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Reference:

Mechanisms of metaphorical formation and interpretation of zoosemisms in Russian dictionaries

Li Imo

PhD in Philology

Lecturer, Philological Faculty, Shenzhen MSU-BIT University.

518172, China, Guangdong Province, Shenzhen, Guojidaxuyuan str., 1, office 214

liyimo@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2024.4.70437

EDN:

ZDBZKA

Received:

10-04-2024


Published:

17-04-2024


Abstract: The subject of the study is the lexical and semantic features of Russian zoosemisms characterizing the internal signs of a person. The object of the study is Russian zoosemisms, that is, secondary names of persons motivated by animal names (zoonyms). The paper examines the relationship between the primary meanings of animals and their metaphorical zoosemic meanings; the interaction of metaphorical connections and cultural representations in language; and the potential for the development of zoosemisms in the Russian language. The author examines in detail such aspects of the topic as zoosemisms reflecting the internal characteristics of a person and directly related to the zoonyms motivating them; zoosemisms reflecting the internal features of a person and indirectly related to the zoonyms motivating them. Special attention is paid to the analysis of possible sources of zoosemisms, which are indirectly related to the zoonyms motivating them, as well as their stability in the psychological state of native Russian speakers. The following methods are used in the study: descriptive, component analysis, comparative analysis, as well as the method of continuous sampling of material. The novelty of this work lies in an in-depth analysis of a specific subgroup of zoosemisms; identification of various connections between zoonyms and zoosemisms motivated by them; as well as in highlighting the special role of zoosemisms in the linguistic picture of the world of Russian speakers. The results of the study confirm the complexity and diversity of the connections between zoonyms and the zoosemisms motivated by them, many of which are directly related to the cultural, historical and phraseological aspects of the Russian language. The zoosemisms ram, gad, beetle, fox, turkey exist as stronger cultural elements, and are steadily present in the minds of native speakers of the Russian language. The zoosemisms sparrow, goose, animal, dog, creature, chicken are in the status of dynamic development. The source of zoosemisms can be phraseologically related meanings of the corresponding animal (zoosemisms goat, sheep, donkey, rooster); metaphorical meanings of the corresponding masculine animal (zoosemisms gadina, fox/fox, donkey/donkey, bitch); metaphorical meanings associated with the species or family of the corresponding animal (zoosemisms barbosa, tigress, shiloh tail). This analysis enriches the understanding of the mechanisms of metaphor formation in the Russian language and can serve as a basis for further linguistic research, as well as methods of teaching Russian to foreign students.


Keywords:

lexicology, lexico-semantic groups, secondary naming of persons, zoosemisms, zoonyms, animal names, psycholinguistics, lexicography, Russian explanatory dictionaries, Russian associative dictionary

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Lexical and semantic groups of animal names are analyzed from various points of view. Some scientists consider both the metaphorical meaning and the comparative meaning of the zoonym: R. V. Patyukova [1]; A. A. Sharova [2]; M. A. Gavrilyuk [3]. Others consider only the comparative meanings of the zoonym: O. A. Vaskova[4]; G. M. Safaralieva [5]; Salim Ahmed Ibrahim [6]. Meanwhile, interest in the metaphorical meanings of zoonyms, or zoosemisms, is growing among researchers, including: A. A. Kiprianova [7]; Cai Xiao-lin [8]; M. V. Shulga [9]; Li Imo [10]. Zoosemisms – secondary names of persons motivated by animal names (zoonyms) – are one of the most regular models of metaphorical nomination [11, p. 90].

The sources of this study are the "Russian Semantic Dictionary" [12] (hereinafter: RSS); "Dictionary of offensive words" by L. V. Dulichenko [13] (hereinafter: SOS). These two dictionaries together reflect the main scientific traditions of modern lexicography: the traditions of Large and Small academic dictionaries and the normative explanatory dictionary of common vocabulary by S. I. Ozhegov and N. Y. Shvedova. By the method of continuous sampling of the material in these two editions, we have identified 162 Russian zoosemisms.

The work focuses on the study of zoosemisms in the Russian language, which reflect various aspects of human nature, including internal qualities, behavioral characteristics, appearance, social status and the speaker's attitude to the interlocutor. Special emphasis is placed on those zoosemisms that are used to describe the internal characteristics of a person.

Of the total number of 162 zoosemisms identified in Russian dictionaries, 46 belong to the category reflecting the internal characteristics of a person. It is noteworthy that among these, 24 zoosemisms retain a direct connection with the zoonyms motivating them, reflected in explanatory dictionaries, for the remaining 22 zoosemisms the connection is indirect. Our goal is to examine the relationship between primary and metaphorical zoosemic meanings on the basis of dictionary entries, analyze the mechanisms of their metaphorization and assess the degree of their stability and significance in the linguistic consciousness of native Russian speakers.

Zoosemisms reflecting the internal characteristics of a person and directly related to the motivating zoonyms

In Russian explanatory dictionaries, the relationship between the interpretations of zoonyms and the zoosemisms motivated by them is based on three key aspects:

1: Physical and external characteristics of animals;

2: Animal behaviors and habits;

3: References to ancient Greek mythology.

The first group includes 10 zoosemic units: asp, viper, echidna, snake, snake, cobra, lamb, calf/calf, calf, lamb.

Zoosemisms indicating the internal characteristics of a person can be based on the physical and external features of motivating zoonyms. For example, in the animal asp, the sign is ‘poisonous’ [13, p. 13], which is associated with the signs of ‘evil, insidious’ [12, p. 116; 13, p. 13] in homonymous zoosemisms. Also the zoosemisms viper, echidna, snake, snake, cobra.

The zoonyms calf, heifer, calf denote the offspring of some artiodactyls (cows). The corresponding zoosemes characterize children according to the signs of ‘simple-minded, helpless, weak-willed, unresponsive’ [13, p. 193]. The zoonym I gnenok denotes a baby sheep, the corresponding zoosem characterizes a person by the signs of ‘meek, gentle’ [12, p. 97]. The zoonym sheep as a ‘diminutive to sheep’ [12, p. 421], characterizes a person with the signs of ‘meek, meek, characterless’ [13, p. 119]

Zoosemisms indicating the internal signs of a person can be based on the behavior and habits of the corresponding animals. This type includes 10 zoosemic units: loach, beast/beast, bison, fox/fox, panther, wolverine, scorpion, dragonfly, owl, jackal.

The zoonym z ver / z veryuga has a ‘predatory’ sign [12, p. 403], which is associated with the signs of ‘evil, insidious’ [12, p. 116; 13, p. 13] in homonymous zoosemisms.

Most predatory animals are dangerous to humans, therefore, zoosemisms motivated by such zoonyms as fox/fox, panther,scorpion,owl, jackal, are accompanied by strong negative assessments. For example, in the zoosemism panther: ‘quirky, aggressive’ [12, p. 414]; in zoosemisms, the jackal: ‘vile, vile, insignificant’ [13, p. 229]; in zoosemisms, the panther: ‘dark-colored leopard, predatory’ [12, p. 414].

In addition, the animals wolverine, dragonfly, and bison are wild, and people are not as familiar with them as with livestock. This is probably why their interpretations are available only in encyclopedic dictionaries. We assume that the metaphorical meaning of these zoonyms may come from a superficial human observation of the behavior and characteristics of these animals. 

The zoonym r osomakh in the encyclopedic dictionary is interpreted with the signs ‘stocky body, very clumsy’, ‘not distinguishing a fast animal' [14, p. 88]. Wolverine zoosemism is characterized by a person with the signs of ‘unassembled, disorganized, sluggish and sluggish’ [13, p. 163].

 An animal with trecosis a in the encyclopedic dictionary is interpreted with the signs ‘they fly very fast' [15, p. 167]. The zoosemism dragonfly characterizes a child with signs of ‘lively, mobile' [12, p. 99].

The animal bison in the encyclopedic dictionary is interpreted with the signs ‘almost completely exterminated by man,’ [16, p. 89]. The zoosemism of bison characterizes a person with the signs of ‘experienced and valuable' [12, p. 90].

Zoosemisms indicating the internal signs of a person can be based on ancient Greek mythology. 5 zoosemic units belong to this type: a gnets, g hydra, d racon, z mei, z yerber. They characterize mythological creatures negatively, as well as the zoosemisms motivated by them. For example: the zoonym dragon ‘in mythology, fairy tales: a monster in the form of a winged fire-breathing snake' [12, p. 458; 13, p. 49]. The corresponding zoosemism characterizes a person with the signs of ‘cruel, ruthless' [13, p. 49].

Zoosemisms reflecting the inner traits of a person and indirectly related to the motivating zoonyms

Approximately 48% of these zoosemisms (i.e. 22 units), which indicate the internal characteristics of a person, are only indirectly related to the characteristics of their motivating zoonyms.

The question arises about the origin of the characteristic features of zoosemisms. Within the framework of psycholinguistics, we strive to identify associations that arise in native speakers when encountering these zoosemisms. Of particular interest is the elucidation of the connection between associative words and the characteristic features of zoosemisms.

In the course of our research, we relied on the "Russian regional associative dictionary-thesaurus EVRAS. Volume 2. From reaction to stimulus" [17] (hereinafter: RRAS). This dictionary is based on data from an associative experiment involving native speakers of the Russian language. He illustrates the complex interaction between words and their concepts by presenting stimulus words and their corresponding reaction words, including zoosemisms. The number after the stimulus is the number of subjects who responded with this reaction to this stimulus [17, p. 3]. The dictionary also reveals the semantic ones objectively existing in the psyche of a native speaker [18, p. 210].

We have identified 22 zoosemisms that reflect the internal characteristics of a person and are indirectly related to the signs of the zoonyms motivating them. Among them, half of the zoosemisms are recorded in the RRAS as reaction words. The stimuli that caused these reactions coincide with the characteristic features of zoosemisms. The zoosemisms ram, gad, zh uk, fox, turkey exist as stronger cultural elements describing the internal characteristics of a person in the Russian language. These zoosemisms are consistently present in the minds of native Russian speakers and play an important role in the linguistic picture of the world of the Russian-speaking population. The zoosemisms sparrow, g us, z ivotnoe, s obaka, t varya, k uritsa will also be recorded in the RAS as reaction words, but the number and frequency of their stimuli are few. They are in the status of dynamic development.

In the remaining 11 zoosemisms, the characteristic signs do not correspond to the signs of their stimulating words. The source of these zoosemic meanings can serve as phraseologically related meanings of the corresponding animal (to the lake, to the lake, to the village, to the etuh); metaphorically, the meanings of the corresponding animal of the male genus (viper, fox/fox, donkey/donkey, bitch); metaphorically, the meanings of the I associated with the species or family the corresponding animal (barbosa, tigress, pintail). Let's look at the examples.

The characteristic features of such zoosemisms as ram, gad, beetle, fox, turkey fully correspond to the stimulus words that cause them. The frequency of the stimulus words of these zoosemisms is much higher than that of other zoosemisms. Russian Russian units are stable cultural elements in the mind of a native speaker of the Russian language and reflect part of the linguistic picture of the world of the Russian people.

For example:

Fox ? ‘cunning 174; cunning 9; treacherous, cautious 3’ [17, p. 308]

Fox: -a, M. ‘Sly, fox, fox' [12, p. 111].

Ram ? ‘stubborn 64; persistent 8; persistent 6; stupid 3’ [17, p. 19]

Baran: -a, M. ‘About a stupid, stubborn man' [13, p. 16].

The characteristic features of some zoosemisms coincide with the stimulus words that cause them, but the frequency of responses to these stimuli is noticeably lower. Such zoosemisms include sparrow, g us, z ivotnoe, s obaka, t varya, k uritsa. In the minds of native Russian speakers, these images are not so stable, and are in the process of dynamic development. In the future, the metaphorical meanings of these words describing human characteristics may either disappear, or, on the contrary, become more widespread and strengthened.

For example:

Goose ? ‘important 6; pouty, cunning 2; aggressive, proud, shy, large, arrogant, dangerous, calm, calm 1’[17, p. 144]

Goose: - I, M. peren., ‘A trickster and a swindler (simple.)’ [12, p. 110].  

Goose: -I, M. ‘About an unreliable or deceitful person (razg. contempt)’ [13, p. 43].

Sparrow ? ‘word 19; falcon 2; stupid, dove, proud, eagle, cautious 1’[17, p. 102]

Sparrow: -Ivan, M. ‘About a timid, timid person' [13, p. 31].

The characteristic features of 48% of zoosemisms do not coincide with the word stimuli that cause them. This indicates that such characteristics of zoosemisms have not yet been established in the minds of native speakers of the Russian language and continue to be formed. We are exploring the origins of their origin. 

The characteristic meanings of the zoosemisms kz, o vca, o village, etc. are closely related to their phraseological zoonymic meanings. That is, the sources of their metaphorical meanings are phraseological units, proverbs, sayings, or folklore.

For example, in zoosemism, the goat characterizes the sign of a ‘restless, disobedient and annoying young’ [13, p. 78]. The zoonym goat as part of phraseological units characterizes a person with the signs of ‘mobile, running, jumping, fast, ease of movement, with stupid movements...’[19, p. 9]

In the zoosemism sheep, the characteristics of the sign ‘Timid and unresponsive’ [12, p. 114] The zoonym sheep as part of phraseological units characterize a person with the signs ‘helpless, uncomplaining, obedient, forgetful, stupid...’[19, p. 10].

In zoosemism, the donkey characterizes the sign ‘Fool, stubborn fool’ [12, p. 90]. The zoonym donkey as part of phraseological units characterizes a person with the signs ‘stupid, stubborn, uncooperative...’[19, p. 10].

In zoosemism, there are two characteristics of the trait ‘ Pugnacious’ [12, p. 116; 13, p. 130] The zoonyms of these as part of phraseological units characterize a person with the signs of ‘pugnacious, self-satisfied...’[19, p. 10].

The characteristic features of some feminine zoosemisms can be formed on the basis of the metaphorical meanings of their male counterparts. Examples of such zoosemisms are the words viper, fox/fox, donkey/ donkey, bitch.

The zoosemism of the gadin characterizes a person with the signs of ‘vile, disgusting, vile’ [12, p. 118; 345]. Also, its sexual pair is the zoosemism gad [12, p. 118].

The fox/fox zoosemism characterizes a person with the signs of ‘Cunning and flattering' [12, p. 111; 13, p. 93]. Also, its sexual pair is the zoosemism of foxes [12, p. 111].

The donkey/donkey zoosemism characterizes a person with the signs of ‘Stupid and stubborn' [12, p. 90]. Also, its sexual pair is the zoosemism donkey [12, p. 118].

The zoosemism of a bitch characterizes a person with the signs of ‘Immoral and disgusting' [12, p. 119]. Also, his sexual pair is the zoosemism male [12, p. 111].

The characteristics of some zoosemisms are formed on the basis of metaphorical meanings associated with the species or family of the corresponding animal. For example, the zoosemisms barbosa, tigress, shiloh-tailed.

B arbos is one of the nicknames that a dog is often called. Therefore, the characteristic signs of zoosemism are barbos ‘angry, rude’ [13, p. 17] as in zoosemism a dog [12, p. 117].

In zoosemism, the tigress has no male counterpart. However, the zoosemisms tigress and lioness characterize a person with solitary characteristics, such as "aggressiveness" [13, p. 194]. Probably, this similarity is explained by the fact that both of these animals belong to the feline family.

The shiloh-tailed zoosemism is used to characterize a woman with signs of ‘emptiness, restlessness and frivolity’ [13, p. 233]. Similarly, the zoosemism cuckoo can mean a ‘frivolous woman’ [13, p. 88].

 

Conclusion:

Thus, having considered in this work the mechanism of formation of zoosemisms characterizing the internal signs of a person in Russian dictionaries, we came to the following conclusions:

1: Of the 162 zoosemisms identified in Russian dictionaries, 46 characterize the internal signs of a person, which is the most fertile subgroup in our material. Among them, more than half of the zoosemisms have a direct connection with their motivating zoonyms in explanatory dictionaries, the remaining 22 zoosemisms have an indirect connection. This diversity indicates the complexity of metaphorical connections and cultural representations in the language.

2: Based on Russian explanatory dictionaries, we have found that the direct relationship between zoonyms and zoosemisms motivated by them is based on three aspects: the physical and external characteristics of animals (zoosemisms a aids, g aduka, e hidna, snake, snake, k obra, o vechka, t elenok/t elok, t, I am a gnenok); animal behaviors and habits (zoosemisms bindweed, beast/beast, bison, fox/fox, panther, wolverine, scorpion, dragonfly, owl, jackal); references to ancient Greek mythology (zoosemisms a gnets, g idra, d racon, z mei, z yerber).

3: Almost half of these zoosemisms (i.e. 22 units), which indicate the internal characteristics of a person, are only indirectly related to the characteristics of their motivating zoonyms. The zoosemisms ram, gad, zh uk, fox, turkey exist as stronger cultural elements, are steadily present in the minds of native speakers of the Russian language. The zoosemisms vorobey, g us, z ivotnoe, s obaka, t varya, k uritsa are in the status of dynamic development. But, they all play an important role in the linguistic picture of the world of the Russian-speaking population.

4: Metaphorical meanings of zoosemisms in the Russian language can come from various sources. The source of zoosemisms can be phraseologically related meanings of the corresponding animal (zoosemisms goat, sheep, donkey, rooster); metaphorical meanings of the corresponding masculine animal (zoosemisms gadina, fox/fox, donkey/donkey, bitch); metaphorical meanings associated with the species or family of the corresponding animal (zoosemisms barbosa, tigress, shiloh tail).

This study highlights the complexity and diversity of the connections between zoonyms and zoosemisms motivated by them, focusing on possible sources of zoosemisms characterizing the internal characteristics of a person in Russian dictionaries. The work is of particular value to students of Russian as a foreign language. Russian Russian will help to deepen the understanding of the connection between the Russian language, culture and mentality, which will contribute to the effective study of Russian vocabulary, semantics and other aspects of the language. Moreover, the presented analysis can serve as a valuable source for the development of methods of teaching Russian to foreigners, enriching training courses with interesting and informative materials.

References
1. Patyukova, R.V. (2008). Zoosemantic Components in Stable Units: An Experience of the Dictionary (Based on the English and Russian Languages). Krasnodar: Kuban State University.
2. Sharova, A.A. (2010). Gender Aspect of Zoomorphic Images (Based on the Russian and English Languages): Abstract of Ph.D. Thesis in Philology. Yaroslavl.
3. Gavriluk, M.A. (2013). Zoomorphisms of the Chinese Language as a Means of Axiological Characteristics of a Person. Bulletin of TSPU, 10, 136-140.
4. Vaskova, O.A. (2006). Gender as a Subject of Lexicographic Description (Based on Phraseology): Abstract of Ph.D. Thesis in Philology. Moscow.
5. Safaralieva, G.M. (2013). Zoomorphic Metaphor as a Way of Imaginative Characterization of a Person (Based on the Russian and Azerbaijani Languages). Bulletin of Moscow University. Series 22: Translation Theory, 3, 121-128.
6. Salim, Ahmed Ibrahim. (2018). Zoomorphic Images in Russian and Arabic Paremiology. Young Scientist, 11, 281-283.
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The article "Mechanisms of metaphorical education and interpretation of zoosemisms in Russian dictionaries" submitted for publication in the journal "Litera" is undoubtedly relevant, in which the author addresses the study of the connotative meanings of the nomination. The purpose of the work is to examine the relationship between primary and metaphorical zoosemic meanings on the basis of dictionary entries, analyze the mechanisms of their metaphorization and assess the degree of their stability and significance in the linguistic consciousness of native Russian speakers. The work focuses on the study of zoosemisms in the Russian language, which reflect various aspects of human nature, including internal qualities, behavioral characteristics, appearance, social status and the speaker's attitude to the interlocutor. Special emphasis is placed on those zoosemisms that are used to describe the internal characteristics of a person. It should be noted that there is a relatively small amount of research on this topic both in domestic and foreign linguistics. Thus, the article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such issues. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The methodology uses specific methods of linguistic analysis, including comparative conceptual analysis, semantic analysis and content analysis, as well as the methodology of corpus research. The practical material of the study is lexical units from the "Russian Semantic Dictionary", "Dictionary of offensive words" by L. V. Dulichenko. By the method of continuous sampling of the material in these two editions, we have identified 162 Russian zoosemisms. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. The theoretical provisions are illustrated by text material in Russian. The bibliography of the article includes 19 sources published in Russian. We believe that the appeal, including to the works of foreign researchers, could undoubtedly strengthen the theoretical component of the work, including in line with foreign scientific schools. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The comments made are not significant and do not affect the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses in lexicology and stylistics, as well as courses in interdisciplinary research on the relationship between language and society. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "Mechanisms of metaphorical education and interpretation of zoosemisms in Russian dictionaries" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.