Desacralization of the Word MAN in the Russian Language and its Spiritual Potential

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The processes of desacralization and secularization, taking placein the Russian literary language over the three preceding centuries and nowadays, have caused significant changes in its lexical system. However, the language preserves lexical units with internal spiritual potential. They carry the genetic memory of the meanings of the past. One of these words, in our opinion, is the lexeme man . The article presents the results of analysing the semantic structure of the word man in the diachronic aspect. The analysis is based on the explanatory dictionaries of the Russian language, which include the vocabulary of different centuries, as well as etymological dictionaries. This study is carried out in order to reveal hidden sacral meanings in the semantics of the word. The method of generalization (unification) of dictionary definitions was used as the main research method. The lexical meanings of the word man were examined in different periods of its functioning, primarily in the language of the XIX-XX centuries. In our research, we based on the works of Russian linguists studying this problem. Sacred meanings in the semantic structure of the word man were revealed by comparing etymological and word-formation features of the lexemes man and people drawn upon minimal contexts from the texts of the Holy Scriptures. Despite the secularization of the semantic structure of the studied lexical unit, namely the actualization of the meaning of ‘personality as an exemplar of high moral and intellectual qualities’ and the loss of the meaning of ‘creature worthy of this name’, taking into account the degrees of humanity according to V.I. Dal such as‘a fleshy, deadman’, ‘aman of feelings and nature’, ‘a spiritual man’, ‘a blessed man’, it retained its spiritual potentialat the etymological level.

About the authors

Evgeniya N. Baturina

Office of the Governor and the Government of the Jewish Autonomous Region

Author for correspondence.

philosophy doctor, specialist-lingvist of office of the Governor and the Government of the Jewish Autonomous Region

60 years of the USSR Av., 18, Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region, Russian Federation, 679016


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