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|Title:||New and Traditional Values in Contemporary Russian: Natural Semantic Metalanguage in Cross-Cultural Semantics|
|Abstract:||Changes in value system of a society can find reflection in the semantic structure of a language. These differences can be studied on the basis of semantic comparison of value words – those that become a source of borrowing and words revealing traditional values. Contemporary Russian is characterized by introduction of several words from English that incorporate social values. This research was done on the basis of comparison of two pairs of words of this kind: to tolerate and empathy in English and their counterparts 'terpet’' and 'co_uvstvie' in Russian. Often words like 'tolerantnost’ (from to tolerate) and 'empatija' (from empathy) are treated as synonyms of those words of traditional Russian values. A detailed semantic analysis proves that these words in different languages incorporate different social attitudes as they are based on different background knowledge. This kind of semantic analysis requires a very sharp tool that is able to reveal these kinds of differences. The suggested semantic investigation was done with the help of Natural Semantic Metalanguage, which uses about 60 semantic primes, ruled by “grammar of combinability”. Using this method it becomes possible to explicate complicated semantic notions in a language free from cultural stereotypes. The studied words 'terpet’' and tolerate, 'co_uvstvie' and empathy have incorporated in their meanings different cultural attitudes, which nations have elaborated through ages. Tolerate and 'terpet’', empathy and 'co_uvstvie' being very close in the dimension they describe or deal with differ mainly in the background value knowledge that members of the society share. It means that semantic descriptions of value words are determined by the “background understanding” of the society or the community they function in. Value words give directions for behaving, but they are based on value assumptions of the society they function in. These assumptions become part of the semantic explication. A detailed semantic analysis of close pairs of words was able to reveal a more “rational” character of tolerate and empathy and a more “emotional” character of 'terpet’' and 'co_uvstvie'. Tolerate and possesses a more “social” character, and 'terpet’' has a more “private” character. Tolerate and empathy are more “outgoing, active, extraverted” while 'terpet’' and 'co_uvstvie' are more “passive, introverted”. These differences are very important revelations of cultural attitudes.|
|Appears in Collections:||ALS 2004|
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