Vol 27, No 3 (2023)


The image of Russia through animal metaphors: A diachronic case study of American media discourse

Solopova O.A., Nilsen D., Nilsen A.


The image of a country has a critical impact on the degree of its political, economic and cultural influence in the world. This indicates a need to understand various perceptions of a country that exist among other nations and mechanisms of their formation and change in an ever-shifting world. This qualitative case study seeks to examine the changing nature of wild animal metaphors employed to model the image of Russia in American media discourse in the XIX-XXI centuries. The study is limited by two source domains, namely, the beast and the bear. They were analyzed within particular contexts: American English, culture and media discourse. The research data were drawn from dictionaries and corpora. The dictionaries included etymological and explanatory entries, as well as those covering idioms, symbols, and metaphors. The corpora research data were collected from the Corpus of Contemporary American English and Chronicling America, a collection of historic digitalized texts. A total of 218 metaphors were selected from 4929 texts. The metaphors were studied through lexicographic, conceptual metaphor, culture-specific, corpus, discourse, and diachronic methods. The findings of this study suggest that the two metaphors “Russia is a beast” and “Russia is a bear” are frequently used in realizing the strategy of ‘othering’ in XXI century American media discourse. Still, their meanings allowed for variation and modification in the periods of the two countries’ amity and cooperation. In the XIX century and in the years of US-Soviet alliance in WWII the metaphors could evoke positive images of Russia, thus, realizing the strategy of ‘bridging’ or ‘belonging’. The contribution of this study has been to confirm that, whatever metaphorical projections exist in language and culture, historical factors determine choices in any sample of discourse. This could be important for understanding the mechanisms involved in modeling the image of modern Russia in foreign media discourses.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):521-542
pages 521-542 views

The words that make fake stories go viral: A corpus-based approach to analyzing Russian Covid-19 disinformation

Monogarova A.G., Shiryaeva T.A., Tikhonova E.V.


Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the spread of the new virus has been accompanied by the growing infodemic that became a dangerous prospect for Internet users. Social media and online messengers have been instrumental in making fake stories about Covid-19 viral. The lack of an efficient instrument for classifying digital texts as true or fake is still a big challenge. Deceptive content and its specific characteristics attract attention of many linguists, making it one of the most popular contemporary topics in corpus-based research. This paper explores the language of viral Covid-related fake stories and identifies specific linguistic features that distinguish fake stories from real (authentic) news using quantitative and qualitative approaches to text analysis. The study was conducted on the material of the self-compiled diachronic corpus containing Russian misleading coronavirus-related social media posts (a target corpus of 897 texts) which were virally shared by Russian users through social media platforms and mobile messengers from March 2020 to March 2022 and the reference corpus containing genuine materials about the virus. First, we compared two corpora using an interpretable set of features across language levels to find whether there is evidence of significant variation in the language of fake and real news. Then, we focused on frequency profiling to extract other over-represented groups of words from both corpora. Finally, we analyzed the corresponding contexts to indicate whether these features can be considered as linguistic trends in Russian Covid-related fake story making. Findings regarding the role of these over-represented groups of words in fake narratives about coronavirus revealed efficiency of frequency profiling in indicating lexical patterns of the language of deception.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):543-569
pages 543-569 views

The spatiotemporal constitution of Dubai as a semiotically assembled touristscape

Salama A.H., Fawzy R.M.


Mobile technologies mark an increasing construct of heterogeneous semiotic resources which coexist in a networked symmetrical interrelations. This area of research is still understudied, especially in terms of demonstrating how app-mediated touristscapes are co-told, transduced, and augmented by networked assemblage between participants and mobile interfaces. Drawing on a pragma-semiotic approach, the present study aims to investigate the spatiotemporal constitution of Dubai as a mobile-mediated touristscape. We draw on a newly synthesized approach that combines Cooren and Matte’s (2010) model of constitutive pragmatics and Pennycook’s (2008, 2017) notion of “semiotic assemblages.” Such a methodological synergy has been applied to the Dubai Travel mobile app in a way that revealed how the touristscape of Dubai has been pragmatically constituted of the semiotic assemblage of heterogeneous figures in the app’s interface-human interaction. This form of techno-human interaction was demonstrated to be situated in three spacing practices: (i) presentifying or making materially present hybrid interactions of techno-human figures, (ii) ordering or systematizing the scripted trajectories of Dubai touristscape by creating more space and time across framed intervals, and (iii) accounting or linking spatiotemporal augmentation to affective semiotic assemblages. The study found that Dubai touristscape has been constituted via a human-non-human semiotic assemblage with augmented and multilayered spatiotemporal possibilities. The pragma-semiotic approach has thus helped in arguing against what accounts as a touristscape with fixed spatiotemporal properties. The study contributes to understanding the increasing role of networked communication through developing a dialogue with linguistic pragmatics.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):570-591
pages 570-591 views

The gentle craft of saying “No” in Persian and English: A cross-cultural and cross-linguistic slant

Kordestanchi B., Sarkhosh M., Moafian F.


Refusals have proven to be problematic since they are the source of so many cross-cultural misunderstandings in that they are face threatening acts, which require that the speaker utilize redress, mitigation or politeness markers. The present study’s goal was to investigate the realization of the speech act of refusal in the Iranians and Americans contexts to identify the similarities and differences. It also explored the effect of social status on the choice of refusal strategies. Two well-known popular family drama film series were selected as the sources of the data. Totally, 455 refusal words, expressions, and utterances were collected from the two series. The collected data was coded using Beebe et al.’s (1990) taxonomy of refusal strategies. Descriptive statistics, Binomial, and Chi-square tests were used to analyze the data. The frequency of the refusal strategies and also the frequency of utilizing these strategies with respect to the interlocutors’ social status were analyzed. The results revealed no statistically significant differences between the two cultures with respect to the prevalence of refusal strategies, shift, and content of semantic formulae used in refusals. However, there were statistically significant differences in the frequency of the two major refusal categories, namely, Direct and Indirect strategies. Furthermore, concerning social status, the differences were statistically significant in the frequency of the refusal strategies utilized by the three social levels as regards the main categories in both cultures. The findings enhance intercultural understanding and provide valuable insights into the realization of refusals in different cultural contexts, the influence of social status, and the implications for intercultural communication. It highlights the significance of pragmatic issues and cultural awareness in promoting effective communication and mutual understanding across cultures, hence, ameliorates mutual cross-cultural communication and warrant teachers and material developers about the significance of pragmatic issues in developing the learners’ communicative competence.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):592-614
pages 592-614 views

Unveiling semantic complexity of the lexeme ‘reputation’: Corpus analysis

Ivanova S.V., Medvedeva S.N.


Primarily considered as a form of socially transmitted self-representation, reputation is one of the key concepts in public communication which makes it a worthwhile object for linguistic analysis. The present research is aimed at unveiling the semantic complexity of the lexeme ‘reputation’ by examining its immediate environment in COCA. The study showcases how the closest lexical context enhances the meaning of the lexeme. The sampling under analysis consists of 98 most frequent collocations with adjectives (4,088 tokens) and 57 collocations with verbs (6,190 tokens). The methods of the study include contextual analysis, semantic clusterisation and collostructional analysis based on statistical measure of log-likelihood. As a result, 7 semantic clusters of ‘adjective reputation’ and 8 clusters of ‘verb reputation’ have been obtained. The research proves that discoursewise, the collocations with the lexeme ‘reputation’ are found in newspaper, magazine, blog and web-general sections of COCA. The analysis reveals that in English, reputation is metaphorically represented as a building, a piece of fabric and as a valuable object made of precious metal, where it inherits the properties of tangible objects. A good reputation is earned over time by hard work and, once established, requires monitoring and maintenance. If damaged, it is not thrown away but is to be restored. Metonymically, reputation adopts the qualities of its proprietor (‘notorious reputation’, ‘unfortunate reputation’). The paper contributes to the theory of metaphor and could be beneficial for those working within cultural linguistics, lexicography and translation studies. The research may be further extended with corpus-based analysis of semantically close lexemes.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):615-640
pages 615-640 views

Cognitive complexity measures for educational texts: Empirical validation of linguistic parameters

Kupriyanov R.V., Bukach O.V., Aleksandrova O.I.


The article presents a study conducted within the framework of discourse complexology - an integral scientific domain that has united linguists, cognitive scientists, psychologists and programmers dealing with the problems of discourse complexity. The issue of cognitive complexity of texts is one of the central issues in discourse complexology. The paper presents the results of the study aimed to identify and empirically validate a list of educational texts’ complexity predictors. The study aims to identify discriminant linguistic parameters sufficient to assess cognitive complexity of educational texts. We view text cognitive complexity as a construct, based on the amount of presented information and the success of reader-text interactions. The idea behind the research is that text cognitive complexity notably increases across middle and high schools. The research dataset comprises eight biology textbooks with the total size of 219,319 tokens. Metrics of text linguistic features were estimated with the help of automatic analyzer RuLingva (rulingva.kpfu.ru). Linguistic and statistical analysis confirmed the hypothesis that text syntactic and lexical parameters are discriminative enough to classify different levels of cognitive complexity of educational texts used in middle and high schools. Text parameters that manifest variance in cognitive complexity include lexical diversity (TTR); local argument overlap; abstractness index; number of polysyllabic words, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level; number of nouns and number of adjectives per sentence. Empirical evidence indicates that the proposed approach outperforms existing methods of text complexity assessment. The research results can be implemented in the system of scientific and educational content expertise for Russian school textbooks. They can also be of some use in the development of educational resources and further research in the field of text complexity.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):641-662
pages 641-662 views

Linguistic pluricentrism and the Russian language

Shaibakova D., Protassova E., Yelenevskaya M.


Can the Russian language be regarded as pluricentric since it is used in various countries and regions of the world where different varieties of the language have evolved? Indeed, in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and some other countries, Russian is used as the official language of state bodies and institutions. However, each of these countries has its own linguistic and cultural specificities of grammar, vocabulary and phonetics, which distinguish it from other varieties of the Russian language. In addition, the Russian language is used in countries where it is not an official language, such as Finland, Germany, Israel. There it also has its own characteristics caused by interaction with different languages and cultures. The goal of the study is to show that all these varieties of the Russian language can be viewed as pluricentric variants, i.e. as independent language systems with their own characteristics and differences. Theoretically, the recognition of the Russian language as pluricentric would help to better understand the old and emerging varieties of the language and establish their relationship with each other, making it possible to compare different varieties of the language with each other at all linguistic levels. Practically, such recognition would also make it possible to trace the adaptive possibilities of the Russian language, which vary depending on the region and cultural environment, which in turn will diversify and deepen the study of the Russian language, making it more interesting for the learner. Based on the theory of pluricentricity, the paper compares practices of the language use and seeks to establish commonalities of Russian pluricentrism. Moreover, it highlights the unique features of the Kazakhstan language variety while demonstrating new opportunities for studying the flexible adaptability of the language. This approach will contribute to better understanding and appreciating the richness and versatility of the Russian language as it is used around the world.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):663-686
pages 663-686 views

Language representations and language attitudes in the Mishar dialect continuum

Moskvitcheva S.A., Viaut A., Zamaletdinov R.R.


To forecast the sociolinguistic dynamics of the language, to determine the level of its vitality and to provide adequate measures of language policy and planning, it seems important to analyze the structures of the symbolic components of the language situation, which include language representations and language attitudes, that is, social attitudes towards language. The article presents the results of the analysis of the main types of Tatar language representations and linguistic attitudes among speakers of the Mishar idiom of the Tatar language. The data were collected in the regions where the Mishary Tatars live, namely in the Middle Volga region and in Prisurie. The main research method was a semi-structured interview with subsequent analysis of the obtained data, its classification and interpretation. The paper proposes five clusters of language representations in the minority situation: representations related to the instrumental, symbolic and regulative functions of language, on the one hand, and representations related to the actualized identity structures and to the deontic attitudes of the individual, on the other. In connection with these classes of representations and taking into account language forms, language competences and language practices, a typology of language loyalty is proposed, which includes instrumental loyalty, symbolic loyalty, loyalty according to the forms of language used, loyalty according to language competences and prescriptive loyalty. The material analysis showed the prevalence of positive representations of the Mishar idiom among its speakers, the presence of active positive loyalty in oral spheres of communication at the local level, a high level of idiom preservation, and the integrative nature of sociolinguistic dynamics. At the same time, the situation should be regarded as diglossic both in relation to the Russian language and to the literary Tatar language, which is considered to be prestigious.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):687-714
pages 687-714 views

Picture naming test: Linguistic challenges of the method and ways to solve them

Morkovina O.I., Gishkaeva L.N., Sharapkova A.A.


The paper considers benefits and drawbacks of the Picture Naming Test (PNT) as a diagnostic method suggesting the ways to improve its diagnostic and research validity. Although this test is popular in both national and international neuropsychological assessment and research practice, its use is largely due to tradition and practical convenience. However, theoretical underpinnings for its effectiveness are not sufficiently represented in the pertinent literature, which determines the relevance of the study. The major objective of the paper is to consider the PNT as a research technique from the point of view of psycholinguistics, cognitive science, and corpus linguistics and to propose integrated approaches for the further development of these tests. The material comprises picture naming tests developed for the Russian and English languages. The study sets the following aims: 1) to define the main features of PNT and the principles of its application viewed from a historical perspective; 2) to identify the theoretical foundations (linguistic and neuropsychological) for its use as a diagnostic tool; 3) to highlight the problematic aspects of the method; 4) to suggest possible ways to eliminate them. To accomplish these tasks, various methods of corpus linguistics are applied throughout the article. The historical outline of PNT development suggests that the current design might stem from earlier contexts of use. A review of existing models of lexical access provides a theoretical basis for the test in its current form and suggests possible avenues for its development grounded in experimental research, advances in linguistics and big data analysis. A separate section of the article presents critique of the most popular tests. Finally, the analysis of the existing English and Russian tests through the corpus-based methodology clearly demonstrates the need for more detailed norming and stimuli selection. By way of conclusion the authors outline the principles of designing Picture Naming Tests for specific purposes and put forward a step-by-step algorithm that enables careful selection of the necessary indicators and parameters.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):715-744
pages 715-744 views


Review of Eda Derhemi and Christopher Moseley (eds.). 2023. Endangered Languages in the 21st Century. London: Routledge

Alnizar F.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):745-749
pages 745-749 views

Review of Mel’čuk, Igor. 2023. General Phraseology Theory and Practice. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins

Novikova M.L.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):750-757
pages 750-757 views


Tribute to Svetlana G. Ter-Minasova

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Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(3):758-760
pages 758-760 views

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