Greek roots in the lexis of the Russian and Polish languages (semantic, morphological-derivational and stylistic aspects) Cover Image
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Греческие корни в лексическом составе русского и польского языков (семантический, словообразовательно-морфологический и стилистический аспекты)
Greek roots in the lexis of the Russian and Polish languages (semantic, morphological-derivational and stylistic aspects)

Author(s): Maciej Walczak
Subject(s): Language studies, Language and Literature Studies, Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Semantics, Comparative Linguistics, Western Slavic Languages, Eastern Slavic Languages
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: lexical units; Greek language; root morphemes; Polish-Russian studies
Summary/Abstract: The object of research in the following work are the autonomous lexical units (for instance: dramat, estetyka, technika, technologia, energia, energetyka, etc. with their derivatives) and the root morphemes borrowed from the Greek language (bio-, cyber-, eko-, ekono-, elektro-, and mega-) in the structure of selected parts of speech in Polish and Russian. The object of analysis are semantic, morphological-derivational and stylistic features of these parts of speech in the Polish-Russian confrontation. The choice of the research subject was dictated by the need to describe in detail a selected fragment of lexis of related languages with regard to the influence of foreign elements on their vocabulary, and furthermore, their evolution and expansion into other areas of the linguistic system. This choice is even more justified regarding the lack of specific Polish-Russian studies on the subject (with an emphasis on the most recent phenomena in both languages). The existing and quite extensive literature discussed in chapter one allows us to draw the conclusion that borrowings were first and foremost studied as lexical phenomena. These issues were also often analysed in terms of the word formation, morphology and adaptation processes of the foreign elements. The questions of borrowings in phraseology and dialectology have been described to a lesser extent. It should be noted that the borrowings from Greek constitute quite a large body in the lexis of the Russian language. Therefore, they have been more thoroughly and broadly reflected in Russian linguistic literature than in Polish. Moreover, different methods were applied for the analysis of the borrowings, as well as not always coinciding typologies and classifications. In chapter two of the following dissertation, we managed to discover, unlike analogical comparative studies, the potential conceptual mechanisms affecting the synonymy of the foreign morphemes (mega-, super, hiper- and ekstra-) not only with their native counterparts, but also with other evaluative phrases (mainly positive). It seems that we have also explained the question of collocations, in both languages, of the lexoid mega- with appropriate nouns (against the background of Greek). These collocations may stem from its two established main meanings vectorial and scalar, depending on whether it collocates with a concrete or abstract noun. The vectorial meaning is hereby understood as a feature related to space, that is as size oriented horizontally (length, width) and vertically (height), like mega bluza, mega kolczyki; мега сборник, мега карандаш. The scalar meaning, on the other hand, is interpreted as a feature manifesting itself through intensity (for example mega energia, mega masa, and mega moc). Furthermore, in this chapter, we have proposed a classification of lexemes with morphemes of our interest according to meaning (e.g. in different contexts, the adjective электронный / elektroniczny can be interpreted as: 1.‘Internet’; 2. ‘virtual’ – that is materially nonexistent; 3. ‘computer’; 4. ‘related to electronics’ – а) ‘a field of science’, b) ‘equipment’. In addition, semantic parallelisms have been indicated between the parts of speech containing the discussed morphemes and the lexemes regarded as their synonyms (e.g. экологичный / ekologiczny = зелёный / zielony) or antonyms (e.g. Polish eko- ≠ techno-). The comparison of lexical units containing the roots of our interest showed that forms with the roots eko- and mega- are not typical of the Russian language, whereas units with the root cyber- are not typical or frequent of the Polish language. The analysis of these phenomena against a broader lexical background is continued in chapter three. The aim of chapter three is one of the most important aims of this dissertation. It is to reveal and describe these semantic features of the analysed lexical units, which are present in the language in use, but are not registered in reference sources. As such, they can serve as an indicator of differences and similarities between the languages. The maximum number of differences was discovered among the nouns technika – техника, technologia – технология, energia – энергия, energetyka – энергетика and in their derivatives. It should be noted that the semantic changes happening in the languages are often of a spontaneous nature, especially in the case of everyday speech, where specific meanings often result from an intuitive choice of the users. Spontaneity and impetuosity characteristic mainly of the Polish language were particularly visible at the morphological level (prepositive and postpositive usage), and, at the same time, at the spelling level (written as separate words). On the other hand, in Russian, the position of the root morphemes was more regular and orderly, confirmed by mainly unhyphenated or hyphenated spelling and, simultaneously, prepositive usage. It was also important to analyse and describe the spelling of the discussed morphemes. In Polish, as was mentioned, they are more frequently spelt as separate words. This, however, does not seem to be proof of the language users’ incompetence only, but most probably, of the process of the roots’ getting closer to appropriate independent parts of speech (e.g. bio, eko, and elektro, begin to function as invariable nouns of foreign origin ending in -o like: bordo, kakao; kilo, deko). A possible cause of this, as noticed by J. Ziemskaja, can be their high frequency usage. On the other hand, the predominance of unhyphenated or hyphenated spelling in Russian lets us believe that this process is apparently less characteristic of this language. Besides the semantic and morphological aspects of the studied phenomena, also the stylistic features and frequency of the selected lexical units were considered, which is the core of chapter four. The comparative study showed that certain words, which were stylistically charged and peripheral in one language, were neutral and commonly used in the other language. The two languages were similar, considering the frequency of different parts of speech in selected styles, in journalistic style. This observation leads to the assumption that the major channel for their spreading are the mass media. Moreover, the fact that the analysed entities belong in different styles in the two languages may result from their history and, hence, influence of different traditions – eastern, Greek and Old-Slavonic on Russian, and western-Latin and colloquial-bourgeois on Polish. The studies also indicated that the process of semantic changes, and thereby enriching the vocabulary, is happening in a different way in the two languages. In Russian, it frequently happens through paronymy, whereas in Polish, through synonymy and polysemy. The comparison of the fragment of lexis (based on selected adjectives) also showed the differences regarding the paronyms of Greek. In Russian, they are represented by common-root adjectives, whereas in Polish, by appropriate lexemes with different roots, similar only formally. Paronymy in Russian, on occasions, is a result of borrowings (also from Polish). It lets us assume that Russian, unlike Polish, does not automatically incorporate a borrowing into its own system, but rather forms a paronymous pair not only to distinguish between meanings, but also to create an opposition native / foreign. This opposition may fade in time due to adaptation processes transforming a paronymous relation into synonymous (for instance симптоматический – симптоматичный, флегматическй – флегматичный), this being facilitated, as can be assumed, by the external similarity of the given lexemes. However, this hypothesis requires distinct and detailed studies. It may be a prospect for further research into the field, and so may be the influence of Greek on the phraseology of Polish and Russian. An interesting prospect, scientific and (glotto) dydactic, could also be the compiling of comparative lexico-semantic blocks of borrowings from the Greek language, which would identify lexical fields dominated by these borrowings to a greater or lesser extent (with an emphasis on the general language). The frequency, stylistic and semantic characteristics of the studied units confirm their evolution, which still requires more analyses. It should be established which meanings will have gone out of use as rare, ephemeral or accidental, and which of them will have become well established, owing to their high frequency, adaptation and suitability for a particular linguistic system. The changes in the Russian and Polish languages are happening so fast that lexicography does not keep up with the recording and describing of the lexical and semantic phenomena, which is fully understandable and explicable. The continuous and active interlanguage relations not only increase the number of borrowings, but also stimulate intralanguage changes, the study of which appears to be a very interesting prospect.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-8012-677-0
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-8012-676-3
  • Page Count: 182
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: Russian