2021, Volume 18, Issue 1

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Maria A. Bobunova
Alexander T. Khrolenko

Kursk State University
Kursk, Russia

Proper Names in Oral Poetic Tradition in the Light of Folklore Lexicography

Voprosy onomastiki, 2021, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 85–112 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2021.18.1.003

Received on 10 February 2019

Abstract: The paper uses three cases of folklore lexicography to substantiate its applicability and the methodological capacity it holds in the study of onomastic elements of different folklore genres. It is this original lexicographic approach that gives a new perspective and brings new results to the solution of some recurrent problems connected with the poetic language of folklore. The research builds on the lexicographic projects by Kursk linguists, focused on folklore studies: a dictionary of the language of bylinas and the concordances of Russian non-ritual lyric songs. The present study employs the overlay technique for comparing dictionary entries and gives three cases of its application. The first compares lexicographic descriptions of the Dunai (Danube) river name as one of the key images of Russian folklore, and how it is used in non-ritual lyric songs of the 19th century. This has allowed the authors to identify semantic differences in the river name across the regions. The second case illustrates that, lexicographically, the body of folklore proper names has a capacity to verbalize the emotional experience of the ethnic group that has both regional and gender-based specificity. The third case considers the meaning, usage, and derivational potential of exotic place names. Based on bylinas texts, the authors illustrate transformations of borrowed words in the vocabulary of Russian folk-tale narrators. On the general scale, embracing a lexicographic approach to the study of folklore vocabulary can solve a number of long-standing issues related to semantics, word-formation, generic and territorial features of the national poetic language. Apart from that, the authors conclude that folklore lexicography can open new interesting areas of onomastic research and gives a tool to explore them.

Keywords: folklore language, linguistic methods in folklore studies, folklore lexicography, concordance, onomastics, place names, anthroponymy.


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