2021, Volume 18, Issue 1

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Olga V. Morgunova
Ural Federal University
Ural State Medical University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Collective Work and Recreation in the Mirror of Russian Folk Chrononymy

Voprosy onomastiki, 2021, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 177–194 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2021.18.1.008

Received on 6 September 2020

Abstract: The article examines peasant traditions of collective labor and celebration through the prism of Russian folk chrononymy. To define the idea of collectivity in the Russian folk calendar, the author turns to the semantic and motivational analysis of names denoting time periods or calendar events. The choice of material is explained by the fact that chrononyms tend to retain the features of events most important for the peasant in their internal form. Generally, these references to folk traditions are represented indirectly. Collective labor practices can associate with the beginning or completion of agricultural work such as harvesting and sowing (Finogeevy zazhinki, Zasevki) or reference to labor conditions (Zarevnitsa). The tradition of joint celebration is revoked through collective preparation of a dish and a joint meal (Ilya-Baraniy Rog), holding fairs (Rybnyi bazar, Svistoplyaska), village fun and games involving each member of the community (Maslenitsa-Gulyanitsa, Igrovoye voskresen’ye, Shulikinskiye vechera). An indirect way of representing the traditions under consideration is the gender marking of the event (Babiy senokos, Babiy prazdnik). Unlike the idea of collective labor, the tradition of joint celebration can be expressed directly with a focus on the event’s scale (Vsemirnyy prazdnik, Vseobshchiy Spas). The author emphasizes that the traditions of collective work and rest marked by chrononymy are interconnected in the national calendar and form a cycle of labor and holiday periods. The study attempts to identify social values behind the considered traditions. Thus, both traditions aim at social cohesion, imply mutual assistance and respect, as well as serve as a means of self-expression. The paper highlights the relevance of chrononym vocabulary and context studies as these reveal the motivation of time period names and explain the referenced event.

Keywords: names of time periods, collectivity, chrononymic derivatives, Russian folk calendar, labor, holiday, semantic and motivational analysis.


The study is supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 20-68-46003 “The Semantics of Unity and Animosity in the Russian Lexis and Phraseology: Language System and Discourse”).


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