Baltic accent

2020 Vol. 11 № 3

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“Russian people” in the literature and documents of the 19th century: an experience of linguistic portraiture



The article describes the ideologeme “Russian people” and its use in the texts of fiction and documentary literature of the 19th century. The authors explored both the socio-political concept “'Russian people” and its verbalization in Russian. The research material included examples from the Russian National Corpus, which were analysed using corpus, content-analytical and cognitive methods. This research aims to identify and to characterise the con­cept “Russian people”. The authors argue that it was in the 19th century that the concept “Russian people” evolved into a term and the image of Russian people was mythologized. The authors concluded that the concept “Russian people” is composed of two parts — ‘ordinary people’ and ‘society’. The latter behaves in a fatherly way, taking upon itself the mission of enlightenment of ordinary people and their liberation. In the semantic field “Russian people” there are numerous semantic components directly related to the concept analysed: faith, faith­fulness, patience, tolerance, understanding, receptivity, openness, simple-mindedness, juve­nility, etc. The authors consider the moral and intellectual qualities of Russian people, which are dialectical and ambivalent. The authors explore these characteristics of Russian people from the standpoint of the dichotomy own vs. alien. The analysis shows that after the abolition of serfdom in 1861, the image of Russian people undergoes significant changes under the in­fluence of social processes.


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