2016, Volume 13, Issue 2

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Roza Yu. Namitokova*
Indira A. Neflyasheva**
Nelya M. Shishkhova*

*Adyghe State University
**Association of Forensic Linguists “Argument”
Maykop, Russia

On the History of the Name Ruslan

Voprosy onomastiki, 2016, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp. 162–168 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2016.13.2.023

Received 25 September 2015

Abstract: The authors postulate that there exists a common stock of Russian personal names resulting from a partial blending of national anthroponymicons. The main part of the paper focuses on the history of the personal name Ruslan which has etymological ties with the widespread Turkic name Arslan having the pre-onomastic meaning ‘lion’. The authors study the variation of the name in Russian folklore and in the 15th–17th centuries documents and historical sources. They also pay particular attention to the role of Pushkin’s poem Ruslan and Ludmila in the formation of the associative background of the studied name and to various onomastic derivatives, the latter include patronyms, surnames and the female name Ruslana. The author conclude that the name Ruslan became especially popular in Soviet and post-Soviet periods when it acquired a specific “semantic aura”, namely, in Caucasus where Ruslan became a kind of mark of Russian identity and, thus, contributed to the unification of the anthroponymic space. This conclusion was verified in the course of a survey done among 40 respondents representing different peoples of Caucasus. For most respondents the name has positive connotations and is associated with the Turkic name Arslan and the name of Pushkin’s character. However, some respondents consider it as a “non-Muslim”, Russian name and point out that it is often perceived as such outside Russia. The history of the name Ruslan and the ways of its transonymisation can be an interesting object for further research, especially due to the emergence of new communication technologies and onomastic discourses.

Key words: Russian anthroponymicon, names in text, names in discourse, onomastic space, precedent-setting name, semantic aura of a name, Ruslan


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