Vol 20, No 1 (2022)

Russian Language in the World

When your language is disappearing: Canadian Doukhobor Russian

Makarova V.


This article considers Russian language attitudes of Canadian Doukhobors, a religious and ethnic minority group of Russian origin who immigrated to Canada in 1899. The significance of the study is determined by a paucity of research devoted to this unique cultural and linguistic group as well as by an urgency of protocolling the language loss. In particular, language attitudes held by the Doukhobors have never been investigated before. The aim of the study is to describe the attitudes of the Doukhobor participants to their heritage language (Russian). The goals are to outline the remaining functions of the language in the community, and the perspectives for its maintenance. The materials include interviews with 40 speakers of Doukhobor Russian who are bilingual in English and Doukhobor Russian. The interviews were recorded in British Columbia and Saskatchewan (the historic settlements of the Doukhobors) between 2012 and 2018. The methods rooted in heritage language and sociolinguistic studies involve manual thematic coding of the interview transcripts and their discourse analysis. The results demonstrate that the speakers are emotionally connected to the Russian language, and that the language is important for Doukhobor prayer services, understanding of their beliefs expressed in Russian psalms, reading Russian literature, travelling to or studying in Russia, etc. At the same time some participants talk about their language as being inferior to Standard Russian, because of anti-dialectal reactions of Russian citizens that they came in contact with. Many Doukhobor participants are skeptical about the possibility of maintaining the Russian language in the group. The results are interpreted in the light of the author’s Linguistic Equilibrium theory. In conclusion, the article outlines implications for the heritage language revitalization. The results can contribute to bi/multilingualism theory, heritage language and language loss studies.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):7-21
pages 7-21 views

Cultural Linguistics: Theoretical and Applied Aspects

Nicknames in teaching Russian as a foreign language

Bobrova M.V.


The question of expanding the range of linguistic units involved as a linguo-didactic material is raised in the article. The purpose of the work is to substantiate the need to use such a category of proper names as nicknames in the framework of the Russian as a foreign language course. Illustrative material mainly includes well-known, culturally significant nicknames of historical and political figures, as well as modern informal names. The relevance of the research is ensured by the fact that the selection of anthroponyms as educational materials in teaching Russian as a foreign language is not typical for the current linguistic, linguo-cultural and socio-cultural situation. In particular, there is a contradiction between the negative attitude to nicknames established in the society and their real status in the Russian anthroponymic system. Due to the underestimation of the role of nicknames in the society, this type of anthroponyms is not represented in the didactic materials on Russian as a foreign language. However, it is advisable to introduce nicknames in teaching, since they have been a fact of the Russian linguistic and cultural space throughout its existence and meet all the basic approaches of modern Russian pedagogy: competence-based, meta-subject and axiological. The descriptive-analytical method was the leading research method in the article. Nicknames are considered as a category of anthroponyms. The author shows that nicknames are a fact of linguistic and social communication, a linguistic, socio-cultural and individual psychological phenomenon. Nicknames are multifunctional: they perform nominative, identifying, differentiating, individualizing, marking, emotive, axiological, and other functions. The teacher of Russian as a foreign language taking into account the relevance, cognitive significance and communicative value of nicknames; it is necessary to distinguish them from similar categories - pseudonyms and Internet nicknames. The adequacy of the selection will be facilitated by relying on the author’s classification of nicknames. Nicknames provide rich material for mastering various linguistic topics properly and establishing meta-subject connections. This approach will make it possible to overcome the “separation from reality” to some extent, and to improve the quality of teaching Russian to foreigners, develop their competencies, improve their linguistic personality, and introduce them to Russian culture.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):22-34
pages 22-34 views

The precedent name V.I. Lenin in the Russian cultural space

Yan K.


The relevance of the article lies in the need to identify the socio-cultural and national semantic components of the precedent name Lenin in the cultural space of Russian language native speakers. Studying precedent names is a key to describing and identifying cultural and national values of native speakers of a particular language. The purpose of the research is to consider and identify the cultural and national features of the perception and understanding of the name Lenin by native speakers of the Russian language. To achieve the research goal, descriptive and statistical methods, methods of observation, psycho-semantic and linguistic-cultural analysis were used. The material for the analysis was provided by etymological and encyclopedic dictionaries of the Russian language, the data of free association experiments from Russian Associative Dictionary, Siberian Associative Dictionary, the Russian Regional Thesaurus Dictionary, contexts with the name Lenin from modern Russian media, selected from the National Corpus of the Russian Language. The novelty of the study is that it is for the first time that the semantics of the proper name Lenin in the Russian language is described, an associative field for the stimulus Lenin in the Russian language consciousness is constructed, cultural and national peculiarities of perception and understanding of the given name in the texts of modern Russian mass media are considered and identified, socio-cultural and national semantic components of the precedent name Lenin in the cultural space of Russian speakers are identified. The scientific significance of the research lies, on the one hand, in a preliminary attempt to apply linguoculturological and psycholinguistic approaches to analyzing precedent names in the Russian cultural space, and on the other hand, in the possibility of using the material in teaching theoretical courses of cultural linguistics, psycholinguistics and media linguistics, as well as in courses on the theory and practice of intercultural communication.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):35-51
pages 35-51 views

The transformed semantics of the verbalizers of the ethical concepts “Love” - “Mercy” - “Chastity” - “Virtue”

Dmitriyeva N.M., Chulkina N.L.


The relevance of the research is determined by the need to identify semantic shifts of ethically significant concepts and their semantic distortion in the minds of Russian language native speakers in order to create an up-to-date picture allowing to understand the level of spiritual and moral values and the preservation of the Russian mentality among modern youth. The purpose of the study is to trace the changes in the meanings of the dominant verbalizers of the ethical concepts “Love,” “Mercy,” “Chastity,” “Virtue” and to determine the impact of these changes on the linguistic and cultural consciousness of modern native speakers. The authors used comparative-historical method, E.M. Vereshchagin, V.G. Kostomarov’s method of allocating semantic shares, questioning, cognitive interpretation, etc. The research was conducted on the material of explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language of different periods and the Church Slavonic language, associative dictionaries and data from sociolinguistic surveys. The article defines the ethical semantic shares of these concepts, establishes their connection with the Orthodox worldview. The ideas of modern students about the selected ethical concepts are studied, transformations in their understanding and evaluation are indicated.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):52-67
pages 52-67 views

Russian Speech Culture

Variations in noun accentuation in the speech of modern youth

Zdorikova Y.N., Abyzov A.A., Makarova E.N.


It is known that oral speech is nowadays the most dynamic and variable segment of the language system. The incessant changes in accent norms and their dynamics largely determine the relevance of this study. The preference issues of both the choice of the accent pattern in a particular word and the use of certain lexical units in speech by the modern youth are also relevant. This article addresses the issues of accentuation in a number of nouns that have accentuation variants. The purpose of the work is to describe accentuation in the lexemes under consideration according to modern orthoepic dictionaries, correlate the obtained results with the data of previously published orthoepic dictionaries, and also reveal preferences in accentuation in these lexemes among Russian students of two technical universities in Ivanovo - Ivanovo State University of Chemistry and Technology and Ivanovo State Polytechnic University. An attempt to establish appropriate correlations between normative and conventional implementations of accent models of the specified group of lexical units was made. Basing on the study, the authors conclude that there was no single variant of stress in the control group of lexemes. It was found that, despite the possible variation provided by lexicographic orthoepic sources, modern students prefer to use only one variant of word stress in oral speech. Thus, a significant divergence was revealed between normative and conventional realizations of accent patterns of nouns.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):68-83
pages 68-83 views

Key Issues of Russian Language Research

The grammar of Russian preposition: theoretical aspects

Vinogradova E.N., Klobukova L.P.


At present, linguists do not have sufficient tools to strictly determine whether specific prepositional units belong to prepositions as a part of speech, so it seems relevant to consider the functional-grammatical field of prepositions, which includes both prepositions themselves and units that can function as prepositions. The aim of this article is to identify, classify and describe systemic paradigmatic relations within the functional-grammatical field of prepositions. The study was conducted on the material of a registry of 3,000 prepositional units, which were collected through a continuous sampling from dictionaries and specialized works, as well as by identifying all possible variants of prepositions on the Internet and the National Corpus of the Russian language. The paradigmatic relations of the units that already have lexicographic attribution were analyzed. As a result, the graphical, morphonological and word-formation paradigms of prepositional units were identified, and their morphosyntactic and semantic paradigmatic relations were detailed. The graphical paradigm is a series of variants of different types: alphabetic, written together or separately and uncodified. The morphological paradigm includes vocalized, accented, incomplete-vowel versions, truncated, softened, differentiated by accent and inflective variants. Within the word-formation paradigm the most productive roots of prepositional units are identified. For the morphosyntactic paradigm, the possible structural subtypes were identified: thus, the form of the prepositional noun and the form of the introduced actant were relevant. In addition, the regularities of paradigm formation were revealed for prepositional units expressing different types of semantic relations. For the semantic paradigm, the dependence of a particular paradigm subtype on the type of semantic relations expressed by the prepositional units has been revealed. Considering the functional and grammatical field of the preposition as a set organized by regular relations of different types, we can identify the grammar of the preposition. Understanding the systemic relations between prepositional units opens the way to predicting systematically possible linguistic units within the field in question.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):84-100
pages 84-100 views

Methods of Teaching Russian as a Native, Non-Native, Foreign Language

Orthographic literacy of Russian-speaking schoolchildren in Latvia

Gavrilina M.A.


The research is devoted to one of the current problems of speech development of Russian-speaking schoolchildren of the diaspora (grades 4, 6 and 9) - orthographic literacy and is intended to contribute to the research on this problem. The topicality of the problem is substantiated by the necessity to explore the issues related to the quality of written speech, including orthographic knowledge and skills in the Russian (native) language of bilingual schoolchildren living outside Russia. The topic has not been sufficiently studied. The aim of the research is to describe the orthographic literacy of Latvian Russian-speaking schoolchildren of grades 4, 6 and 9 in 2015-2021. The research is based on the analysis of written works of 11 938 schoolchildren that were developed by the author of the article and specia- lists of education and science of Latvia. The methods of research include comparative, statistical, focus-group discussion. The research results: 1) the level of orthographic literacy of Latvian Russian-speaking bilinguals remains low; 2) the same typical spelling mistakes are found in the speech of schoolchildren of all ages, but the mistakes rate depends on the bilingual education model; 3) schoolchildren have difficulties in spelling arguments; 4) the main reasons of schoolchildren’s spelling mistakes in Russian include the low motivation of school- children to develop literacy in written speech, interlanguage interference, insufficient amount of school hours on studying spelling material of the Russian language at school; 5) the literacy in Russian is less important than in English and Latvian in the value paradigm of schoolchildren. According to the new educational reform of Latvia (Skola2030), the number of Russian language lessons in schools for national minorities is significantly reduced. It is possible to predict a further decline in the level of spelling in schoolchildren in the coming years. Therefore, understanding objective orthographic difficulties encountered of bilingual schoolchildren open prospects for further exploration of effective orthography strategies in teaching the mother tongue to bilingual schoolchildren in a changing environment.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):101-114
pages 101-114 views

“Flipped class” technology in teaching foreign non-philological students

Denisenko A.V., Bereznyatskaya M.A., Kalinina J.M.


The article describes an adapted version of the innovative technology “flipped classroom,” which can be used in the practice of teaching Russian as a foreign language, especially in the context of distance learning. The relevance of the study lies in the need to create a methodology that meets the interests of the modern generation of students and is effective in the context of remote educational process. The purpose of the research is to describe the methodology for using the “flipped class” technology in a foreign language audience with the use of authentic Russian films - screen adaptations of literary works. To achieve this goal, analysis, systematization, generalization, description and other methods were used. The research materials were the feature film “It Can’t Be!” (directed by L. Gaidai, 1975), stories by M.M. Zoshchenko “Galosh,” “Funny Adventure,” Wedding Accident,” the play “Crime and Punishment,” files with theoretical and regional information, a file with tasks, a questionnaire. The methodology has been successfully tested with foreign students of non-philological specialties. A hypothesis was put forward, the innovative technology “flipped classroom” was adapted to teaching Russian as foreign language in the context of distance learning, authentic films-adaptations of Russian artistic texts were selected, and a system of exercises was developed. An experiment was carried out, and then the hypothesis was corrected, taking into account the questionnaire survey and control testing of students. The main results of the study are that the use of the suggested methodology increases the efficiency of the educational process, motivation of foreign students to study the Russian language, literature, traditions of Russian native speakers, literacy of students and their linguistic and cultural competence. It also forms the ability of foreign students to self-study and self-organization, as well as to successfully conduct the educational process in a distance learning environment. The authors of the article consider it promising to use the “flipped classroom” technology in teaching Russian as a foreign language based on the material of linguocultural and regional studies, with the help of which students will be able to master educational information in accordance with different levels of language proficiency.

Russian Language Studies. 2022;20(1):115-126
pages 115-126 views

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