Cultural and historical conditions of modifications in Russian phraseological units with letter names

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The article discusses causes, ways, and results of modifying Russian phraseological units with a letter-name component, which play a significant role in all written linguistic cultures. The relevance of the theme is proven by the sustained attention of linguists to the origin and functioning of phraseological units, the objective to comprehend the underlying processes of interacting between extralinguistic reality, including culture, and language structures, and by the social demand - the rise of interest of native Russian speakers in the national essence and history of the alphabet. The study aims at identifying causes for modification of Russian phraseological units with letter-name components, demonstrating the central role of cultural and historical factor in the modification process, analyzing modification ways and results. The material of the study includes dictionaries and text corpora, along with the authors’ own collection of examples from spontaneous speech in Russian films and digital media. Descriptive and historical-etymological methods, contextual, semantic and structural analysis, and the method of double application were used in the research. The paper argues that the main historical and cultural causes of modifications of phraseological units in question include spelling reforms, progressive methods of teaching reading and writing, language contacts of Russian speakers with people using other writing systems, changes in cultural and ideological priorities, influential works of art. The main way of modification - lexical change of the old letter name to the contemporary one - concedes to more creative ways not only in the sphere of occasional creation of phraseological units, as before, but also in common usage. As a result of this modification, former international models of phraseological units develop national features.

About the authors

Liudmyla P. Diadechko

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7638-7163

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Professor of the Department of Russian Philology, Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology

60 Volodymyrska St, Kyiv, 01033, Ukraine

Bingji Wang

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3981-4098

PhD student at the Department of Russian Philology, Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology

60 Volodymyrska St, Kyiv, 01033, Ukraine


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Copyright (c) 2022 Diadechko L.P., Wang B.

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