Baltic accent

2017 Vol. 8 №4

Back to the list Download the article

Linguocultural Transfer: Memplexes in the Anglo-Saxon Tradition



This article considers information transfer in time and space. Following the scientific ideas of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the author draws a parallel between ideas and the evolution of genes. Such a parallel is represented by a cultural replicator — the meme, which affects the preservation of an individual’s ideas. The process of copying and transferring non-genetic information in time and space is never perfect. Mutations occur in replicator populations. The imperfect linguocultural transfer has contributed to the emergence of a wide range of religious movements, schools of thoughts, etc. This article shows that the theory of linguistic cultural transfer can be considered and described from the perspectives of cultural matrices and of memes (meme complexes). The meme theory of religion and the disappearance of religious components in the modern designation of animals from the Old English bestiary are quoted as cases of reinterpreting the values of one culture in the tradition of another.


1. Andreeva, L. A., 2007. Sakralizatsiya vlasti v istorii khristianskoi tsivilizatsii: Latinskii Zapad i pravoslavnyi Vostok [Sacralization power in the history of Christian civilization: the Latin West and the Orthodox East]. Moscow.
2. Berman, G. Dzh., 1999. Vera i zakon: primirenie prava i religii [Faith and Order: The Reconciliation of Law and Religion]. Moscow.
3. Bodriiyar, Zh., 2015. Simulyakry i simulyatsii [Simulacrums and simulations]. Moscow.
4. Glebov, A. G., 2007. Angliya v rannee Srednevekov'e [England in the early Middle Ages]. St. Petersburg.
5. Glik, Dzh, 2013. Informatsiya. Istoriya. Teoriya. Potok [The information. A history. A theory. A flood]. Moscow.
6. Dokinz, R., 2013. Rasshirennyi fenotip: dlinnaya ruka gena [The extended phenotype. The long reach of the gene]. Moscow.
7. Dokinz, R., 2014. Egoistichnyi gen [The selfish gene]. Moscow.
8. Dokinz, R., 2017. Bog kak illyuziya [The God delusion]. St. Petersburg.
9. Zal'tsman, L. F., 2009. Zhizn' v Anglii v Srednie veka [Life in England in the early Middle Ages]. St. Petersburg.
10. Zolyan, S. T., Zhdanov, R. I., 2016. Genome as a (hyper) text: from metaphor to theory. Kritika i semiotika [Critique and Semiotics], 1, p. 60—84.
11. Feshchenko, V. V., Azarova, N. M., Bochaver, S. Yu., eds., 2016. Lingvistika i semiotika kul'turnykh transferov: metody, printsipy, tekhnologii [Linguistics and semiotics of cultural transfers]. Moscow.
12. Markov, A., Naimark, E., 2014. Evolyutsiya. Klassicheskie idei v svete novykh otkrytii [Evolution. The classic ideas in the light of new discoveries]. Moscow.
13. Proskurin, S. G., 2007. Semiotics of forms which preserve non-genetic data. Kritika i semiotika [Critique and Semiotics], 11, p. 47—53.
14. Eliade, M., 2012. Istoriya very i religioznykh idei: Ot Magometa do Reformatsii [History of faith and religious ideas: from Mohammed to the Reformation]. Moscow.
15. Blackmore, S., 1999. The meme machine. Oxford.
16. British National Corpus. Available at: [Accessed 07 May 2017].
17. Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). Available at: coca/ [Accessed 07 May 2017].
18. Dines, I., 2007. A French modeled English bestiary: Wormsley Library MS BM 3747. Mediaevistik, 20, p. 37—47.