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Semantic transformation of the noun mamochka: from ‘wife’ to ‘cannon’



In the semantic theory of Gottlob Frege, the content of a linguistic sign is determined by the connection between the meaning and a set of subjective perceptions that form the mean­ing. Our study aims to reveal the influence of individual perceptions of the meaning on the extension of the semantic structure of a word, using the kinship term ‘mamochka’ as an ex­ample. The article focuses on instances where the word ‘mamochka’ is used in fiction and, to some extent, Internet texts. The article examines cases spanning from the 1840s to the 2010s to explore the secondary usage of the term. The corpus, comprising a total of 2,192 cases, was carefully collected and annotated. Out of these cases, 362 examples were identified as instanc­es of secondary usage. Each example was analyzed and categorized based on its type of use, including appellative (address), referential, or interjective use. Furthermore, for the secondary instances, the type of the meaning was also marked for accurate classification and analysis. The study delineated the semantic structure of the word ‘mamochka’ based on its various us­es. Common meanings encompassed appellative and referential usages, denoting a wife, a woman fulfilling maternal roles, or a woman with a young child. Additionally, unique mean­ings emerged for specific contexts, such as a friend, a man, a non-living object, or even the caretaker of an animal. The investigation also uncovered systemic connections among these meanings, along with the dynamic transformations they underwent over time in the dia­chronic aspect.


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