Lexico-Semantic Group of Verbs of Interpersonal Relations in Russian and Chinese: based on the Translation of F.M. Dostoevsky’s Novel “Crime and Punishment”

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This study is devoted to the analysis of lexico-semantic group of verbs, which express attitude to someone in Russian and the ways of their translation into Chinese. A group of emotional and evaluative verbs included in the lexico-semantic field of interpersonal relations is analyzed. The choice of the study material is determined by the fact that this group of verbs is one of the most frequent in the use and widely represented in the novel “Crime and punishment” by F.M. Dostoyevsky, occurring 561 times. The significance of this research lies in the absence of a special systematic study of this lexico-semantic group on the material of literature in Russian and Chinese languages, as well as in the need to develop a comprehensive research methodology, methods of comparative and contextual analyses. The study reveals the semantic features of verbs in the Russian and Chinese languages. It is established that the lexico-semantic group under study consists of verbs that are perceived as categorical-lexical semes “relation” and can have both positive and negative semantic meaning. The semes ‘positive attitude’, ‘love’, ‘faith’, ‘respect’, ‘compassion’, ‘pity’ and ‘negative attitude’, ‘suffering’, ‘doubt’, ‘fear’ are subjected to study. These features determine the structure of the group in question in the lexical and semantic system of the Russian and Chinese languages, are expanding the understanding of the content and structure of the group of verbs. The result of the study is that the analysis of interlingual gaps reveals the presence of incomplete lexical correspondence to a foreign language word. The analyzed linguistic material made it possible to identify similarities and differences in the semantics of verbs when translating the text of the novel into Chinese.

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Modern linguistics proceeds from the position that language is an organized system in a proper way, i.e., a whole organic, the elements of which are naturally connected with each other and are in relationships [1. P. 411].

The vocabulary of any language in the world is also a system. The concept of “lexical semantic system”, was introduced into linguistic usage by academic V.V. Vinogradov. He wrote that “The boundaries of a word as a complex, and at the same time, as a complete linguistic unit, combining some forms, meanings and uses, can be determined only in the context of the lexical semantic system of the language, and only in relation to it” [2. P. 162]. F. de Saussure defined language as a system in which “everything is interconnected, interdependent and mutually conditioned”. According to Ju.D. Apresjan, vocabulary is a system, since its elements are not only connected with each other at different levels of language, but can also be transformed into each other [3. P. 118].

The lexico-semantic group (hereinafter referred to as LSG) is considered as one of the most important ways to systematize the lexical composition of a language. LSG is a set of linguistic units belonging to one part of speech, united by a common meaning and consisting of a common categoricallexical seme and some other differential semes. According to the definition of E.V. Kuznetsova, “LSG can be represented as classes of words characterized by similarity of combinability, it is widely representeцd in the development of functional equivalence and speech polysemy”. I.P. Slesareva states that “the LSG is understood as a linguistic and psychological reality, a fundamentally distinguishable association of words, whose members have the same grammatical status and are characterized by homogeneity of semantic relations — relations of semantic proximity by synonymous type” [4. P. 35].

In the opinion of the Chinese researcher Wu Zhe, LSG includes the following semantic relationships of words: synonymy, antonymy, polysemy, hyponymy, etc. [5. P. 34]. In 1984 the Chinese researcher Ma Weiqun presents in his work the relations between the conceptual field, the semantic field, the lexico-semantic group and synonymic series, stating that the LSG most fully reflects the various relations between the meanings of words [6. P. 44].

LSG is fairly regarded as one of the main ways of description in teaching Russian or Chinese as a foreign language [7. P. 79]. Thus, the study of LSG is the most common representation of vocabulary as a system.

The intensification of intercultural, political and economic relations between Russia and China has led to the fact that the comparative study of the two languages, including in the field of semantics and linguoculturology, became even more necessary.

In the system of Russian vocabulary, the verb, according to the definition of N.Y. Shvedova, takes a central place and plays a “dominant role” [8. P. 409]. V.V. Vinogradov points out fairly that the verb is the most semantically capacious category of the Russian language. This statement is shared by many scientists in the field of Russian and Chinese linguistics, claiming that the verb occupies a key place in the semantic structure and governs other semantic components.

The study of the semantic aspect of the functioning of the verbs of interpersonal relations in interlingual studies is important for the theory and practice of language research. Interpersonal relationships are understood as a set of various (positive, negative and neutral) interactions between people in the process of their communication. At all times, interpersonal relationships have been an important part of people’s lives, they are what provide us with the emotions and experiences necessary for the harmonious development of personality, motivation, and simply a feeling of satisfaction with life. It is verbs that do not denote separate phenomena, but phenomena-situations, phenomena-relations, actions-relations [9. P. 111]. According to L.G. Babenko, verbs are divided into three main groups: 1) action and activity; 2) being, state, quality; 3) relation. Verbs of relation are represented by four subgroups: verbs of interaction, verbs of possession, verbs of interpersonal relationships, verbs of social relationships. In this article the material we have chosen to study also stems from L.G. Babenko’s classification of verbs of interpersonal relationships. For example: любить ‘love’, влюбляться ‘fall in love’, ненавидеть ‘hate’, плакать ‘cry’, аплодировать ‘applaud’, смеяться ‘laugh’, хохотать ‘guffaw’, игнорировать ‘ignore’, etc.

In the opinion of R.M. Gaisina, verbs that are united on the basis of the common semantic component ‘interpersonal relationships’ are a set of words of several lexicosemantic groups, including verbs of behavior, verbs of feeling, verbs of speech, verbs of sound, etc. [10. P. 104]. L.M. Vasiliev points out that emotional verbs that express interpersonal relationships intersect with other kinds of verbs, sometimes with verbs of emotional experience and states, sometimes with verbs of speech and behavior, and with verbs of intellectual activity [11. P. 108].

M.V. Rumyantseva believes that groups of verbs of interpersonal relationships are perceived as categorical-lexical semes “relation”, which denote that mutual communication, connection between someone, formed on some ground [12. P. 8]. The study of T.P. Akimova analyzes verbs of interpersonal relationships as “anthropocentric units”, in that these verbs verbally formalize relations between people [13. P. 12]. The idea of studying the lexico-semantic space of language in the aspect of anthropocentric paradigm is now widely recognized.

The following terminological designations are accepted in this article: the verbal semantic class is relation, the subclass is interpersonal relationships, the lexicosemantic group is the expression of interpersonal relationships with the allocation of lexico-semantic subgroups.

Let us take a more detailed look at the analyzed group of verbs.

  1. Verbs expressing positive attitude show that one or another subject has positive feelings (benevolence, trust, respect, esteem, etc.), someone is attracted by peculiarity of the object or something in the life. Hence such verbs as баловать ‘spoil’, доверять ‘trust’, дорожить ‘value’, жалеть ‘pity’, заботиться ‘take care of’, любить ‘love’, обожать ‘adore’, etc., many of which are synonymous.
  2. Verbs expressing negative evaluative attitude show that the subject has some negative feelings, i.e. treats someone with dislike, hatred (e.g. the verb враждовать ‘be at enmity with’), with disdain (e.g. the verb дискриминировать ‘discriminate against’), with dislike, irritation (e.g. the verb ненавидеть ‘hate’), etc.

In the present study, by the method of continuous sampling, 561 examples of the use of the LSG of verbs of interpersonal relationships of the emotional and evaluative sign with the typical semantics ‘to treat someone in some way, showing some feelings’ were identified. Based on these examples, 65 lexical units were analyzed.

Structure of verbs of interpersonal relationships in Russian

Many linguists consider semantics to be the main scientific discipline of the XX century: as L.A. Novikov mentions that the germs of the future science of meaning are clearly emerging, which should be characterized by further enlargement and comprehensive coverage of the object (the research of systems of interacting in semantic fields, text categories, word formation in a sentence), the disclosure of mechanisms of the meanings realization of units in different categories and peripheral meanings of words in different structures. The future science is also researching the nature and functions of aesthetic signs i.e. “language as art” and many others [1. P. 14].

In modern linguistic research, the concept of semantic structure iFFs usually largely used in lexicology, where it is seen as a unity of certain organized meanings.

One of the possible ways to describe the semantic structure of linguistic units is their direct semantic analysis. It allows to simultaneously show both the methodology of studying the lexical meaning and its “structure” [1. P. 483]. The main concepts connected with the semantic analysis of language are the text, the researcher and the system of language. A text in the wide sense of the word is understood to be a speech recorded in a certain way — literary output [1. P. 484]. The text of the novel “Crime and Punishment” by F.M. Dostoevsky and its translation into Chinese by Zeng Siyi and Yue Lin are taken as the material for the study, where our attention is drawn to the theme and motives associated with the emotional state of the characters: love, truth, faith, respect, compassion.

The meaning of verbs of interpersonal relationships can be represented as a set of semantic components. As an example, the categorical-lexical semes ‘attitude’, ‘speech’, ‘feeling’, ‘state’, ‘emotion’ and others are considered. The semes, which are in certain relations and hierarchical relations, form the semantic structure of the word. It is realized with the help of differential semes.

The meaning of the words любить ‘love’ (138 examples), уважать ‘respect’ (19 examples), чтить ‘honour’ (2 examples), презирать ‘despise’ (9 examples), ненавидеть ‘hate’ (14 examples), etc. present the categorical semes ‘attitude’ and ‘feeling’. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the verb любить ‘love’ occurs 138 times in the novel. For example:

«Я ее больше всех люблю! — с какой-то особенною твердостью проговорила Поленька, и улыбка ее стала вдруг серьезнее» [14. P. 348] ‘I love her more than anyone, Polenka answered with a peculiar earnestness, and her smile became graver’ [15. P. 157].

«Он велел их чтить и любить, они будущее человечество…» [14. P. 612] ‘He bade us honour and love them, they are the humanity of the future…’ [15. P. 277].

The verb ненавидеть ‘hate’ (14 times), although widely represented in its different word forms, occurs 9 times less frequently than its antonym любить ‘love’ (138 times). For example:

«У ней жила дальняя родственница, … которую эта Ресслих беспредельно ненавидела и каждым куском попрекала; даже бесчеловечно била» [14. P. 553] ‘She had a relation, a niece, … Resslich hated this girl, and grudged her every crust; she used to beat her mercilessly [15. P. 249].

The lexical units уважать ‘respect’ (19 examples), почитать ‘honour’ (8 examples), чтить ‘honour’ (2 examples), поклоняться ‘worship’ (4 examples), благоговеть ‘revere’ (2 examples), and благоволить ‘favor’ (1 example), meaning to treat someone with esteem, deep respect, are also often found in the novel. For example:

«Однако ж, что в следующих поколениях эта же масса ставит казненных на пьедестал и им поклоняется (более или менее)» [14. P. 483] ‘But the same masses set these criminals on a pedestal in the next generation and worship them (more or less)’ [15. P. 219].

«Это хорошо; я думала, вы перед ним благоговеете, – заметила Авдотья Романовна с улыбкой» [14. P. 397] ‘I am glad. I thought that you were too uncritically devoted to him, observed Avdotya Romanovna with a smile’ [15. P. 180].

The analysis of the verbs of interpersonal relationships revealed in the text of the novel exposed that the lexeme верить ‘believe’ (to treat someone with full confidence, to rely on someone, to be confident in someone’s sincerity, conscientiousness) is one of the most used words in the novel “Crime and Punishment”, which is indicated by the number of their use (114 times). The lexeme верить ‘believe’ carries the semantics ‘trust’. For example:

«Никому-то из вас я не верю [14. P. 311] ‘I don’t believe in anyone of you!’ [15. P. 139].

«Верите вы мне? Ну, верите вы мне или нет?» [14. P. 369] ‘Do you trust me? Come, do you trust me or not?’ [15. P. 166].

A special place is given to a discussion of faith. The author shows that each person takes his or her own path to faith in a different way. In addition to the lexeme верить ‘believe’, the lexemes доверять ‘trust’ (6 examples), ручаться/ поручиться ‘vouch’ (5 examples), полагаться/положиться ‘rely’ (2 examples) are often found in the novel. For example:

«Видите, как я вам доверяю, Аркадий Иванович, – право, так и выразилась» [14. P. 528] ‘You see how I trust you, Arkady Ivanovitch — that was actually her expression’ [15. P. 238].

«На него можно положиться, уверяю вас» [14. P. 375] ‘We can depend on him, I assure you’ [15. P. 169].

The meaning of the words осуждать ‘condemn’ (10 examples), оскорблять ‘insult’ (8 examples) and насмехаться ‘mock’ (2 examples) combines the categorical semantics: ‘attitude’, ‘feeling’ and ‘speech’. The verbs насмехаться ‘mock’ and оскорблять ‘insult’ contain the semantics ‘showing a negative attitude towards another person’. For example:

«И справедливо, ибо в нищете я первый сам готов оскорблять себя» [14. P. 22] ‘And quite right, too, forasmuch as in beggary I am ready to be the first to humiliate myself’ [15. P. 12].

«Я вовсе не насмехаюсь; мне только говорить этим языком надоело» [14. P. 922] ‘I am far from jeering; it’s simply that I’m sick of talking like this’ [15. P. 406].

The presented verb lexeme жалеть ‘pity’, used 21 times in the novel, means that the subject feel sympathy with someone in a difficult situation, and the lexeme сочувствовать ‘sympathize’ means: to feel sorry for someone. Quite often in the novel there are units щадить ‘spare’, поощрять ‘encourage’, одобрять ‘approve’. For example:

«– Жалеть! Зачем меня жалеть! – вдруг возопил Мармеладов» [14. P. 40] ‘To be pitied! Why am I to be pitied? Marmeladov suddenly declaimed’ [15. P. 19].

«Ну-с, так вот мое мнение: господину, отхлеставшему немку, глубоко не сочувствую, потому что и в самом деле оно… что же сочувствовать[14. P. 524] ‘Well, as for the gentleman who thrashed the German, I feel no sympathy with him, because after all what need is there for sympathy?’ [15. P. 236].

The lexical unit дорожить ‘value’ (6 examples), expressing the meaning ‘value something highly, fear to lose it’, appears 6 times in the novel. For example:

«Я не выйду за него, не быв убеждена, что он ценит меня и дорожит мной» [14. P. 429] ‘I would not marry him if I were not convinced that he esteems me and thinks highly of me’ [15. P. 195].

We have analyzed the verbs of interpersonal relationships, also denoting negative attitudes, which are presented in this literary text. In his novel, F.M. Dostoevsky often describes the psychological experiences of his characters, while they are cleansed from their sins, receive spiritual purification. Indeed, in life we meet not only love and faith, but also suffering, doubt, fear and much more. For example:

«Он никогда еще не видал и не подозревал у него такого лица» [14. P. 838] ‘He had never seen and never suspected such an expression in his face’ [15. P. 372].

«Встану, да и брякну всем в рожу всю правду; и увидите, как я вас презираю[14. P. 471] ‘I shall get up and throw the whole truth in your ugly faces, and you’ll see how I despise you’ [15. P. 215].

The meaning ‘disapproving attitude to the behavior, action or word of another person’ is realized in the unit осуждать ‘condemn’, occurring 10 times in the text. The unit пренебрегать ‘neglect’ with the semantics ‘to treat someone without respect or fail to take care of someone’ occurs less frequently — 4 times. For example:

«Говорила и осуждала она спокойно и серьезно» [14. P. 295] ‘She made her criticism quietly and earnestly’ [15. P. 131].

«Болезнь, Родион Романович, болезнь! Болезнию своей пренебрегать слишком начали-с» [14. P. 642] ‘It’s all illness, Rodion Romanovitch! You have begun to neglect your illness’ [15. P. 289].

Emotional-evaluative relationships are expressions of people’s feelings about other people. They are characterized by the influence of emotions on a person in the process of his interaction with the outside world and other people: different views, characters, attitudes to the world. The mentioned above lexical units have a high frequency, as they express a certain attitude or feeling of a person to other people. In addition, these lexical units occupy an important place in the creative personality of F.M. Dostoevsky himself. The lexico-semantic group of verbs of interpersonal relationships, as a special group of verbs denoting relation between people, plays an important role not only in the study of the word meanings, but also in communicative activity.

Comparative aspect of the study

The comparative study of vocabulary is a branch of linguistics that studies the lexical systems of two or more languages by comparing them with each other.

In her famous work “Problems of Describing and Teaching Russian Vocabulary” I.P. Slesareva emphasizes that when teaching the Russian language to foreigners, it is necessary to use LSG as the basic unit for describing vocabulary. Chinese researcher Ma Weiqun argues that the LSG most fully reflects the different relations between the meanings of words, it is also the most applicable approach to the study and teaching of a foreign language [6. P. 44].

Comparative analysis has a direct connection with translation. The method of comparative analysis is not only an important way for a translator’s specific practical activity, but also for studying the problem of translatability in translation theory, especially for studying the problems of equivalence of the original and the translated text. Different genres have different writing styles and language characteristics, which must be considered in the translation process [16. P. 218].

All the time, translation of literary texts has attracted academic scientists, and the professionals involved in the research, the use of research methods, and the cultural background related to language have become more and more extensive [17]. The study of verbs expressing interpersonal relationships not only helps to translate texts effectively, but also to extract the hidden emotions in the translation of texts.

In our study, the translation of F.M. Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment” into Chinese discusses the verbs of interpersonal relationships, which can be categorized into the following subgroups:

  1. Monosemous verbs, in which, as O.S. Akhmanova notes, each unit of linguistic meaning corresponds to a separate meaning [18. P. 94]. For example:

喜欢 xǐ huān — нравиться ‘like’, 爱 ài — любить ‘love’, 信任 xìn rèn — доверять ‘trust’, 讨厌 tǎo yàn — ненавидеть ‘hate’, 侮辱 wǔ rǔ — оскорблять ‘insult’, etc.

In most cases, the translator was able to translate the verb adequately. Chinese verbs have equivalent meanings to Russian verbs. Let us demonstrate this with examples:

你知道,我是多么爱你:你是我们——我和杜尼娅唯一的亲人,你是我们的一切,是我们的全部希冀,我们的期望 [nǐ zhīdào, wǒ shì duōme ài nǐ: nǐ shì wǒmen — wǒ hé dùníyà wéiyī de qīnrén, nǐ shì wǒmen de yīqiē, shì wǒmen de quánbù xījì, wǒmen de qīwàng] [19. P. 85]. In the original: «Ты знаешь, как я люблю тебя: ты один у нас, у меня и у Дуни, ты наше все, вся надежда, упование наше» [14. P. 55] ‘You know how I love you; you are all we have to look to, Dounia and I, you are our all, our one hope, our one stay’ [15. P. 26].

Love is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world, and it occupies one of the central places in the novel in terms of the number of situations expressing ‘interpersonal relationship’. Virtually every one of the key characters in the novel has a love story of his own. In the words of F.M. Dostoevsky, “The strength and depth of human nature are learned in love and faithfulness”.

In the translation of the novel, verbs that coincide with the original in meaning, denoting a negative emotional-evaluative attitude, are revealed. An example follows:

拉斯科尔尼科夫赫然大怒;他突然心生一念——侮辱一下这个胖乎乎的花花公子 [lāsī kēěrníkēfū hèrándànù; tā tūrán xīnshēngyīniàn — wǔrǔ yīxià zhègè pànghūhū de huāhuāgōngzǐ [19. P. 130]. In the original: «Раскольников ужасно разозлился; ему вдруг захотелось как-нибудь оскорбить этого жирного франта» [14. P. 88] ‘Raskolnikov felt furious; he had a sudden longing to insult this fat dandy in some way’ [15. P. 33].

When translating verbs from two languages, we will encounter difficulties associated with the different meanings of these verbs, which in many cases do not match the native language. The Russian verbs that do not have equivalent meanings in Chinese are considered. For example, the verbs дискредитировать ‘discredit’, дискриминировать ‘discriminate’, недолюбливать ‘dislike’, опротиветь ‘disgust’, почитать ‘honor’ do not have equivalent meanings in Chinese. In another case, the Russian verb опротиветь ‘disgust’ is not expressed by a verb in Chinese, but by a word combination. The meaning of the verb is represented by the characters ‘ 对……厌烦 [duì … yàn fán] (букв. вызывать в ком-либо отвращение) to become loathsome’. Let’s give an example:

我提出这个问题是有目的的,但是三年来,我……对千篇一律地复述这些老生常谈已经厌烦极了 [wǒ tí chū zhè gè wèn tí shì yǒu mù de de, dàn shì sān nián lái, wǒ … duì qiān piān yī lǜ dì fù shù zhè xiē lǎo shēng cháng tán yǐ jīng yàn fán jí le] [19. P. 439]. In the original: «Я ведь и заговорил с целию, а то мне вся эта болтовня-себятешение, … до того в три года опротивели» [14. P. 277] ‘I began this discussion with an object, but I’ve grown so sick during the last three years of this chattering to amuse oneself, of this incessant flow of commonplaces …’ [15. P. 122].

  1. Polysemous verbs expressing emotional and evaluative attitudes. In Chinese, this group of verbs, as well as in Russian, has a complex semantics [18. P. 4]. Interlinguistic inconsistency also exist in polysemous verbs. Let’s look at some verbs in detail.

The Chinese verb 数落 [shù luò] has different lexico-semantic variants of meaning: a) попрекать ‘to reproach’; b) без умолку пересказывать новости ‘to retell the news without a word’. A similar case is illustrated by the following example:

这个可怜的女人数落着,号啕大哭,气喘吁吁 [zhègè kělián de nǚrén shùluò zhe, hàotáo dàkū, qìchuǎn xūxū] [букв. Бедная женщина попрекала, подвывая и тяжело дыша] [20. P. 1109].

In the original text the author F.M. Dostoevsky describes it as follows: «Вопила, рыдая и задыхаясь, бедная женщина» [14. P. 755] ‘Wailed the poor woman, sobbing and gasping’ [15. P. 336]. In the original text the author does not use the verb попрекать ‘reproach’, but “the troubles started coming in”, the poor woman describes one misfortune after another, so in the translation must be accurate and complete in accordance with the characteristics of the Chinese language.

The Chinese verb 生气 [shēng qì] also has lexico-semantic variations and can mean: a) сердиться/рассердиться ‘to be angry’; b) жизненная сила ‘vitality’. In Russian irritation as the main (primary) meaning refers to the LSG of interpersonal relationships, but unlike the Chinese verb, the Russian verb сердиться ‘angry’ has no such meaning as жизненная сила ‘vitality’. For example:

请别嘲笑我,也别生气 [qǐng bié cháoxiào wǒ, yě bié shēngqì] [19. P. 544]. In the original text: «Не смейтесь и не сердитесь!» [14. P. 370] ‘Don’t laugh, and don’t be angry!’ [15. P. 167].

忆及不久前成功地谋到了一件差事,他似乎倏然变得生气勃勃,脸上甚至 闪现出某种神采 [yì jí bú jiǔ qián chénggōng dì móu dào le yījiàn chàshì, tā sìhū shūrán biàndé shēngqìbóbó, liǎnshàng shènzhì shǎnxiàn chū mǒuzhǒng shéncǎi] [19. P. 56]. In the original text: «Воспоминания о недавнем успехе по службе как бы оживили его и даже отразились на лице его каким-то сиянием» [14. P. 35] ‘The recollection of his recent success in getting the situation seemed to revive him, and was positively reflected in a sort of radiance on his face’ [15. P. 17].

Equally interesting is that when translating the same verb уважать ‘respect’ into Chinese in different contexts, the translator uses a synonymous series of verbs with a common meaning represented by the characters ‘尊重 [zūn zhòng]’ и ‘尊敬 [zūn jìng]’. For example:

«— Я не выйду за него, не быв убеждена, что он ценит меня и дорожит мной; не выйду за него, не быв твердо убеждена, что сама могу уважать его» [14. P. 430] ‘I would not marry him if I were not convinced that he esteems me and thinks highly of me’ [15. P. 195].

假如我不相信他会尊重我,珍视我,我是不会嫁给他的;假如我不是确信我自己会尊重他,我也不会嫁给他 [jiǎrú wǒ bú xiàngxìn tā huì zūnzhòng wǒ, zhēnshì wǒ, wǒ shì búhuì jiàgěi tā de; jiǎrú wǒ búshì quèxìn wǒ zìjǐ huì zūnzhòng tā, wǒ yě búhuì jiàgěi tā] [19. P. 634].

«Да: каким образом ты сегодня же убедишься, что можешь уважать его и что он… ценит, что ли, как ты сказала?» [14. P. 430] ‘Oh, yes. In what way will you get convincing proof to-day that you can respect him, and that he… esteems you, as you said’ [15. P. 195].

是的:你今天究竟以什么来证明你会尊敬他,而他也会……尊重你,你是 这样说的,对吗? [shìde: nǐ jīntiān jiūjìng yǐ shíme lái zhèngmíng nǐ huì zūnjìng tā, ér tā yěhuì…zūnzhòng nǐ, nǐ shì zhèyàng shuō de, duìma] [19. P. 635].

Another point worth exploring in our study is that depending on the context different variations are also used when translating the Russian verb щадить ‘spare’ into Chinese. For example:

«…и что будто бы это было слишком грубо, с отцами-то, что можно было бы их пощадить, написать мягче» [14. P. 683] ‘She might have spared them and have written more kindly’ [15. P. 306].

Version № 1: 人们都认为,她这样做似乎对父母太粗暴无情了,应该怜 恤父母,写得温婉一些 [rénmen dōu rènwéi, tā zhèyàng zuò sìhū duì fùmǔ tài cūbàowúqíng le, yīnggāi liánxù fùmǔ, xiě dé wēnwǎn yīxiē] [19. P. 1020].

Version № 2: 据说,这似乎太粗暴了,如果写得婉转些,父母就可以宽恕他们 [jùshuō, zhè sìhū tài cūbào le, rúguǒ xiě dé wǎnzhuǎn xiē, fùmǔ jiù kěyǐ kuānshù tāmen] [20. P. 1014].

In the case of different subjects (In the first — Terebiev (Теребьева), in the second — her parents), the verbs chosen for use are different. Both variants correspond to the original text.

«Пощадите, батюшка, я человек грешный» [14. P. 899] ‘Have mercy on me, my good friend. I am a sinful man’ [15. P. 396].

Version № 1: 饶了我吧,老弟,我是一个罪孽深重的人 [ráo le wǒ ba, lǎodì, wǒ shì yīgè zuìnièshēnzhòng de rén] [19. P. 1341].

Version № 2: 宽恕我吧,老弟,我是个有罪的人 [kuānshù wǒ ba, lǎodì, wǒ shìgè yǒuzuì de rén] [20. P. 1312].

In Chinese, the verb 饶 [ráo] expresses the meaning: щадить, прощать ‘spare, forgive’. The sentence ‘饶了我吧’ is usually used in a conversational context. In the authors’ opinion, the first version of the translation is more successful, as it is more appropriate to the context of the original dialogue.

«Но его ни с вами, ни кругом вас не было, я-таки смотрел: это отважно, хотели, значит, пощадить Родиона Романыча» [14. P. 916] ‘But he was not with you nor anywhere near. I was on the look-out. It’s spirited of you, it proves you wanted to spare Rodion Romanovitch’ [15. P. 403].

Version № 1: 然而,他既没有陪您来,也没守护在您周围,我还是观察过的,这堪称浑身是胆,也就是说,您很爱惜罗季昂•罗曼诺维奇 [rán ér, tā jì méi yǒu péi nín lái, yě méi shǒu hù zài nín zhōu wéi, wǒ hái shì guān chá guò de, zhè kān chēng hún shēn shì dǎn, yě jiù shì shuō, nín hěn ài xī luó jì áng·luó màn nuò wéi qí] [19. P. 1365].

Version № 2: 可是他没有和您一同来,也不在您的周围,我到底注意着:这是很勇敢的。看来,您想饶恕罗季昂·罗曼诺维奇 [kěshì tā méiyǒu hé nín yītóng lái, yě búzài nín de zhōuwéi, wǒ dàodǐ zhùyì zhe: zhèshì hěn yǒnggǎn de. kànlái, nín xiǎng ráoshù luó jì áng·luó màn nuò wéi qí] [20. P. 1335].

The verb 饶恕 [ráo shù] means ‘to treat indulgently’. In this context, it is most appropriate to use this verb.

All of the examples we have described above are in the novel and in the translation of texts express an emotional attitude towards a certain person, a certain event, an object and a phenomenon.

The study reveals the semantic features of the verbs of the two languages – Russian and Chinese, which seems crucial in the translation process. The analysis of interlingual gaps indicates the presence of incomplete lexical correspondence to the foreign language word. Insufficient consideration of the semantic features of these verbs in both languages can lead to an incorrect understanding of meaning. A comparative study makes a vitally important theoretical basis for teaching Russian and Chinese.

A comparative study of verbs of interpersonal relationships showed that depending on the context, one lexical unit in Russian is translated into Chinese in different ways: уважать — 尊重 [zūn zhòng] и 尊敬 [zūn jìng]; щадить — 怜恤 [lián xù], 饶 [ráo] и 爱惜 [ài xī]. On yet another occasion, the Chinese verb 生气 [shēng qì] has two meanings: сердиться/рассердиться ‘to be angry’ and жизненная сила ‘vitality’. In order to reduce the errors in the use and understanding of verbs of interpersonal relationships, it is necessary to study their semantics, since they are not exactly the same in the two languages at all times.


In the process of communication and translation, in addition to taking into account the semantic and structural features of the word meaning, it is also necessary to consider the national and cultural characteristics used in work or life in order to accurately convey its specific meaning. The comparative analysis of lexicosemantic groups of verbal words belonging to the interpersonal relationships convinced us that in interpersonal communication there is something more than just the transmission and perception of the meaning of specific words. Even the accurate meaning conveyed by a single word in the context is filled with a variety of connotations that can intensify or diminish its meaning. The linguistic analysis of the LSG of verbs of interpersonal relationships on the material of the translation of the F.M. Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment” into Chinese provides an opportunity to gain insight into the essence of the specific features and properties of the two languages.


About the authors

Xiuyu Li

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.
Email: lixiuyu0525@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0009-0004-8283-534X

postgraduate student of the Department of General and Russian Linguistics, Faculty of Philology

6, Miklukho-Maklaya Str, Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Evgeny S. Rybinok

RUDN University

Email: rybinok-es@rudn.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8761-5304
ResearcherId: AAC-9021-2022

PhD in Philology, Senior Lecturer at the Department of General and Russian Linguistics, Faculty of Philology

6, Miklukho-Maklaya Str, Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198


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