Questions of Lexicographic Description of French-Russian Lexical Parallels

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The research discusses key issues of the dictionary description of formally coinciding and semantically similar/dissimilar units of the vocabulary of the French and Russian languages. The relevance of the study is dictated by the absence of a dictionary of French-Russian lexical parallels in Russian lexicography and the significance of such a dictionary for the translation and linguo-didactical sphere of activity in the conditions of the spread of artificial bilingualism in modern globalized world. The novelty of the research lies in the representation of the dictionary description of French-Russian lexical parallels, different from the lexicographic experience of V.L. Muravyev. The purpose of the article is to analyze the existing interlexical semantic relations of dialexemes of the Russian and French languages and selectively present the results of their systematic lexicographic description in a number of so-called ‘new generation dictionaries’. The research material was associatively correlated lexemes of the Russian and French languages, identified and selected by bilingual and explanatory dictionaries, as well as national text corpora of the languages under consideration. The methodology of the study consisted of the methods of continuous and selective sampling; quantitative, contrastive, comparative analysis; description; as well as the distributive method. The research focuses on the selection of a word-list, on the specifics of its organization and representation in dictionary entries. The work on the format and content of the dictionary is based on the standard model of the dictionary of lexical parallels for two synchronously compared languages, developed and implemented by V.V. Dubichinsky. The article presents a brief-course into the history of the description of lexical parallels, including false friends of the translator, lexical internationalisms of French origin and gallicisms in the Russian language and identifies the main points of V.V. Dubichinsky’s theory of lexical parallels. The authors comment on the issue of the terminological apparatus of the phenomenon described and analyze the typology of French-Russian lexical parallels and the principles of their lexicographying. Each of the existing types of French-Russian lexical parallels is considered separately. In order to internationalize Russian as a second language in the global communicative space and to facilitate the study of the Russian language by French-speaking students, we propose a modern model of the dictionary description of full, partial and false lexical parallels, as well as interlingual homonyms and interlingual paronyms of Russian and French.

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As is known that in the process of the historical development of languages among their linguistic systems there might appear various kinds of connections (language contacts), some languages influence others (U. Weinreich, E. Haugen, A. Martinet, V. Bertholdi, A. Rosetti, I.V. Tarakanov, etc.). Most remarkable of all, these processes are embodied in vocabulary: for the naming of not yet named concepts and closely contacting languages can borrow lexemes from each other, sometimes in an unchanged form, but more often significant changes occur in the grammatical and semantic characteristics of borrowed words [1]. For this reason, outwardly similar words of interacting languages become not completely equivalent to each other when translated or not equivalent at all. Observations on semantic relationships between lexical units of different languages are the focus of attention of various linguistic disciplines, such as general linguistics, linguistic geography, contact linguistics, linguistic etymology, comparative linguistics, contrastive linguistics, psycholinguistics (theory of bilingualism), translation studies and — last but not the least — lexicography.

The diverse interest in this phenomenon is due to the need of specialists from different fields of knowledge (i.e., users of various fields of language: specific term systems of science, technology and art) to overcome the interfering effect caused by the similarity of words in two languages, to distinguish between coincidences and false associations in their semantic structure within each language. These are the needs not only of professional translators, but also of all those who, to one degree or another, study a foreign language (French or Russian as a foreign language). This is dictated today by the demand of the time, when globalization processes and the intensification of language contacts associated with them have become commonplace, and the knowledge of at least one foreign language is an urgent need for competitiveness in the labour market for everyone who seeks to enter the international level in building a career. Satisfying this kind of needs is impossible without mass publication of special reference literature on this issue.

The analysis of language contacts makes it possible to consider interlexical semantic relations, which, on the one hand, already has some history of study, and on the other hand, still needs systematic lexicographic coverage. In this connection, N.K. Garbovsky distinguishes 4 types of similar semantic relations between lexemes of different languages that are similar in form: 1) externality (when the volumes of concepts completely exclude each other); 2) equivolume (or equivalence) (relations of equivalence of concepts); 3) subordination (when the volume of one concept is completely absorbed by the volume of another); 4) crossing (when the scope of each of the concepts includes both objects common to them and different ones) [2. P. 336–349].

To designate borrowed words that are associatively correlated in graphic sound form in two languages and, based on this, enter into various kinds of semantic relationships in bilingual linguistic consciousness, Yu.O. Zhluktenko proposes the term ‘dialexemes’ [3. P. 11]. The most traditional type of dialexemes in translation studies is considered to be translation pseudo-equivalents or ‘false friends of the translator’, which are understood as “words of two languages that cause erroneous associations due to sound or letter similarity and lead to incorrect perception of information in a foreign language, distortion of content and errors associated with stylistic colouring, lexical compatibility and word usage in translation” [4].

The number of false friends and their origin differ in individual language pairs, depending on the genetic and historical ties of specific languages [5. P. 373]. It is known that French cultural influence in Russia lasted for 150 years (18th—19th centuries) and most of all affected the life of the aristocracy, nobility and intelligentsia, who had a sufficient knowledge of the French language (sometimes better than their native language) and systematically used French words and expressions in their speech in Russian. In addition, in Tsarist Russia, French was one of the languages of education (along with Latin and German); without knowledge of the French language, it was difficult to enter the service and make a career [6. P. 105–107]. As a result of this cultural influence, the Russian language was replenished with a large number of lexical borrowings, calques from the French language and French suffixes. So, in the Historical Dictionary of Gallicisms of the Russian Language by N.I. Epishkin, there are 44,356 lexemes borrowed from French[1].

The history of a special systematic study of interlexical semantic relations of dialexemes of different languages begins in 1928 with the experience of French scientists M. Koessler and J. Derocquigny describing French—English and English—French ‘false friends of a translator’ (faux amis du traducteur) [7]. The name they proposed is firmly entrenched in the linguistics of many countries (false friends of a translator in English, falsche Freunde des Übersetzers in German, falsos amigos del traductor in Spanish, etc.). In the future, interest in this phenomenon received significant lexicographic practice: “Many dictionaries of this kind are united by the feature that they do not replace — for the words under consideration — ordinary bilingual dictionaries, but are collections of peculiar, often very valuable, but sometimes random comments on them. Such comments are aimed at preventing errors in the use of a foreign language, sometimes at improving the quality of translations into the native language, and even simply at improving the culture of native speech” [5. P. 376]. There have been published textbooks, reference books and dictionaries of Russian-English and English-Russian[2], Russian-German and German-Russian3, Russian-French and French-Russian[3], Russian-Ukrainian[4], Spanish-Russian[5], Russian-Polish[6] and Ukrainian-Polish[7] ‘false friends of a translator’.

As is noted by V.V. Akulenko, “in theoretical and practical terms, dictionaries of ‘false friends of a translator’ are more useful, giving a description of all the meanings inherent in each word and reflecting its stylistic, emotionally expressive, most important grammatical characteristics and lexical compatibility” [5. P. 376]. In this regard, a significantly new type of dictionary description of such lexemes was the format of the dictionary of ‘lexical parallels’ (LP) proposed by the chairman of the Kharkiv Lexicographic Society (KLS) V.V. Dubichinsky. This term “unites into a single terminological system the traditional linguistic concepts of ‘internationalisms’, ‘false friends of a translator’, ‘interlingual homonyms’, ‘interlingual paronyms’, etc.” [8. P. 82]. Although the KLS announced work on a RussianEnglish, Russian-French and Russian-Spanish dictionary of lexical parallels back in 1993, and later on, work on Russian-English-German, Russian-Polish and Russian-Ukrainian-Polish [9], at this moment, only two such dictionaries have been published: Russian-Spanish[8] and Russian-German. In recent years, the work on the Russian-Polish dictionary of LP has been most actively carried out [10]. The textbook by V.L. Muravyov remains the only description of Russian-French and French-Russian lexical parallels today. The different type of description of Russian and French dialexemes proposed in this article determines the novelty of this study.

Since the subject of our study is the interlingual lexical-semantic relations of Russian and French, the focus of our attention is on gallicisms in the composition of the Russian language in their comparison with etymons in the source language. Many works are devoted to the study of the semantic adaptation of borrowings in the Russian language and, in particular, gallicisms (N.N. Amosova, E.E. Birzhakova, E.F. Volodarskaya, I.F. Zhdanova, B.A. Ilyish, M.M. Makovsky, R.Sh. Nasibullin, T.A. Rastorguev, L.P. Krysin, E.V. Marinova, A.V. Blokhina, I.N. Kuznetsova, S.V. Gretsova, A.I. Tomilova, etc.). The most complete lexicographic source here is the Historical Dictionary of Gallicisms of the Russian Language mentioned above. In addition, as already noted, the concept of lexical parallels also includes international words. We earlier gave a review of the precedents of the dictionary description of lexical internationalisms [11]. The synchronic and diachronic aspect of internationalisms of French origin is studied by Yu.N. Kochurova [6; 12]: 1325 lexical parallels are given in the appendix to the researcher’s dissertation.

The purpose of this article is to analyze the existing interlexical semantic relations of Russian and French dialexemes and selectively present the results of their systematic lexicographic description in a series of so-called ‘new generation dictionaries’. For this purpose, it is supposed to comment on the problem of the terminological apparatus of the described phenomenon, to identify the typology of French-Russian lexical parallels and the principles of their lexicography.

The issue of terminology of lexical parallels

The term ‘lexical parallels’ (LP), introduced into scientific use in 1993 [13], is understood as “words of two or more synchronously compared languages, coinciding in terms of expression and similar / dissimilar in terms of content” [8. P. 62]. Despite the fact that the metaphorical wording ‘false friends of a translator’ has already become traditional, having become widespread in the linguistics of various languages  and recognized by many scientists (In this regard R.A. Budagov wrote in 1971: “although the combination of ‘false friends of a translator’ is considered too long and open to be called a term, it, apparently, does not have a shorter equal equivalent” [14]), however, V.V. Dubichinsky proposes to replace it with a more specific term false lexical parallels, which, however, has not yet become widely known, but deserves recognition. As a reason, the scientist points to the fact that the former name of the phenomenon does not take into account the difference between ‘false friends’-words (‘false lexical parallels’) and ‘false friends’-meanings (In V.V. Dubichinsky’s terminology — ‘idiosememes’). Thus, in traditional translation studies, the position of polysemantic dialexemes with separate coinciding meanings (‘intersememes’) and other non-coinciding ones turns out to be controversial. Often, in the practice of teaching foreign languages, they are also considered false friends of a translator, while this is true not for the entire semantic structure of the contacting words, but only for some meanings. Or, on the contrary, mismatched meanings (intersememes) are not taken into account, and the word is considered as completely international, while the incompleteness of this internationality reveals itself in contexts that realize specific meanings, which makes such words false lexical parallels in these contexts. Therefore, the term proposed for this phenomenon — partial lexical parallel, seems to be more correct, since it conveys something in between a false lexical parallel and a true interlexeme: these are partial interlexemes and at the same time not completely false lexical parallels (partial ‘false friends of a translator’). Below we discuss the typology and terminology of lexical parallels in more detail.

Materials and methodology of the study

The material of this study bacame the lexemes of the Russian and French languages that are associatively related in form, identified and selected according to bilingual and explanatory dictionaries, as well as national corpora of texts of the languages under consideration.

In the course of the study, the following methods were used: quantitative — to calculate the total number of lexical parallels of the Russian and French languages, contrastive — to identify the contrastive value of each word in bilingual and explanatory dictionaries of Russian and French, method of continuous and selective sampling (basic method of lexicographic analysis), method of comparative analysis — for comparing linguistic and metalinguistic data of explanatory dictionaries and text corpora of the Russian and French languages, descriptive method — for compiling definitions of each word from the list of selected lexemes, distributive method — for distributing values i n the hierarchy of the semantic structure of each lexeme based on frequency.

 LexicographYing of Russian-French lexical parallels

Developed by V.V. Dubichinsky, the model of lexicographic analysis of lexical parallels includes a number of typical procedures: 1) selection of heading units, 2) arrangement of meanings, 3) construction of a dictionary entry, and 4) definition. Since the dictionary of lexical parallels, by the nature of lexemes’ description, by purpose and by the addressee, obviously belongs to the dictionaries of the educational type, the first of the listed procedures is implemented taking into account the needs of users of the dictionary, the contrastive value of the word and the educational and methodological expediency of selecting a dictionary. The second one should take into account the relevance of the word for living modern Russian speech. The structure of the dictionary entry includes: the heading unit of the Russian active vocabulary with its French correspondences; a brief grammatical description of the heading unit; interpretation of each meaning of a Russian word and its French correlate; transfer equivalent; stylistic, territorial and other lexicographic marks.

Considering the fact that the interpretation via semantic language requires a number of systematic studies, which have not yet been carried out in full by semanticists of different years, including representatives of Moscow Semantic School (for example, L.A. Novikov writes: “explaining the meaning of lexical … units … and other phenomena should be carried out on the basis of a limited number of initial, undefined and well-known words to students … representing an ‘explanatory minimum’ ” [15. P. 714]), we follow the authors of the dictionaries of Russian-Spanish and Russian-German lexical parallels, and define lexemes based on our own linguistic intuition.

Typology of Russian-French lexical parallels

Typologically, according to the terminological system by V.V. Dubichinsky, lexical parallels are divided into full interlexemes, partial interlexemes and false lexical parallels (Figure 1) [8. P. 66].

Figure 1. Typology and terminology of lexical parallels by V.V. Dubichinsky

Such а division of lexical parallels’ types is consistent with the typology of interlingual semantic relations of correlate words by N.K. Garbovsky: full lexical parallels reflect the relationship of equal volume (equivalence) of concepts, partial lexical parallels are in the relationship of subordination and crossing, and false lexical parallels convey the relationship of outsideness.

Full lexical parallels

Full lexical parallels (full interlexemes) of Russian and French are represented by international words (In traditional terminology). According to the definition by V.V. Akulenko, internationalisms are “lexemes that are similar to the degree of identification in a graphic (usually narrower: orthographic) or phonemic respect with fully or partially common semantics, expressing concepts of international significance and coexisting in several (practically at least three) synchronously compared languages (including unrelated or not closely related)” [16. P. 61].

According to some researchers, the international lexical fund includes over 2,000 whole-formatted lexical units of French origin, which are divided into the following layers:

  1. primordial gallicisms (the form, meaning and functioning of the word are etymologically connected only with the own history of the French language);
  2. mediated gallicisms (French acts as a recipient language and an intermediary language);
  3. pseudo-gallicisms (words formed from lexical and morphological elements of the French language, but already in other languages) [17. 18].

According to Yu.N. Kochurova, there are not so many words with completely identical semantics among all possible types of lexical parallels. “This group consists of terms and other lexical units that are words of the scientific sphere of use” and “which, as a rule, are unambiguous” [12. P. 131].

The following pairs of words can be cited as examples of Russian—French full interlexemes: сантиметр centimètre ‘centimetre’; луна lune ‘moon’; оратор orateur ‘speaker’; коридор corridor ‘corridor’; реклама réclame ‘advertisement’; том tome ‘volume’; туалет toilette ‘toilet’; хор choeur ‘chorus’; театр théâtre ‘theatre’.

Partial lexical parallels

The semantic structure of polysemantic lexical parallels is asymmetric, as a rule: the vast majority here are partial interlexemes. This indicates the importance of the lexicographic description of such words for clarifying the share of international and false international (national-specific) meanings in the semantic structure of the compared dialexemes.

Since the LSV (lexico-semantic variants) of words are unequal in nature and content, it is necessary, based on the facts of each of the compared languages, to present these meanings in the form of a certain hierarchy. Lexical semantics traditionally singles out different ranks of meanings in the semantic structure of a word: general meaning, main and particular meanings, primary and secondary semantic function of language units. Under the general meaning is understood a certain theoretical construction, an invariant of meaning. The main value, as noted by L.A. Novikov, is most paradigmatically conditioned and “is in the position of the least conditionality from the environment, the least dependent on the context. But it cannot be absolutely independent of it, not determined by it…” [18. P. 538]. Particular meanings, on the contrary, as the least fixed paradigmatically, need more syntagmatic conditioning, “in an identification context” [18. P. 539].

Based on the above provisions, it is possible to represent the semantic structure of a partial lexical parallel in the form of a hierarchical system of intersemes and idiosemes, built on the basis of the degree of contextualization of each of its specific meanings. In the lexicographic representation of the semantic structure of incomplete interlexemes, for each idioseme, a suitable translation equivalent is indicated. In some cases, in addition to indicating the equivalence of a dialexeme, synonyms are given for intersememes in the target language. Idiosemes in the semantic structure of partial lexical parallels are marked with *. Meanings (intersemes) of partial lexical parallels coinciding in two languages are marked with =. We will demonstrate several examples of describing partial LPs in the dictionary of lexical parallels.

МИНИСТР, -а, м: 
высшее должностное лицо, входящее в состав правительства.

Ministre, m:
1. = министр;
2*. пастор.

‘senior official,
belonging to the government’

‘1. = minister;
2*. pastor’

МИТИНГ, -а, м:
массовое собрание для неотложных политических и общественных вопросов текущей жизни.

Meeting, m:
1. = митинг;
2*. соревнование, спортивная встреча.

‘mass meeting
for urgent political and public issues of current life’.

‘1. = meeting (political);
2*. competition, sports meeting’.

ШОФЁР, -а, м:
водитель автомобиля.

Chauffeur, m:
1. = шофёр;
2*. кочегар.

‘car driver’‘1. = driver;
2*. stoker’.

False lexical parallels

False lexical parallels are the most familiar lexicographic phenomenon for the dictionary user’s eye, supplemented, however, with a description of all meanings in the semantic structure of a false semantic pair of polysemantic words. In the LP dictionary, they are marked with the sign⚠. Here are a few examples of such words with a mandatory indication of a possible adequate equivalent in translation.

небольшой забавный,
смешной рассказ
– histoire (f) drole; blague (f).

Anecdote, f:
рассказ пикантного содержания о малоизвестном событии.

‘short funny story’

‘funny story about an unknown event’

МАТЕРИАЛ, -а, м:
1. ткань
– étoffe (f), tissu (m);
2. сырьё, документы – matériaux (m, pl).

Matérielle, f:
разг. деньги на жизнь.

1.       ‘cloth
raw materials, documents’

colloq. ‘money to get by’

МИНУС, -а, м:
1. математический знак
– moins (m);
2. недостаток, пробел,
– défaut (m).

Minus, m:
глупец, олух.

1.       ‘mathematical sign
deficiency, gap, defect’


РЕМОНТ, -а, м:
починка, устранение
– réparation (f).           

Remonte, f:
1. поездка;
2. воен. пополнение конским составом.

‘repair, fault elimination’

1. ‘trip;
2. military ‘replenishment
by horse stock’.

Interlingual lexical homonyms

Lexical parallels can sometimes be combined into some complex interlingual lexical structures. Among them there are the so-called ‘interlingual lexical homonyms’. Under them V.V. Dubichinsky understands “outwardly (oral/written) similar and semantically similar/dissimilar parallel homonymous oppositions of two or more synchronously compared languages” [8. P. 55]. Homonymy as a lexical category is “a semantic relation of internally unrelated (unmotivated) meanings expressed formally by similar signs (lexemes) and differing in the text due to different contextual environments. Like polysemy, homonymy is a ‘semasiological’ category that requires additional (textual) means of differentiating formally identical units” [15. P. 592]. The interference effect here is caused by the homonymy of words both within each language and between them; it consists in attributing to the word of a foreign language the meaning of an outwardly similar or similar word from the native language. To some extent, this category of words is a lexicographic Abstraction: in most cases it is simultaneously represented by a full and false lexical parallel in various combinations of semantic relations between them (parallel and cross), however, the accentuated allocation of such mixed interlingual associative correlations into a separate category allows us to streamline the dictionary reader’s lexical knowledge in each of the languages under consideration. In the lexicographic description, interlingual lexical homonyms are denoted by Roman numerals. Let us give an example of such a description.

КЛУБ I, -а, м:
общественная организация культурно-просветительского, спортивного или иного характера.

Club I, m:
= клуб I;

‘social organization:

cultural and educational, sports or otherwise.

= club I’

КЛУБ II, -а, м:
шарообразная летучая дымчатая масса
– bouffée (f) (о дыме), tourbillon (m) (о пыли).

Club II, m:
клюшка для гольфа.

‘spherical volatile smoky mass
– bouffée (f) (about smoke), tourbillon (m) (about dust)’

‘golf club’

According to V.V. Dubichinsky, interlingual lexical homonyms should be represented in the dictionary by at least a four-term pair structure. At the same time, it should be noted that there are quite frequent examples of interlingual homonyms, which are structures of the “1 to 2” or “1 to 3” type. In our opinion, the selection of such unpaired structures has a right to exist, since the mechanisms of interference action are similar here, and therefore the words in the composition of such unpaired structures also need to be considered together. For this phenomenon, we propose the name unidirectional interlingual lexical homonymy. Accordingly, unpaired structures of the “1 to 2” type will be unidirectional interlingual lexical homonyms, and four-term paired structures will be mutually directed interlingual lexical homonyms. The following examples of such structures can be given:

АДВОКАТ, -а, м:
юрист, который защищает
чьи-л. интересы, защитник в суде.

Avocat I, m:
1. = адвокат;
2*. ходатай, проситель, посредник.
Avocat II, m:
плод авокадо, аллигаторова груша.

‘lawyer who defends
smb’s interests, protector 
intermediary’ in a court’

‘1. = lawyer;
2*. intercessor, petitioner,
⚠ avocado fruit, alligator pear’.

учебно-научное и административное
подразделение вуза.

Faculté I (f):
способность, право, полномочие.
Faculté II (f):
= факультет.

‘educational, scientific and administrative division of the university’

⚠ ‘ability, right, authority.
= faculty’

In the described sphere of interlingual lexico-semantic phenomena, there are also completely false interlingual lexical homonyms, which V.V. Dubichinsky calls non-correlative interlingual homonyms:

ЛИСТ I, -а, м:
орган воздушного питания и
газообмена растений в виде тонкой, обычно зелёной
– feuille (f).

Liste I, f:
лента, поддерживающая
волосы на голове.

‘organ of plant air supply and
gas exchange in the form of  thin, usually green plate’

‘band that holds up
 hair on the head’.

ЛИСТ II, -а, м:
тонкий, плоский кусок, 
пласт какого-л. материала
– feuille (f).

Liste II, f:
1. список, опись, перечень;
2. ведомость.

‘thin, flat piece, layer of material’

‘1. list, inventory;
2. sheet’

Interlingual paronyms

Other complex interlingual lexical structures are interlingual paronyms (I.N. Kuznetsova suggests the term ‘diaparonyms’ [19]) — V.V. Dubichinsky defines them as “those words of compared languages, which in each of the considered languages have the status of paronyms” [8. P. 55–56]. Among the members of such complex structures in the bilingual consciousness, arise complex associative connections due to the presence of two words that are similar but do not match in form (or two potential translation options); this regularly provokes both interlingual interference errors and intralinguistic ones. The mechanism of linguistic conjecture and ignorance of the existence of a similar lexical pair in one of these words can be misleading when choosing a translation equivalent; at the same time, the discovery of such lexical pairs or even prior knowledge of them still leads to confusion when choosing an equivalent. In this case, the dictionary should explicate the delimitation of interlingual analogies of the word, grouping them, marking false associations and pointing to the only correct equivalent of the two possible ones. Let’s illustrate this category of words.

АБОНЕНТ, -а, м:
лицо, организация, учреждение,
которые имеют абонемент.

Abonné, m:
= абонент.

‘person, organization, institution
that has a subscription

= ‘subscriber’.

АБОНЕМЕНТ, -а, -м:
право пользования чем-либо
в течение определённого срока,
а также документ,
удостоверяющий это право.

Abonnement, m:
= абонемент.

‘the right to use something
for a certain period and
a document certifying this right’

= ‘subscription’.

Just as for interlingual homonymy, we consider it legitimate to single out unidirectional interlingual paronymy. In our examples, it is observed only in the direction from Russian to French. In the opposite direction, there is no interfering phenomenon of interlingual paronymy, there is only one full lexical parallel (full interlexeme) and one false lexical parellel. Here are a few examples to support this idea:

КРИТЕРИЙ, -я, м:
 признак, на основании которого производится оценка, определение или классификация чего-либо.

Critère, m:
 = критерий.

 ⚠ Criterium, m:
отборочные спортивные соревнования.

‘a sign based on which an assessment, definition or classification of something is made’

= ‘criterion

⚠ qualifying sports competitions’

ЮМОР, -а, м:
беззлобно-насмешливое отношение или качество чего-л., влага в организме; вызывающее смех; изображение чего-л. в смешном виде.

Humeur, f:
1. органическая жидкость,
2. настроение, расположение духа;
3. плохое настроение, досада.

Humour, m: = юмор.


‘a mildly mocking attitude or quality of smth that causes laughter; image of smth in a funny way’


= humour’

⚠ ‘1. organic liquid, moisture in the body;
2. mood;
3. bad mood, annoyance.

Observations on interlingual relations of associative correlations of words reveal a special group of lexical parallels — false interlingual paronyms, which V.V. Dubichinsky calls non-correlative interlingual paronyms:

МАЙОР, -а, м:

офицерское звание выше капитана и ниже полковника, а также лицо, носящее  это звание  
– commandant (m); и хозяйственной части;

Maïeur, Mayeur, m:


Major, m:
1. интендант, помощник командира по административной



2. лучший курсант;
3. уст. военный врач.

‘an officer’s rank above captain and below colonel, and the person having this rank’  



1. quartermaster, assistant commander in administrative and economic affairs;

2. the best cadet; arch. military doctor’


Research results

Having summarized the language material of the previous studies of RussianFrench language contacts and the lexicographic data of bilingual dictionaries, we have selected a vocabulary of 1357 items. The resulting list of words was analyzed from the point of view of the composition of the semantic structure of each word according to the explanatory dictionaries of Russian10 and French11. The data of explanatory dictionaries on the content of the semantic structure of each selected lexeme were checked and refined based on a sample of contextual word usages from the National Corpus of the Russian Language[9] [20] and French-language corpora of texts[10] [21]. This made it possible to fill the proposed V.V. Dubichinsky typology of lexical parallels in the new Russian-French language material.

Some inaccuracies in the interpretation of the semantic structure of individual lexemes and, as a result, the degree of their internationality and equivalence in translation were also corrected. So, for example, N.V. Krasnokutskaya qualifies the lexical parallel avocat адвокат ‘lawyer’ as words with a complete coincidence of meanings [22. P. 7], however, as we saw above, in this case there is only a partial coincidence. Based on the data of the analysis presented in the article and with the involvement of the linguistic material of previous studies, there can be made a full-fledged lexicographic comparison and description of Russian-French lexical parallels.


The analysis of the branched typology of Russian-French lexical parallels convincingly shows that without a special lexicographic reference book, even a highly qualified translator is not able to master all the features and subtleties of the word usage of lexical parallels in order to easily navigate them when working with two languages, and — what is more — neither can do a person who is just starting to learn a foreign language (Russian or French). Which is why the types of words considered here require a scientifically based collection, delimitation, classification and lexicographic description. From the point of view of the methodology of teaching foreign languages, such work will also clarify the boundaries of the potential vocabulary of a French speaker (or a user of French as a second language of communication) who studies Russian as a foreign language (and vice versa). Despite the long history of study and dictionary description, full, partial and false lexical parallels, as well as interlingual homonyms and paronyms of Russian and French, still do not have a full-fledged lexicographic fixation. Given current trends towards international cooperation in the field of globalization of education and intercultural communication and taking into account the activities of educational institutions for teaching Frenchspeaking students the Russian language around the world (as well as tasks of teaching French to Russian speakers) and the work to create teaching aids for a particular language contingent of students [23–25], the need for a dictionary of this kind is felt especially acutely. The development of dictionaries of lexical parallels for other pairs of languages is still relevant.


1 Epishkin N.I. Historical Dictionary of Gallicisms of the Russian Language. Moscow: ETS, 2010.

2 Akulenko V.V., Komissarchik S.Yu., Pogorelova R.V., Yukht V.L. English-Russian and RussianEnglish dictionary of ‘false friends of a translator’. Moscow: Soviet encyclopedia, 1969. Krasnov K.V. English-Russian dictionary of ‘false friends of a translator’ = English-Russian dictionary of ‘false friends’. Moscow: Sodruzhestvo A. Bogatyh and E. Rakitskaya, 2010. 3 Gottlieb K.G.M. Dictionary of ‘false friends of a translator’: Russian-German, German-Russian. Moscow: Russian language, 1985. Borgwardt U., Fehler W.H. ABC German-Russian. Stuttgart, 1999.

3 Muravyov V.L. Faux amis, or ‘false friends’ of a translator. Moscow: Prosveshcheniye, 1969. (In Russ.). Muravyov V.L. ‘False friends of a translator’: A manual for the teacher of the French language. Moscow: Prosveshcheniye. 1985. (In Russ.).

4 Kochergan M.P. Dictionary of Russian-Ukrainian interlingual homonyms. Kyiv: Akademia, 1997.

5 Kanonich S.I. 300 false friends of a translator: Spanish-Russian reference dictionary. Moscow: Manager, 2000.

6 Kusal K.Ch. Russian-Polish dictionary of interlingual homonyms. Wroclaw, 2002.

7 Kononenko I., Spivak O. Ukrainian-Polish dictionary of intermediate homonyms and paronyms. Kiev: Vishcha shkola, 2008.

8 Dubichynskiy V., Chaikhieva T., Conacova E. Diccionario didáctico de paralelos léxicos rusoespañol. Granada: Ed. Univ. de Granada, 2006.

9 National corpus of the Russian language. URL: (accessed: 27.02.2022). (In Russ.).

10 Lexiqum. URL:


About the authors

Elena N. Baryshnikova

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4228-1763

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Department of Russian Language and Teaching Methods

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Manetu Ndyay

Cheikh Anta Diop University

PhD in Pedagogy, Professor, Head of the Department of Russian Language 10700, Senegal, Dakar

Dmitrii V. Kazhuro

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1276-1208

Postgraduate student of the Department of Russian Language and Teaching Methods

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Figure 1. Typology and terminology of lexical parallels by V.V. Dubichinsky

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