstrate their uniqueness and independence from the former colonial power. Despite its limited nature, the study provides some new data showing that the lexical and discursive variability observed in the legal sphere contributes to the formation of varieties of pluricentric languages. The results can contribute to the study of pluricentric languages, find application in lexicographic practice, as well as in the teaching of legal English to law students.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):137-157
pages 137-157 views

Phraseological Preposition afin de in the Customs Discourse: A Case Study of French-Language Customs Press

Sosunova G.A.


The article investigates the semantic and grammatical aspects of modern branch discourse on the example of French-language texts devoted to customs control. Noting to the frequent use of constructions with the phraseological preposition afin de in the texts under study, the author suggests analysing not only their structural, semantic, and discursive characteristics, but also exploring them as a significant communicative means that reveals the semantic potential of grammar in the French-language customs discourse. The discursive-pragmatic strategy of the addressee is manifested in the choice of prepositional constructions that determine the discursive features of French-language customs texts. Stylistically colored vocabulary, infinitives in negative form, and phraseological units employed in the constructions are discussed as factors aimed to influence the addressee. The results of the study allow us to view the phraseological preposition afin de as a grammatical tool with a communicative orientation, which plays an important role in the formation of French-speaking customs discourse.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):158-175
pages 158-175 views

The Influence of Modern English Loanwords on the Verbal Code of Russian Culture

Alyunina Y.M., Nagel O.V.


The aim of the article is to introduce the authors’ perspective on how English loanwords are changing the structure and the content of the verbal code of Russian culture and the Russian linguistic pictures of the world, as well as on how the latter might change the former. Having used the continuous sampling method, observation method, and synchronic-diachronic approach (lexical semantic analysis, comparative semantic analysis, morphological and quantitative analysis), the authors have allocated and analyzed 487 loanwords, which led to the introduction of three distinguished types of interaction between the verbal code of the Russian language and foreign loanwords. The first interaction type is the process whereby the loanwords adapt semantically to the rules of the host language and culture, which leads to the complete change of a loanword meaning or its modification (15 words). The second interaction type is connected with the loanwords bringing new concepts to a host language and indicating borrowed ideas and objects (270 words). The differentiation of these two interaction types is based on the results of a synchronic and diachronic study of the loanwords in Russian. The analyzed interaction types are linked to the changes in the host language’s verbal code. A concept of a “hybrid linguistic picture of the world” is being introduced as the one constituting the third interaction type (201 words). According to the authors, the hybrid linguistic picture of the world is developing at the current stage of the Russian language and is caused by the process of the morphological adaptation of English loanwords, which is manifested in the production of hybrid words and Russian words being actively substituted by English borrowings.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):176-196
pages 176-196 views


Review of Ponton, Douglas Mark. 2020. Understanding Political Persuasion: Linguistic and Rhetorical Analysis. Vernon Press. Series in Language and Linguistics

Triki M.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):197-204
pages 197-204 views

Review of Mustajoki, Arto Samuel, Ekaterina Protassova and Maria N. Yelenevskaya (eds.). 2020. The Soft Power of the Russian Language. Plucentricity, Politics and Policies. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780367183660

Zabrodskaja A.N.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(1):205-211
pages 205-211 views

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