The word as simulacrum: The case of the friendly form of address starina ‘old man’
I. V. Fufaeva
Russian State University for the Humanities (Russia, Moscow)
Keywords: Russian language, communication, speech behavior, addressing, addressing form, Russian National Corpus, corpus analysis, colloquial speech, lexicon of fiction, cliché, translations, calque, conno
Abstract: The article is devoted to the role of the marker of “someone else’s life” in the Russian friendly form of address starina ‘old man (without age semantics)’. The study of the use of the form of address was carried out by the method of corpus analysis (analysis of the main, oral and parallel corpora of the Russian National Corpus) and by the method of comparison with a reference sample, the Russian friendly form of address starik ‘old man, without age semantics’, which is close in a number of parameters. It turned out that the form starina is rarely found in live colloquial speech, but often in Russian fiction describing life abroad, in fantastic literature, etc. (in a third of the contexts in the main corpus of the RNC). In the dialogs of literary characters speaking an abstract foreign language, this word is a copy of a nonexistent original. The emergence of such a role, apparently, was influenced by the use of the word as a loan translation (calque) of analogous Gallicisms and anglicisms: mon vieux, old man and so on, starting with the translations of Beranger, Jack London, etc., which gave the word a connotation of “foreign”. The article also highlights the evolution of the form starina (in the RNC since the late 1820s as an address to an elderly person of low status), which could determine the choice of this particular word for a loan translation like mon vieux. In a broad sense, the study demonstrates the fundamental possibility of a language unit playing the role of a copy of a non-existent original, i. e. a simulacrum, according to Baudrillard.
Acknowledgements: The study was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (project “Political Correctness in Russian Language and Russian Culture” No. 19-78-10081).
To cite this article: Fufaeva, I. V. (2022). The word as simulacrum: The case of the friendly form of address starina ‘old man’. Shagi/Steps, 8(3), 304–320. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-3-304-320.