Slovo.ru: Baltic accent

2020 Vol. 11 № 3

Back to the list Download an article

Sootechestvenniki (compatriots) in the 19th century: semantic profile based on the data of the National Corpus of the Russian language

DOI
10.5922/2225-5346-2020-3-5
Pages
72-84

Abstract

The concept “sootechestvenniki” is one of the key tools for self-description of society; it is an instrument for drawing borderlines between “we” and “they”. The article describes the development of the meaning of this word since its coinage. The word appeared in the 18th cen­tury as a merger of the Old Slavic and Old Russian ‘otechestvo’ (fatherland, understood as one’s place of origin) and the French ‘compatriot’. This merger resulted in the formation of two new prototypical meanings: one is civic, collective and elevated, and the other gravitates to ethnicity since it is used to refer to Russians. With the strengthening of state institutions in Russia, the first meaning was bound to dominate and it did at the beginning of the 19th century. However, one should speak not about the synthesis, but rather about the discordance of the two meanings. In the 19th century, another meaning developed in the semantic struc­ture of the word: ethnic Russians living abroad. Gradually, the word acquired new evaluative meanings, while negative connotations still prevailed. The basic oppositions (we — they, here — there, ours — alien) interacted in an ambiguous way, substituting each other. A variety of hy­brid “compatriots” arose: we are there, they are here, etc. The heterogeneity of the seman­tics of the word reflects collisions within society, which faced a tragic internal split in the 20th century.

Reference

Arapova, N. S., 2010. Sootechestvennik and compatriot. Russkii yazyk v shkole [Russian at school], 1, pp. 67—68 (in Russ.).
Russian Antiquity, 1871. The highest command of Emperor Pavel of 1797, circu­lated on 13 February 1797, to remove some words from use and replace them with others, Russian Antiquity, 3, pp. 531—532 (in Russ.).
Dal, V. I., 2006. Tolkovyi slovar’ zhivogo velikorusskogo yazyka: v 4 t. [Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language: in 4 volumes]. Vol. 4. Moscow (in Russ.).
Simmel, G., 2008. Excursion about a stranger. In: V. Dal, ed. Sotsiologicheskaya te­oriya: istoriya, sovremennost’, perspektivy. Al’manakh zhurnala “Sotsiologicheskoe obozre­nie” [Sociological theory: history, modernity, prospects. Almanac of the journal “So­ciological Review”]. Translated by A. F. Filippov. St. Petersburg. pp. 7—13 (in Russ.).
Zolyan, S. T., 2019. Compatriots — a diachronic portrait according to the NKRJ (XVIII — early XIX centuries). In: K. S. Akopyan, ed. Russkii yazyk na perekrestke epokh: traditsii i innovatsii v rusistike. Sbornik nauchnykh statei po materialam IV Mezhdunarodnoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii [Russian language at the crossroads of eras: tradi­tions and innovations in Russian studies. Proceedings of the IV International scien­ti­fic-practical conference]. Yerevan: Russian-Armenian (Slavic) University. pp. 16—20 (in Russ.).
Kantor, V. K., 2008. Russkii evropeets kak yavlenie kul’tury [Russian European as a cul­tural phenomenon]. Moscow (in Russ.).