Intercultural communication of Russian and English languages



“The limits of my language

mean the limits of my world.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951),

Australian philosopher.

The theme of this course paper presents the problem of interconnection between Russian and English languages. It is obvious that the interconnection of languages can be made within different languages and different time periods. The most important elements in the process of analyzing the reasons of such phenomenon are to find out the spheres of usage of these words and to discover the scientific approaches to the problem of loan-words usage expediency.

If we take such languages, that had never mixed or had never been taken into the contact, it would all the same turn out, that they had an influence in the past and they are making an influence now on each other. This influence can be observed here as the process of language contact.

Borrowings – are words and word combinations, adopted from one language to another according to its phonetic and grammatical rules. The number of borrowings is different in each language. There are languages full of loan-words, such as Korean: it includes about 2/3 of Chinese lexical units. Others have a little number of loan-words: such as Russian, French and German. Nevertheless, there are languages – Czech, Chinese and Hungarian – which make an effort in order to avoid the input of foreign words and try to make up new words and expressions for a new concept by their own lexical units. But there is no language without any borrowings because nations can’t be separated from each other and communication – cultural, scientific and trade – can’t be synthetically stopped.

There are different types of borrowings. In the most cases the necessity of adopting some word appears with the penetration of corresponding item or acquiring new notion. In this way the word “спутник” – “spoutnik”(1) in French and “sputnik” in English was borrowed by many languages from Russian after the launch of the first Soviet artificial sputnik of the Earth.

In XIX century many loan-words, connected with philosophy and politics, appeared in Russian language. By that time some of them acquired the status of international, for example: progress, solidarity, proletariat and bourgeois, socialism and communism. Russian revolutioner M.B.Butashevich-Petrashevskiy used the process of the international words assimilation for the propaganda of the socialism. In 1845 he published the dictionary of foreign words that had got on into Russian language. The dictionary was immediately confiscated by the censorship, and Petrashevskiy was arrested. And it was expectable, because there were the detailed explanation of such words as “демократия”, “конституция” etc in the dictionary. The flow of borrowing foreign words into Russian language had especially increased in 90-s. It is connected with the inflexions in such spheres as politics, economy, culture and new concepts of morality. The extraordinary expansion of foreign lexica had been observed in this period.

The realities of “new time” appeared mostly in such spheres as mass-media, advertising and IT because they present the most update phenomena of our modern lifestyle. It became fashionable for nowadays to use borrowings which came from English into Russian. It is conditioned by the tendency of American society idealisation, where the social life level is very high. Also we can’t deny the speed of technical progress in English speaking countries. It is obvious that they have a great potential in almost every sphere of modern society. That’s why we need to borrow words in order to name new concepts. The other reason and may be the most important is that English language nowadays serves as the language of international communication. May be we should wait a little and “людская речь в один язык сольется” as Sergey Yesenin wrote in his poem. Many Russian scientists are very troubled with the tendency of English and American words penetration into Russian language. There are a lot of examples in the history when one language gradually absorbed the other one. But as for me I think that Russian language is very rich and it has a great potential to get rid of everything superfluous or unnecessary and it is one of the richest language of the world while including a layer of loan-words in its vocabulary. So the study of the layer of borrowings in the system of vocabulary presents a great interest to linguists, as it shows the process of language development.

But in addition to the classical borrowings, which serve to identify new notions, there is a new tendency in Russian language – borrowing the words from English language, which already exist and are used in everyday life. For example, it is very fashionable to say “хаир” from English “hair” which means “волосы или прическа” or “фэйс” from English “face” instead Russian “лицо”. It is clear that we can’t use such borrowings in the scientific speech or in literary works. Here we can talk about the process of stylistic distinction of the loan-words.

The next subpoint for investigation is the layer of terms appeared in Russian language with new technologies and inventions. Great interest of the scientists of various spheres to the problems of terminology can be easily explained by the increasing flood of the scientific and technical information and the process of integration. A.A.Reformatskiy defined the term as a “monosemantic word lacking in emotiveness”. It is clear that a borrowing reflects the meaning of a term in most legible and distinct way.

There is an up-to-date tendency of assimilating terms in our everyday life. The reason is very simple – day after day people rig their houses with the most modern and high-technological equipment. So in order to use such “house-helpers” people had to study the technological information including the appropriate terminology. So that such words as “телевизор”, “миксер” and many others came into our lives. The most demonstrative example as I see is the word “компьютер”. Not so long ago this notion acquired the status of everyday usage word with the process of total computerization. We can hear this term almost everywhere and even from a little child. There are some other terms, with the help of which this unit can be named; they are “ЭВМ” and “ПК”, where the first is “Электронная вычислительная машина” and the second is “Персональный компьютер”. The main feature of these two terms is that they are abbreviations and it means that they refer to the layer of formal vocabulary, exactly to the professionalisms. After having made an analysis it becomes obvious that the first term is a Russian scientific equivalent to the English word “computer”. But from the stylistic point of view this term refers to professional terminology of formal vocabulary, it is mostly used in special engineering or technological articles. By the fact of its rare usage in can be called archaic. The second term is more popular nowadays. Great interest presents the fact that it can be found not just in special literature but although in other spheres like advertising. Almost in every newspaper we can see advertisements with such a text:

“требуется специалист со знанием ПК”;

and everyone understands that it means the knowledge of various computer programs.

So it is necessary to consider the following points, which are be included in this course project:

· It is essential to study and to find out the distinguishing features of each sphere of borrowings, here – mass-media, advertising and IT;

· To make the divisions through the stylistic analysis of each word;

· To determine the methods of borrowing the word;

· To establish the relation between the original word semantics and the loan word semantics in the system of the language;

· To understand weather it is so necessary to borrow words from other languages;

· To point out the peculiarities of usage of the loan-words;

· To find out the social time period connected with definite borrowings.

Everything is changeable and language especially. The reason is that the language is the most sensitive phenomenon to the changes in the surrounding world: economics, politics and technological progress with its inventions. Only language can express our feelings, actions, thoughts and relations among people, events that occur with us.

I. Loan-words of English origin in Russian Language

The process of adopting foreign words into Russian word-stock in different epoch reflected on the following development of the whole language system. So it is necessary to investigate popular etymology in order to find out, first of all, the original background of the language and then to determine a degree of penetration and the number of languages which have effected on its volume.

1.1 Original Russian vocabulary

The process of word-stock formation is very long-drawn-out and complicated. It is also closely connected with the history of a nation. Russian vocabulary in its modern condition did not appear at once. Historical lexicology distinguishes two major ways of lexis developing:

1. a rise of original words, existed permanently from ancient times;

2. borrowing of foreign words.

By means of chronological feature there are following groups of original Russian words, combined together by its origin or genesis (Gr. Genesis – the origin): Indo-European, Common-Slavic, East-Slavic (or Old Russian) and strictly Russian.

Indo-European words are words which after the dissolution of the Indo-European ethnic community (the end of the neolith period) were inherited by ancient languages of this language family, including Common-Slavic language. In this way there are some terms common to most of Indo-European languages: “мать”, “брат”, “дочь”, “овца”, “бык”, “волк”, “мясо”, “кость” and others.

Words that were inherited by Old Russian from the Slavic tribes languages, who occupied a vast territory of East and Central Europe and Balkans by the beginning of A.D. are called Common-Slavic. It served as a unified means of communication approximately till the VII century A.D. that is before the resettlement of Slavic tribes, when the lingual unity was collapsed. It is natural to suppose that there were some territorially separated dialectal differences in the period of one Common-Slavic language circulation, which served as a basis for formation of separate Slavic language groups: South-Slavic, West-Slavic and East-Slavic. However, each of this group has a number of words appeared in the period of Common-Slavic unity. For example:

- names of plants: “дуб”, “ель”, “ясень”, “лист”, “просо”, “ячмень”, “пшеница”, “мак”, “кора”, “дерево”, “черемуха” and so on;

- referred to labour: “мотыга”, “челнок”, “ковать”, “сечь”;

- names of shelter and its parts: “дом”, “сени”, “пол”, “кров”;

- names of poultry and birds: “курица”, “гусь”, “соловей”, “скворец”;

- names of food-stuffs: “квас”, “кисель”, “сыр”, “сало”and others.

East-Slavic (or Old Russian) words are words that appeared only in the language of East-Slavic tribes (ancestors of nowadays Russian, Ukraine and Belarus nations) from the beginning of VIII century. These tribes were united as a feudally state – «Kievskaya Rus’» by the IX century. The word-stock of this language has not been jet well investigated by the historical lexicology but there are some examples: “сизый”, “хороший”, “падчерица”, “дядя”, “кружево”, “зяблик”, “белка”, “сорок”, “девяносто”, “сегодня”, “внезапно” and others. Properly speaking, all words (except of loan-words) appeared when the language developed firstly as a language of great-Russian nationality (from XIV century), and then as a national Russian language (from XVII century) refer to the original Russian vocabulary. Here are the examples of Russian word-stock:

- actions: “ворковать”, “разредить”, “размозжить”, “брюзжать”;

- names of everyday things: “обои”, “обложка”, “голубцы”, “кулебяка”;

- names of concepts: “итог”, “обман”, “обиняк”, “опыт” and others.

However to be successful in following the language developing is very complicated as the language is alive as a life itself.

1.2 Borrowings in Russian language

From the ancient times Russian nation came into cultural, trade, military and political relations with other states that certainly leaded to the language borrowings. Within the process of usage the majority of them were exposed by the borrowing language influence. Step by step loan-words, assimilated (from Lat. “assimilare” – усваивать, уподоблять) in borrowing language, had formed the layer of widespread words and by this time weren’t perceived as foreign anymore. In different epoch words from other languages penetrated into original Russian vocabulary. However, national originality of Russian language did not suffer at all from the penetration of foreign words into it, as the process of borrowing is quite natural way of any language enrichment. Russian language preserved its self-dependency and just got rich by means of borrowed words.

Linguistic borrowing are words (morpheme or syntactic construction) and set expressions, moved from one language to another. The beginning of English borrowings in Russian language refers to the beginning of XVII century. Later by the middle of XIX century loan-words entered Russian to become its essential part. The word-stock of international vocabulary was being arisen.(2)

As for nowadays a great interest of linguists is concentrated upon the Russian–English lingual communication. Intensification of informational flow, appearance of Internet, expansion of international relationships, development of world trade, economy, informational technologies, participation in various international competitions, fashion shows are the reasons that caused the new words entering into Russian lexis.

The openness of our society leads us to a considerable enlargement of mental outlook and range of interests, and to the improvement of foreign languages knowledge. The spheres of international business, trade, culture and tourism have been raised after the long period of Soviet “iron curtain”. So that the necessity of communicating with the users of other languages has evolved in our lives. Consequently the necessity of borrowing English words in modern society fits with the above mentioned reasons.

Adopted words come into system-defined relations with original vocabulary:

1) Loan-word can be a synonym to the original one:

For example: Файтер – боец;

Мониторинг – наблюдение;

Киллер(3) – убийца;

Пиар – связи с общественностью;

Контракт – договор; etc.

2) Loan-word can replace the Russian word:

For example: Секонд-хэнд – комиссионный магазин;

Компьютер - ЭВМ;

Шоу - представление; etc.

3) Loan-word that has no equivalent in Russian language, new notions borrowed from another culture with the respective unit or concept:

For example: Спрэй;




Дайджест; etc.

There are two different extremes, which occur with respect to loan-words: on the one hand, oversaturation of a speech with foreign words, on the other hand – the negation of them, the effort to use only the original word. At the same time it is often forgotten, that most of adopted words have been assimilated in Russian language and even have no equivalent, turning up the essential name of corresponding concept. The absence of scientific approach to the problem of foreign vocabulary familiarization reveals also in the fact that its usage is occasionally regarded in isolation with the functional–stylistic attaching of linguistic means. In some cases the application of foreign words is not appropriate, in others - it is necessary, as these words make up an essential part of lexis, fixed over the definite style.

The number of new concepts and phenomena Russian in origin is very limited. That’s why the adoption of already existing nomination with the respective notion and item is considered to be the most prestigious and effective way of enlarging the vocabulary. It is possible to distinguish the following groups of loan-words:

1. Direct borrowings. The words are met in Russian in the same form and in the same meaning as in the initial language. They are: “уик-энд” – weekend, leisure time; “блэк” – black(man) or Afro-American; “мани” – money or cash.

2. Hybrids. These words were formed by addition of Russian suffixes, prefixes and endings to the foreign root. In this way the meaning of the word often changes. For example: “бузить” (busy – беспокойный, суетливый).

3. Calques. Word of foreign origin using with the preservation of its phonetic and graphic shape. They are: “код”, “вирус”, “клуб”, “диск”, “сленг”, “бакс”, “ди-джей”.

4. Half-calques. Words which after being grammatically assimilated were put under the grammatical rules of Russian language (suffixation).for example: “драйв” – “драйва” (drive) “давно не было такого драйва” - в значении энергетика, кураж.

5. Exotisms. Such words are characterized by specific national customs or manners of foreign nations and are used to show the atypical for Russian reality notions. The distinctive feature of them is that they have no equivalent or synonyms in Russian. For example: “чипсы” (chips), “хот-дог” (hot-dog), “чизбургер” (cheeseburger).

6. Foreign lingual spots. Such words usually have lexical equivalents, but they stylistically differ from these equivalents and are used in the sphere of communication as expressive means to add a peculiar emotiveness to the speech. For example: “о’кей” – O.k!; “вау” – Wow!

7. Composites. Words which were made by means of two or more English lexical units. For example: “видео-салон” –a special apartment for watching movies , “секонд-хэнд” – a shop that sells the goods which have already been used, “лаунж-бар” – a comfortable coctail bar.

8. Jargonisms. These are words appeared in consequence of some sounds distortion. For example: “мыло” – e-mail, “крезанутый, шизанутый” – crazy.

The joining of borrowings into Russian language increased especially in 90 years of XX century. The tendency of expansion foreign words could be observed in almost every sphere of life. It occupied the leading position in political sphere of the country getting accustomed with new concepts: president, inauguration, speaker, impeachment, electorate and others. Such words began to form the layer of new social and political vocabulary. This group is typical for the periodical press and then to the publicistic-functional style.

If to speak about the time period there are two major types of borrowings. The first type is presented by old borrowings which were actualized during last years with respect to the political and economical systems modification. The second type includes the number of loan-words which were made directly during last years.

The most typical example of the first type is the word “президент” – president. As far back as the Council of People’s Commissars took place, M.S.Gorbachiov rectified one of the representatives’ error when he called him with the term “господин президент”. He asked the representative to be more accurate next time as this term “президент” – is the different post and it refers to the other reality and so on. The adopted word “президент” was popular that time as the nomination of foreign political and social realities (for example: “президент США”, “президент Франции”). Since that time the political situation in the country has been changed and so extralinguistic factors have modified the function of the word “президент” into actual term appropriate for our modern lifestyle (for example: “Президент Российской федерации”, “Президент Республики Казахстан”). Such words as “электорат” and “легитимный” can be observed in the same way as they received a wide spreading in Russian language in the last decade of XX century within the process of actualization of the respective notions.

Hence foreign terminology became predominant in the most progressive spheres of science, techniques, politics and financial activities. Such words as “бестселлер”, “вестерн”, “триллер(5)”, “хит” have broken into the sphere of culture. Our everyday speech has keenly begun to adopt new notions with its foreign nominations – “сникерс”, “твикс”, “гамбургер” and others.

Time will show us if these borrowings can change, enrich or deteriorate the image of Russian language. Time will define the future destiny of each loan-word which is to be finally adopted or rejected by linguistic flavor of the epoch. Russian language has a long history of adopting words dictated by the necessity to perceive useful information in the form of new words drawing on international experience. Such words are named in many ways, most commonly: borrowings and loan-words. The process of new words adoption is determined by nations’ contacts which generate a necessity of new concepts and ideas nomination. Such words are usually the results of some nation’s innovation in any sphere of science or techniques. They may also appear as a consecutive result of snobbery, fashion. Nevertheless, there are essentially linguistic reasons: for instance, the necessity to express polysemantic Russian words by means of foreign word or to widen the expressive means of a language, etc.

For those who are fond of sports such new notions appeared: “виндсерфинг”, “армрестлинг”, “фристайл”, “скейтборд”, “кикбоксинг”, “файтер”, “овертайм”, “гол”, “хоккей”, “футбол”, “баскетбол” and even the word “спорт”.

In the sphere of non-manufacturing business many new notions appeared: “презентация”, “номинация”, “видео”, “шоу”, “хит”, “дискотека”, “диск-жокей” (ди-джей) and many others.

Loan-words usually refer to the layer of bookish words and special terminology and are used mainly in bookish speech genre and in the scientific or technical articles. At last time, the main source of linguistic stuff became contemporary mass media.

Modern life is hardly possible without information. The mass media plays an important role in our life. Millions of copies of newspapers are printed in our country every day. The role of the press can hardly be overestimated, particularly at present. It keeps you to be informed in the latest news, different events, home and foreign affairs, news of culture, science and engineering development. While reading newspapers or watching TV every person is confronted with a great number of borrowed words. As to the rule words occur in the newspaper pages and magazines can be divided into three groups:

1. Words which have synonyms in Russian:

For example: “бренд” the synonym is “торговая марка”.

2. Words which have no equivalents in Russian:

For example: “спортсмен”, “футбол”, “проблема”.

3. Words which are printed in newspapers in English:

For example: “non-stop”

1.3 Assimilation of new words

All words getting from one language (from which the word is borrowed- Source language) into another (language that adopts a word – Target language) come through the first stage of assimilation. On this stage words are still connected with the reality that created them. Also when the word hasn’t got yet acclimatized in the target language it can have variants of pronunciation and spelling; for example: “доллар”, “доллер”, “долар” (Eng. “dollar”)(6)

The characteristic features of these lexical units at the survey period are their mass character, novelty and uniformity against the source language. The overwhelming majority of new words are to be borrowed from English language. The sphere where loan-words usually assimilate is quite specific. First of all, it is a “professional terminology” of any sphere specialists’ (computer engineering, financing activities, trade business, sports) and also spheres of politics, art, fashion, music, dancing and others.

Total computerization has leaded to the appearance, in Russian language and especially in the youth midst, a peculiar computerese jargon. It is obvious, that all innovations are held inside the system of the language and are formed up by means of Russian language grammatical rules. Consequently, the users of this jargon, aimed at making their speech distinctive and colorful can not manage without normal Russian language and rules mentioned above. There are a great number of computerese jargonisms which were changed or purposely mangled. English verb “to crack” (раскалывать) was changed into “крекнуть” or in humorous form “крякнуть”, a verb “to hack” (кромсать, разбивать) – became “хакнуть” with the help of Russian suffix “-ну”, which serves to denote a momentary action (that is to do something once; for example: “стукнуть” – to knock once and “стучать” – to knock during some time). By the way, there is no category of such kind in English, but in Russian language it is very common. Two ways of reproduction of one English word “game” (игра) have resulted into two varieties of its handing over:

1) After the way of writing:

“гамесы” that is “игры” (games, plural form);

2) After the way of pronunciation:

“геймер” that is “игрок” (player, a person).

On the whole, English suffix “-er” turned out to be very customary for denomination of any kind figures; for example: “юзер”, “дилер”, “киллер”. Nowadays labour-market becomes wider by means of new professions which come from the most developed countries. There is an interesting and a very up-to-date profession called “фрилансер” (from English freelancer – “free lance”, a person working out of stuff). This nomination refers to the number of words which have never existed in Russian language. So that mass media as the most sensitive organ of modern society tries to introduce us with such notions:

«…но в душе уже тогда знала, что стану фрилансером…»(7)

A lot of words like “компьютер”, “дисплей”(8), “файл”, “интерфейс”, “принтер”, “сканер”, “ноутбук”, “браузер”, “сайт”, “провайдер” and many others are reflections of new lifestyle generated by total computerization.

On the whole, computerese jargon is very similar to a general jargon (Jargon – is a speech of any social or professional group which contains a large number of terms and expressions peculiar to only such group, including imitation or relative words.)(9) and is developing within its rules. Research workers of Russian language strive for fixing novelties emerging in a system of language. Special dictionaries of neologisms serve to this problem realization. There are annual and anniversary dictionaries were observations about borrowings are collected together. It is significant that neologisms are new words which have not yet became day-to-day objects or concepts or corresponding items or notions. They are to be generated by two ways: firstly, neologisms appear on the original base of a language and secondly, some notions come from one language to another in one of the forms of borrowings.

Gradually foreign term gets assimilated due to its frequent usage in spoken language and in written form. Its morphological shape acquires stable form and as a result the adaptation, according to the norms of language, occurs. On this stage of foreign word assimilation in the sphere of native speakers’ popular etymology begins its operation. When a foreign word considered being incomprehensible people usually make an effort to fill its sound form with the contents close and most easily understood to the users of borrowing language. For example: the word “пиджак”. When it was just borrowed from English “pea-jacket” it sounded as “спинжак” in respect to the Russian notion “спина”.

And the last stage of foreign word penetration is striking root, when the word becomes widely used in the vocabulary system of native speakers and completely adapts within the grammatical rules of this language. From then on the word is included into all processes that occur with other words of the word-stock: it can produce words of the same root, abbreviations, acquire new nuances of definition. For example the English word “попса” that is popular music, pop music. This word is very frequent in usage, so it produced a lot of word-forms and combinations: “популярный”, “поп-культура”, “попсовый” and “поп-звезда”.

Sometimes words of English origin in Russian language can be defined by the ending:

- with the ending “-ер” or “-ор” is presents the largest group: “бартер”, “блейзер”, “брокер”, “ваучер”, “гамбургер”, “спонсор”, “компьютер”, “триллер”, “инвестор”;

- with the ending “-инг”, stress is placed on the first syllable: “брифинг”, “лизинг”, “рейтинг”, “серфинг”, “холдинг”;

- with the ending “-мент”, always trisyllable or tetrasyllable nouns: “импичмент”, “истеблишмент”, “менеджмент”;

- ending with a vowel sound: “лобби”, “шоу”, “ноу-хау”.

1.4 Stresses in loan-words

One of the most important aspects in the process of borrowing is placing stresses. In most cases a stress, correspond to the original language is the same in its borrowed variant. There are a lot of examples: “менеджмент”, “дефолт”, “спикер”, “сайт”, “инвестор” and so on. Unstable character of stresses in loan-words is inevitable; it proves that borrowed words come into cooperation with Russian vocabulary and gradually assimilate with it becoming a system-defined phenomenon. Nevertheless, a great number of new words which came from English language do not reveal unstable character of stresses. The exception is the word “маркетинг” (in English (`m