Lexical-semantic Analysis of Address Components in Russian Language

The article reveals the concept of «form of address». The main attention is paid to functioning of components of the informal address in syntagmatic aspect. Forms of address are considered as integral part of communica- tive strategies and tactics used in real communication. Lexemes in the form of personal names, the lexicon connected with differentiation of persons on age, relationship names, etc. are considered. Theoretical results are illustrated by examples from modern literature.

The modern language has a numerous and varied means strengthening emotional and evocative expres- sions of forms of address: intonation, phonetic, morphonological and morphological and at last lexical means by which a speaker can express an emotional attitude to the interlocutor or his/her expressive view.

As modern trends defining features of modern speech communication in Russian language, we can mention the following: expansion of the persons acting in public, relaxation of censorship, loosening regula- tions, general democratization of speech, an abundance of loans, the rejection of clichés of the Soviet era.

The empiric matter is represented by some fragments of texts which content addresses from the fiction books of modern famous Russian writers V. Pelevin, P. Sanayev and R. Trakhtenberg. The article uses the methods of comparison and description, contextual analysis, generalization and the classification of the sampling material, the method of continuous sampling.

The form of address is an identifying word or identifying words by which someone or something is called and classified or distinguished from others. There are different lexical forms of address, which reflect the changing forms of relations between people. In modern speech we use fixed, commonly used or preferred forms of address in a particular social and speech activity.

The content of forms of address is a linguistic form of contact establishment with an interlocutor at the demonstration of mutual social and personal relationships. The addresses arise on the basis of word- nomination indicating different features:

  • the presence or absence of acquaintance (relationship) with the speaker;
  • the age of the addressee in relation to the age of the speaker;
  • social status of the addressee in relation to the speaker;
  • profession, occupation of the addressee;
  • the function of the addressee in this situation;
  • addressee’s personal qualities appearing in his behavior in this situation or known to the speaker from the past;
  • addressee’s qualities as an object of emotional influence and characterization from the speakers’ point of

The addresses arise on the basis of words, but they are no words. They are no word-nominations any more, but a form of address to an addressee, i.e. a kind of speech act consisting of an appeal and naming at the same time.

The most common lexical forms of T-forms (informal forms of address) in modern language are per- sonal proper nouns or common nouns. The forms of address to inanimate objects are not widespread beyond the poetic text. They usually serve as a mean to make the speaker’s speech poetically emotional.

The using of some or other personal forms (a full name, a short name, a first name and a patronymic, a last name, etc.) is regulated on the one hand by the speech sphere of their functioning, and on the other hand by the public environment, the relations between the speaker and the interlocutor and other extralinguistic factors.

Соображай, Витёк, быстрее! [1, p. 13]

«Вителло! Держись! — написал я и заржал, глядя на чуть теплое тело «курортничка».

Однажды, прощупывая возможности халявы, я поинтересовался: «А что, Юла, клиенты вам ещё нужны?»

Personal proper names as the informal address excepting of the main function naming the concrete ad- dressee of speech express a concrete differentiation of interlocutors on different characteristics, the differ- ence in respect of the speaker to participants of a dialogue. For example, using as a form of address only the name (full or shortened) means close, friendly relations between the speaker and the interlocutor:

– Оставь меня, Сенечка… Оставь, я же тебя не трогаю… У меня жизнь разбита, причем тут чайник… Иди. Возьми сегодняшнюю газетку. Саша, пойди, положи себе кашки… Ну ничего! — Ба- бушкин голос начал вдруг набирать силу. — Ничего! [2, p. 26].

The pointedly familiar form of address connected with the degree of friendship implies simplification or stylized mutation of names, e.g. Semyon — Senechka; Alexander — Sasha, Julius — Yula; Victor — Vitek, Vitello and so on.

The using of proper names in the forms of address also makes it possible to differentiate the interlocu- tors by age. For example, seniors’ appeal to juniors differs from the appeal of juniors to seniors:

Эх, говорил же мне папа: «Ромочка, никогда не спорь с дураками, со стороны могут не разо- браться, кто из вас кто».

The emotional expressive vocabulary used in combination with proper names does not usually vary much; there is a tendency to limitation and stability of a range of words used in the role leading to erasing of their specific value and it only develops the most general emotional content.

The personal common nouns can be non-evaluative or evaluative qualitative on their function, i.e. they can be used as formal, semi-formal or informal forms of address to an interlocutor. Among the members of a workforce are used semi-formal forms: the names of persons according to their profession, occupation, activity. The vocabulary connected with the differentiation of people by age tends to be fixed only in the func-

tion of differentiation the interlocutors on gender, losing value of an age sing, e.g.: boys, girls, kids, old chap, granny in the forms of address to adult younger people. Such forms of address are common to only colloqui- al speech and reflect the speech style of a particular community, such as:

Алена-Либертина опять усмехнулась.

  • Ты не поймешь, мальчуган.
  • Ты ведь водил моторенваген, малыш. Ты видишь, куда едешь — то есть знаешь, что будет.

Но не видишь того, что осталось за спиной.

  • Можешь не продолжать, — улыбнулась Алена-Либертина. — Поверь, мальчик, если Маниту захочет принять наш дар, он найдет способ сделать это за пределами физики, логики и рассудка.

Мезонин-адъютант сказал Шпыру:

  • Слышь, старый! Знаешь молитву кагана?

In everyday speech are common various naming units of kinship when referring to people who are not relatives indeed and they lose their original first meaning and just point to the age relations, e.g.:

Сходит к кому-нибудь, например, на свадьбу, вернется и скажет:

  • А наша-то, мать, изба поболе будет?

Андрей-Андре посмотрел на него мутным стариковским взглядом.

  • Ты, сынок, на камеру этого только не скажи, но для себя запомни — все без исключения рево- люции в нашем уркистане кончаются кровью, говном и рабством.
  • Я сделаю папочке очень-очень приятно, — сказала она тихо.
  • Папик, — сказала она, — а ты когда-нибудь задумывался о том, что у меня практически нет никакой приличной одежды? [3, 67].

As a result, there is a common tendency towards stability of verbal forms of address and it regards to losing of their direct nominative value. However it should be noted that recently due to the social-economic changes taking place in Russia which have an impact on lifestyle, the system of values, relationships be- tween people, the meaning of the word «friend» in Russian language have weakened in some ways, that’s why we can suppose that the number of friends among Russians will grow while the interconnection between the friends weaken [4]. The consequence for wide spreading of address form «friend» in modern speech is the effacement of its inner content is and it can be even used in speaker’s unfriendly attitude to the interlocu- tor. The word «friend» in that case has the same history as the word «brother».

  • Спасибо, брат, – сказал Андрей.

Moreover some common forms of address such as kiddos, guys, bud are used in a particular male col- lective or group.

  • Спасибо, парни, я это никогда не забуду….
  • Во, лучше так, — согласился здоровяк. — Правильно, пацаны?
  • Могу устроить тебе такие гастроли, корешина, что ты просто очумеешь! — в карьер по де- лу погнал Витёк.

The lexemes with diminutive forms are often used in relations to women, e.g.:

  • Сегодня уже не выйдет, душечка, — сказал я и потянул ее за рукав.
  • Ну, давай, детка, давай. Давай, проси. Я все для тебя сделаю, моя радость.
  • Сколько ты хочешь, киска? — спросил я, обнимая ее за талию.

The concrete semantic value of emotional and evaluative words which are traditionally used as forms of address is losing, they get only some or other general emotional connotation tone, e.g.: sweetheart, dear, darling.

  • Все будет зависеть от тебя, дорогая, — сказал я. — Если ты будешь обижать меня каждый день… .
  • Милая, ну зачем? Зачем тебе с такой беспощадностью отрабатывать эту идиотскую, на- сильно вбитую в тебя природой и обществом программу, чтобы заставить меня страдать все сильнее и сильнее?

In relation to those who enters to a privacy circle (the family members, for instance) Russians are often impolite or even rude, e.g.:

  • Тебе все понятно, моя дурочка?
  • Жалко, — ответила она, — Конечно, жалко, глупый.

It might be a contradiction of Russian character based on opposites and that was noted by many re- searchers. Opposing Russian ‘culture of the end’ with western ‘culture of the mean’ the German philosopher Shubart makes a conclusion about Russian nature in Orthodoxy peculiarities by saying that Russians are strange to Russians have no absorbing midsection no linking part between the two extremes. Rus- sians are full of contrasts which are very next to each other and their hard friction pounds soul to wounds. There is rudeness near tenderness of heart, cruelty near sentimentality, sensibility near ascesis, depravity near holiness [5]. Therefore, in a concrete speech situation the emotional content of the words used in the form of address can get new shades even up to the opposite emotional coloring.

Therefore, less social distance, i.e. the closeness of the relationship, typical to Russian culture, enhances the communicative accessibility and promotes lesser regulation of behavior. It allows interlocutors to behave more freely, speak directly about what they want to and what they think of. In the process of communication Russian people feel as a part of the team, they are sure that their interests, concerns, wishes, advice and opin- ions are very interesting to interlocutors and they expect comprehension in a response. In this type of rela- tionship straightness and imperative are not a threat or a hindrance harmonious relations (to the extent as in the English culture) and do not violate the principles of politeness characteristic of Russian communicative tradition.

Destruction at first of the stable system of appeals that existed until 1917, and then destruction of the system, which was established in the Soviet era, and the gradual, not always obvious, the formation of new, no stylistically neutral forms of address to a stranger, frequent breaches of etiquette in the media, the impact of foreign language etiquette tradition — are the causes of a wide variety of forms of address, being used nowadays in the modern society. As once said M.A. Krongauz: "just forms of address in Russia turned out to be at the center of two socio-linguistic radical change — the «revolutionary» and «perestroika» [6].

Changing of ideology turned the ideologized system of forms of address that has developed in the Sovi- et era. First of all, we should note the change in the use of socially marked forms of address.

However, the uncertainty of the future path of Russia, the ideological fragmentation of society does not contribute to the formation of a new system of forms of address. The desire to avoid politically engaged forms of address, the need for today's mass media to address to the general public — brought the most gen- eralized forms of address to life at the present time: Russians!, Dear Compatriots!, Dear Russians!, Dear Compatriots!, Dear Muscovites! Dear friends!

There is also a change in the status of form of address «comrade». This form of address has ceased to be widely used, to be neutral. The word «Sir» was used exclusively in the diplomatic environment, but nowadays it is used in more situations and is rapidly expanded in different fields. An important role was played by the general revaluation of the pre-revolutionary Russian life.

Interest in the culture of pre-revolutionary Russia and Western European influence gave rise to a com- pound of different cultural, traditional etiquette, which created a very mixed situation in the sphere of using the forms of address. We can observe the resurgence of status forms of address  as «Your Excellency».

The absence of a single common forms of address led to increasing of colloquial forms of address into speech of wide community. Particularly, forms of address like «man» and «woman» are common today, bor- rowings from other languages such as Madame, pani, etc. are widely used in everyday communication.

Manner to address to people and call them by name and surname or by just name in formal settings of- ficial appeared and wide spread.  Full form of a name is used as an official form of address.

In the family relationships can also note the tendency to further democratization of communication, the rejection of forms of address, calling the direct role of family members.

Marking the existence of social groups, forms of address can express political attitudes of certain social, political associations.

Thus, the system of forms of address, which is used in everyday communication at the moment is not fully formed and well regulated.



  1. Trachtenberg R.L. Guest artist, St. Petersburg: AST, Astrel, 2007, 76
  2. Sanayev P. Bury Me Behind the Baseboard, Moscow: MK-Periodicals, 2007, 184
  3. Pelevin V. N.U.F.F, Moscow: Eksmo, 2011, 480 p.
  4. Larina T. Category of politeness and communication style: Comparison of English and Russian linguistic and cultural traditions, Moscow: Manuscripts of Ancient Russia, 2009, 516
  5. Stefanenko T.G. Ethnopsychology, textbook for universities, 3rd ed., Rev. and add., Moscow: Aspect Press, 2004, 320
  6. Krongauz A. Russian language is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Moscow: Sign: Languages of Slavic Cultures, 2007, 229 p.
Year: 2015
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy