Slovo.ru: Baltic accent

2020 Vol. 11 №4

Full and short personal names in Russian: a quantitative study

Abstract

The paper presents a statistical study of the use of variant forms of Russian personal names. It is shown that Russian names can be divided into two classes: names with full and short forms contrast with names that only have one neutrally used form. For names that have a distinct short form, the frequencies of full and short forms can relate to each other in differ­ent ways. This depends on various factors, such as the length of the full name and the gender of its owner: for longer names and female names, the short form is more common. Based on data from the Russian National Corpus, it is proved that the use of the full name as a form of address has been increasing in the last 15 to 30 years.

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Historical perspective on the word gospoda as a form of address

Abstract

Using the method of corpus analysis, this article explores the history of the Russian hon­orific gospoda and related forms of address: damy i gospoda, gospoda-tovarischi, and other noun-noun and adjective-noun collocations (gospoda publika uvažaemye gospoda). It draws on examples from literature to demonstrate that although, contrary to popular belief, the honorific damy i gospoda is not a neologism of the end of the 20th century, it was mar­ginal to pre-revolutionary speech. It is also shown that, albeit rarely, the word gospoda was used before the Russian Revolution to address a mixed company. Abandoned after the Revolu­tion, the honorific underwent a revival in the second half of the 20th century when it was used more often to address a mixed company than it had been in tsarist times. Probably, this was accounted for by extra-linguistic factors. Special attention is given to the use of the honorific gospoda in periods of transition: at the beginning and end of the Soviet era and after the collapse of the USSR.

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History of the words starina and starik as terms of friendship in Russian

Abstract

This article explores when and under what circumstances the words starik and starina emerged as terms of friendship in standard Russian language. These terms were often used by male characters in the prose of the Khrushchev Thaw — students, scientists, and engineers. It was initially assumed that these words had become forms of address at that time. Analysis of data from the Russian National Corpus shows that these terms of friendship date back earlier than that. Starik was used to address a male friend in the 19th century and starina in the 1920s—30s. Decades apart, the two words started to function as terms of friendship in a very similar way. Both were used at first to address an elderly stranger. At some point, they turned into means of language play and speech stylisation to finally lose their connection to folk speech and the semantics of age. The first one to complete the transformation was the word starina. As to starik, it apparently began to be used as a term of friendship in lan­guages of groups.

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