2019, Volume 16, Issue 4

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Lyubov A. Feoktistova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

“Tricky Dmitry”: Linguistic and Cultural Connotations of one Russian Personal Name

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp. 83–107 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.4.046

Received 23 October 2019

Abstract: The article focuses on the semantic reconstruction of language units forming proprioappellative complex with the Russian name Dmitry and its variants (Mitry, Mitya, Mit’ka, Min’ka). These are dialectal appellatives with different meanings, e.g. khitry Mitry <tricky Mitry> ‘a tricker,’ mitya ‘a butterfly,’ mit’ka-zuy ‘a sandpiper,’ as well as idiomatic expressions, e.g. (yego i) mit’koy zvali <his name was mit’ka>, (yego i) mit’ka pryal <mit’ka spun (him)> ‘about someone who suddenly disappears, runs away’. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the internal form of phraseological units represented by several variants, e.g. yego i min’koy / minkoy zvali <his name was min’ka / minka>, yego i vit’ka / van’ka pryal <vit’ka / van’ka spun him>, kut’ka / tuchka pryal(a) <kut’ka / tuchka spun>. The author discusses the hypotheses elaborated by Valery Mokienko, Maria Ruth, and others, and offers her own interpretation of such units. The main point is the possibility of interaction, within one and the same morphosemantic field, of various diminutive forms of the name Dmitry (and possibly Mikhail > min’ka) with different verbal bases — pomnit’ ‘to remember,’ cf. pominay kak zvali <remember what his name was> according to the version of Valery Mokienko, and minut’, minovat’ ‘to pass’. The proposed etymology of the set phrase (yego i) mit’ka pryal <mit’ka spun (him)> and its variants considers the homonymy (possibly homogeneous) of the verbs priast’, prianut’ ‘to rush, to slip away’, and priast’, priadu ‘to spin’, as well as the polysemy of the idiom itself, which can describe different situations of loss — the “dynamic” (disappearing of the subject of action) and the “possessive” (disappearing of the object of action). In this case, the key for the idiom’s internal form can be found in one of the daughter dialects — kut’ka pryal(a) <kut’ka spun>, where kut’ka means ‘dog, puppy, hen, chicken,’ i.e. “disappear = run away like a chicken or a dog” (Maria Ruth’s version). The author concludes, that the personal name Dmitry has systemic linguistic (non-precedent-based) and cultural (precedent-based) connotations and discusses their value and possible projections on the language image of the name bearer.

Keywords: anthroponym, personal name, chrononym, idioms with proper names, appellativization, paronymic attraction, quasi-onym, morphosemantic field, proprio-appellative complex.

The research was carried out within the project 34.2316.2017/ПЧ “The Volga-Dvina Interfluve and the Belozerye Area: History and Culture of Regions according to Linguistic Data” supported by the Russian Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The author is very grateful to Elena Berezovich and Olga Mishchenko for their comments on the paper and valuable recommendations that the author tried to follow while preparing the manuscript for publication.


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