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CONCEPT OF ETHNOS IN THE LINGUISTIC VIEW OF THE WORLD

CONCEPT OF ETHNOS IN THE LINGUISTIC VIEW OF THE WORLD
Zhanara Abildinova, candidate of philology

Pavlodar State Pedagogical Institute, Kazakhstan

Conference participant

УДК 811.161.1:39

One of the stereotype varieties, that is, ethnic stereotypes being, according to the author’s opinion, the components of the linguistic view of the world. As exemplified by the heterostereotype image of German consideration in the Russian language it is confirmed an idea of the concept of ethnos being the sustainable fragment of the world’s view.

Keywords: stereotype, ethnic stereotype, heterostereotype, view of the world, ethnic self-consciousness, anecdote.

 

Results of the perception of the world by representatives of different cultures and nations find their direct expression in the ethnic stereotypes. Ethnic stereotypes are an integral part of public conscience and self-consciousness of the ethnos representatives, appear when contact with other ethnos representatives and perform a protective function in relation to the intellectual culture uniqueness [1, p. 36].

The ethnic stereotypes’ origin took deep roots in the nation’s historic memory and their sustainability is provided by generation-by-generation   transferring this memory in the form folklore, epos,and ancient annalistic and literature samples. As it was said by Z.V. Sickevitch, “… ethnostereotypes, directly or indirectly, transferred in the course of ethnocultural transmission  foremost clearly are found out in the language,and,specifically,in folklore”[2, с. 29]. It should be recognized as important that the best rich material for studying the process of the nation’s ethnic self consciousness’formation and their perception of other nation’s self-consciousness and, therefore, ethnic stereotypes of behavior and other ethnos’ perception is only possible, as it has been justified, via studying grass roots language and world-building. “Language is a bank of the historical experience accumulated by nations being truly more significant than any other sphere of culture”[3, p. 43]. As being recognized as a mirror of the world around the  language “reflects reality and creates its own view of the world, specific and unique for each language,and, subsequently, for every nation, ethnic group,community speaking with each other in this language. Language is and universal mean to reflect everything: geographic position, climate,historical development,life conditions[4, p. 38]. Thus, it might be concluded that a language as well as other things reflects any human being perception of a human being of different nationality.

As the components of the linguistic view of the world ethnic stereotypes were analyzed based on the material of contemporary Polish (E. Bartminski, I. Pnnasuk, K.Pissarkova using material of the Russian toponimic dictionary “belonging to other ethnos” (E.L. Berezovitch, A.. Ivanova, V.N. Kalutzkov)on material of the Russian dialects(collective “ethnic” nicknames, folk says etc.– D.K. Zelenin, Ju.B.Vorontzova,N.V.Solonik,N.V.Drannikova and others). In above listed studies the ethnic stereotypes are considered as cognitive mapping of the ethnocultural mental images: Ethnic stereotypes – sustainable mental views concerning own/foreign ethnos – is a fragment of the linguistic view of the world being  understood asa family of judgments regarding the features and modes of the reality items existence which occurs to find out its expression in the linguistic units[5, p. 10].

Central part of the stereotypes’ content is occupied by descriptive features (cognitive), though sometimes marginal and insufficient, but recognized as typical ones from the subjective position; linguistic (descriptive) content is accompanied with the intellectual and emotional appraisal. If following Mr. E. Bartminski it is quite possible to highlight some fields (“domains”) repeatedly met in the characteristics of nations, to speak exactly they are:

- language and specific culture peculiar to certain nationalities;

- features relevant to the personal appearance, for example, features associated with: the German’s stereotype are blond hair, blue eyes; Russian – beard, ear-flapped cap, quilted jacket (fufaika), valenki; Jewish – side-locks and yarmulkes; Pole – moustaches and so on;

- food habits: German – bear and sausage; Pole and Russian – vodka, potato and vareniki; Italian – wine and macaroni, French – wine, escargots and edible frogs;

- philosophy and everyday household: German – eagerness to be reach, hard working and  diligent and seeing order in everything around, Russian – poverty, simplicity, good-fellowship; Jewish - religiosity, gumption, Pole – sociability, courage;

- psychosocial characteristics: German – aggressiveness, discipline, arrogance; Russian – sociability, mysteriousness (mystery of Russian soul); Ukrainian – vengefulness and cruelness; Jewish – entrepreneur’s sense [6, p. 15].

Ethnic stereotypes from the “content” point of view may be considered as some fragment of the world’s concept existing in conscience.In designations other than meaning given to specific personality it is fixed some stereotype of culture, invariant image of this very fragment of the world peculiar this or other one ethnos.

 O. Belova thinks that “ethnocultural stereotype is not only some image to be appraised in regard to “foreign” fixed in any language (nominative models or of proverb level)but they are to be considered as significant concept constituting indispensible element of the world’s vision” [7, p. 10]. “To understand the ethnic stereotype it is greatly important not only to be competent in linguistics(understand the “ethnic” meaning of a word)but to have skills in terms of pragmatic(communication) competence(i.e. knowledge of the world and outside reality)”[at the same place, p. 8]. As approved by results of several contemporary ethnolinguistic and sociolinguistic investigations this family of stereotypes plays structure building and ethnically diiferentiating roles being of greate importance for self consciousness andself knowledge of the ethnos(views concerning “own” and “foreign” nation,“own” and “foreign” religion,use of rituals and the values system).According to the opinion expressed by M. Ju. Gorbunov, the ethnical stereotypes are exactly those constituting the basic content of the ethnic identity of both the cognitive and motivation core of the ethnic self consciousness because they serve as a base for the world perception and understanding as one ethnos[8, p. 12].

Besides, E.L.Berezovitch points it out that the ethnic stereotypes are seemed to be the elements of the na?ve model of our world: “Ethnic stereotype is a stable set of certain na?ve images existing in relation to any nation and nationality which expresses the peculiarities of public “xenopsychology”[9, p. 23]. “Great degree of tendency to axiology, their belonging to the ancient specific world outlook at culture provide their notable place both in the system ofnatural languageand folklore texts, rituals,convictions etc.

As an example proving the idea of ethnostereotypes being some reflection of the nation’s view of the world it is possible to consider the most used in Russian linguistic view of the world image of German performing a role of some stable stereotype of resumptive nature with which the image of “Russian”was customarilycompared (compare, for example, Prussian good but Russian “gooder”). Antinomies impenetrating through all proverbs and sayings of such kind as “own – foreign”, “local – peregrine”, “Russian – non-Russian” serve as bright testimony of that.Even the ethnicon “nemetz (German)” origin itself historically has a meaning “a person with unclear, not understandable speech”:“foreigner”, (ньмьчинъ), “German,any foreigner” [10,p. 62]. Let us take as an example the following proverb reflecting understanding of the ethnicon “nemetz (German)”: Rodom ne nemtchin, a ukazyvat gorazd(Though not a German but is so eager to preach) [11, p. 215]. Ethnicon nemetz in Russian language has  the word-formative variants characterized as  colloquialisms: nemtchin,nemtchura. Vision of German people owing the nature of stereotypes was forming gradually. At that some of them turned out to be stable enough.So, German isinvested with such characteristics as– smart and sly. Cunning is understood as abstruseness, adroitness -a feature not peculiar to an ordinary, god-fearing person. Let us see following examples: What a sly guy is this German:he invented a monkey! German will never fall from a bench without some trick(trick in the meaning of adroitness,cunning, deception,pretence) [In the same place]. Of great interest is the fact that comparison of everything Russian, patriarchal , since the Peter the Great times is invariably associated with foreign,German.Comparison of two worlds: Russian of merchants and German of craftsmen often are present in Russian proverbs.Handicraft and learnedness of German craftsman(German always has a tool for everything) is preachingly  contraposed toRussianmanner of conducting commercial and economy businesses. And this comparison is not for the benefit of latter one.

It is quite possible to say that vision of such German people features as prudence transforming into greediness, tidiness growing to pedantry, witness of what is, for example, the set phrasea real German, always took place in descriptions and appraisal of German people and was traditionally opposed to the original features of the Russian character. Imageof German is presented in many ethnic anecdotes:

Germany. Lesson of German language. Teacher asks pupils: “I have had my supper. What time is it?”And onepupil answers: “It must be a time between seven and eight o’clock”.(“Anecdotes from all over the world”, p.129)

In so short dialogue of this anecdote a teacher does not mean an exact time. He spoke about grammatical tense but Germans from the early childhood get used to punctuality and think about precise place of action or event. Brief reply of a German pupil: “It must be a time between seven and eight o’clock” facilitate the explication of the German’s ethnostereotype.

So, Germans(more often they are Russified Germans), as we could assure ourselves on the material of proverbs and sayings and anecdotes as well, represent historically formed integral part of domestic and cultural life of Russians, That, correspondingly resulted in visions of them becoming the stable fragment of the Russian view of the world.

Therefore, summarizing the results of our study we can say that principal peculiarity of ethnic stereotypes is their reflection in the linguistic view of the world. 

 

References:

  1. A.K. Baiburin. Ethnic aspects of the stereotype forms of behavior and traditional culture  // Soviet ethnography. – M.: Nauka 1985. –# 2. – P. 36 – 45.
  2. Z.V. Sikevitch. National self-consciousness of Russians. - M., 1996.- 286 p.
  3. B.F. Porshnev. Opposition as a component of the ethnic self-consciousness. . – M., 1973. – 267p.
  4. S.G. Ter-Minassova. Language and intercultural communication. - M.: Slovo, 2000 – 624 p.
  5. V.N. Toporov. Image of neighbor in establishing of ethnic self-consciousness (Russian- Lithuanian perspective) // The Slavs and their neighbors. Ethnic and psychological stereotype in Middle ages [Thesis collection]. – M., 1990. – P. 9-12
  6. E. Bartminski. Basic stereotypes and their profiling (on the material of Polish language) // Stereotypes in language, communication and culture: Collection of articles /Composer and responsible editor L.L. Feodorova. – M., 2009. – 598 p.
  7. O.V. Belova. Ethnic stereotypes according to data of language and folk culture of the Slavs: synopsis of thesis.  ….doctor of philology – M., 2006. – 28 p.
  8. M. Ju. Gorbunova. Linguistic expression of the ethnic and gender predjudicein English and Russian languages:linguistic-pragmatic aspect:thesis. ... Candidate of philology –Krasnodar, 2008. –174 p.
  9. E. L. Berezovitch. Ethnic stereotypes in different culture codes / Stereotypes in language, communication and culture: Collection of articles /Composer and responsible editor L.L. Feodorova. – M.: RSHU, 2009. – 598 p.
  10. M. Fassmer. Etymology dictionary of Russian language. In4 vol. Vol.2- M., Progress, 1986. – 672 p.
  11. V. I. Dal. Russian folk proverbs: collection in 2 vol. - Vol. 1. – M., 1984 – 383 p.
Comments: 3

Redkva Yaroslav Petrovych

Уважаемая Абильдин Жанара! Установление Вами места этнических стереотипов в языковой картине мире в должной степени влияет также и на развитие теории когнитивной лингвистики. С уважением, Ярослав Редьква

Parzulova, Mariyana

Доклад интересен и легко читается. Автор может привести больше примеров и на основании исследуемого материала продолжит свои наблюдения и в будущее. Считаю, что работа перспективная.

Yana Zubenko

Большое спасибо за статью!
Comments: 3

Redkva Yaroslav Petrovych

Уважаемая Абильдин Жанара! Установление Вами места этнических стереотипов в языковой картине мире в должной степени влияет также и на развитие теории когнитивной лингвистики. С уважением, Ярослав Редьква

Parzulova, Mariyana

Доклад интересен и легко читается. Автор может привести больше примеров и на основании исследуемого материала продолжит свои наблюдения и в будущее. Считаю, что работа перспективная.

Yana Zubenko

Большое спасибо за статью!
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