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SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
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To the problem of system description of Russian-English lacunae belonging to different parts of speech
Sukhanova Oksana Vladimirovna

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages at Air Force Academy N. A. Zhukovsky and Yu. Gagarin

394064, Russia, Voronezhskaya oblast', g. Voronezh, ul. Starykh Bol'shevikov, 54 "A"

visukhanov@mail.ru
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Larina Tat'yana Vladimirovna

Doctor of Pedagogy

Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages at Air Force Academy

394064, Russia, Voronezhskaya oblast', g. Voronezh, ul. Starykh Bol'shevikov, 54 A

tanialar@yandex.ru
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Abstract.

The subject of this research is the nature of national specificity manifestation of the lacunae belonging to different parts of speech. The goal is to describe the thematic groups of Russian-English verbal, substantive and attributive lacunae relating to the military sphere. The system of formalized indexes is used to elucidate the national peculiarity. The novelty of this research consists in revealing and testing new formalized parameters within the groups of lacunae that have not been studied from such perspective. In the course of the research, the following methods were employed: the continuous sampling method from a lexicographical source, the quantitative analysis method, comparative analysis and comparative-parametric method of linguistic research. The theoretical importance of the research is defined by the fact that methods of comparative description received further amplification. The indexes are used to determine quantitative characteristics of national peculiarity. The results obtained can be utilized in practice of teaching professionally oriented translation, comparative typology of the Russian and English languages, and be used for further inter and intra-linguistic research. Through the prism of the indexes, conclusion about the degree of the groups’ national specificity is drawn.

Keywords: national specificity, degree of manifestation, semantic proximity, the index of gender lacunae, antonymic pairs, the index of nominative non-representativeness, formalized parameters, military sphere, Russian-English lacunae, explicit-generalizing attributive lacunae

DOI:

10.25136/1339-3057.2019.3.29052

Article was received:

17-02-2019


Review date:

18-02-2019


Publish date:

10-10-2019


National specificity manifests most vividly in a word. «The lexis of every language segments extra linguistic reality in its own particular way, distinct in other languages» [9, p. 210].

The phenomenon of lacunarity and idea of national specificity are interrelated. According to G. V. Bykova, national-cultural, national-conceptual, national-connotative and national-language specificity determine lacuna types as well as principles of their classification [1, p. 24-26, 31].

In the works of Z. D. Popova, I. A Sternin, A. A. Makhonina, Zh. V. Petrosyan a lacuna is defined as «a meaning that does not have a one-word naming unit in the language under study or a naming unit represented by collocations in presence of such units in the language being compared» [7, p. 16]. Traditionally, relation of the notions of «lacuna» and «non-equivalent lexis» receives attention on the part of linguists. Z. D. Popova and I. A Sternin are of the opinion that «non-equivalent lexis and lacuna are always revealed in pairs: if there is a lacuna in one language, there is a non-equivalent lexis in the language being compared» [12, p. 21].

The paper is aimed at the system description of the national specificity of the thematic groups of Russian-English verbal, substantive and attributive lacunae relating to the military sphere within the scope of comparative-parametric method of linguistic research. The lacunae are elicited from the dictionaries of non-equivalent lexis: «English-Russian dictionary of non-equivalent lexis (verb)» [15], «English-Russian dictionary of non-equivalent lexis (noun)» [8] and «English-Russian dictionary of non-equivalent lexis (adjective)» [11].

To achieve the target goal we have to complete several linguistic research tasks, namely:

· analysis of the national specificity of the lacunae by means of officially accepted indexes within the scope of comparative-parametric method;

· testing the new indexes;

· improvement of the methods that are used to compare national specificity of thematic groups of lacunae relating to different parts of speech.

The groups in question have different nominative non-representativeness. Nominative non-representativeness is used to define the number of lacuna senses marked in a thematic group relating to the particular sphere of reality [7, p.78].

The thematic group «Verbs, characterizing activities in the military sphere» comprises 234 lacunae [14]. The group is not homogeneous: it is further divided into 15 subgroups: verbs, characterizing professional activities in the military sphere (проверять наряд во время несения службы – comp. master in ); verbs, characterizing engagement of arms and weaponry (стрелять , убивать или ранить из пистолета или револьвера – comp. pistol ); verbs, characterizing combat operations (встретить противника лицом к лицу – comp. AM face off ); verbs, characterizing activities of military hardware and arms (производить срочное погружение ( о подводной лодке ) – comp. crash-drive ); verbs, characterizing enlistment (поступить на военную службу – comp. join ); verbs, characterizing command and control (выстраивать войска , процессию и т . п . – comp. marshal ); verbs, characterizing successful military activities (превзойти в военном искусстве – comp. outgeneral ); verbs, characterizing usage of aircraft ( перебрасывать на вертолётах войска и т . п . – comp. helilift ); verbs, characterizing positive and negative reinforcement (понижать в должности или в звании – comp. AM / informal crimp ); verbs, characterizing work with orders (выполнять план , приказ , обещание – comp. carry out ); verbs, characterizing supplying activity (регулярно выдавать в ограниченном количестве – comp. allowance ); verbs, characterizing nefarious activities in the military sphere (грабить на войне – comp. plunder ); verbs, characterizing manoeuvres (двигаться в заданном направлении – comp. bear on ); verbs, characterizing accommodation (расквартировывать , ставить на постой войска – comp. quarter ); verbs, characterizing training of personnel (проводить военную игру , военные учения – comp. war-game ).

As the group under study has a complex structure it is possible to mark mini-groups as well. This can be illustrated at the example of the largest subgroup consisting of 47 lacunae, namely «Verbs, characterizing professional activities in the military sphere». There are 8 mini-groups:

1) verbs, characterizing activities of pilots: работать лётчиком - испытателем – comp. test-pilot . It is worth noting that there are lacunae characterizing activities of a pilot both negatively and positively: угробить , разбить самолёт – comp. ditch ; довести самолёт до аэро дрома – comp. fly in , etc.;

2) verbs, characterizing activities in the Navy: тщательно проверять , осматривать для ремонта судно , машину – comp. overhaul , etc.;

3) verbs, connected with parachuting: спускать или сбрасывать на парашюте – comp. drop , etc.;

4) verbs, characterizing activities of defense industry: переводить военную промышленность на мирные рельсы – comp. reconvert , etc.;

5) verbs, connected with military works: сооружать в стене башни бойницы или амбразуры – comp. crenellate , etc.;

6) verbs, characterizing activities of a controller: направить на новую цель ракету и т . п . – comp. retarget , etc.;

7) verbs, characterizing every day activities: давать сигнал или играть на горне – comp. bugle , etc.;

8) verbs, characterizing activities in space: запускать в космос ракету и т . п . – comp. loft , etc.

It must be said that there are single lacunae not belonging to any of the sub-groups: наблюдать за проведением в жизнь условий какого - либо соглашения ( о войсках ООН ) – comp. police , etc.

From the perspective of lacuna typology [14, p. 52], verbal lacunae are divided into three types: generalizing (2), specifying (206), and generalizing-specifying (8 generalizing-specifying proper and 18 pseudo generalizing-specifying). There are lacunae with denotative extension and denotative restriction [10, p. 88].

The thematic group of attributive lacunae «Characteristics of the military sphere» includes 97 lacunae. The group can be described on the bases of the following features: characteristics of military hardware (с ручным управлением , с человеческим экипажем на борту – comp. manned ); characteristics of the military (имеющий военную выправку – comp. soldierlike ); characteristics of store (разлетающийся на осколки – comp. splintery ); characteristics of substances (используемый для уничтожения урожая ( о химическом оружии ) – comp. anticrop ); characteristics of engagements (продолжавшийся всю ночь – comp. overnight ); characteristics of documents (не обеспечивающий секретности , не защищённый от утечки секретной информации – comp. leaky ); characteristics of targets (подверженный артобстрелу – comp. shelled ); set up of troops (не выстроенный в боевой порядок – comp. unarrayed ).

The group is heterogeneous so minigroups are distinguished. The largest subgroup «Characteristics of military hardware» is made up of 30 lacunae and has 4 subgroups:

1) configuration: с коротким стволом – comp. snub-nosed , etc.;

2) characteristics of maritime assets: получивший пробоину в подводной части – comp. bilged , etc.;

3) operational service: сохраняющий работоспособность при отказе отдельных элементов – comp. fail - safe , etc.;

4) location: движущийся в космосе – comp. spaceborne , etc.;

Also, the group has single lacunae: чреватый войной – comp. war - jittery ; обладающий ядерным оружием – comp. nuclear , etc.

According to Zh. V. Petrosyan, attributive lacunae can be generalizing and specifying [10]. The former are represented by explicit-generalizing and imlicit-generalizing lacunae [10, p. 59, 69]. The group of Russian-English attributive lacunae «Characteristics of the military sphere» is composed of 17 generalizing and 80 specifying lacunae; the grouping of generalizing lacunae consists of 4 explicit-generalizing and 13 imlicit-generalizing lacunae. There are lacunae with denotative extention.

As far as Russian-English substantive lacunae «Military sphere» are concerned, the group has minimal nominative non-representativeness (compared to the aforementioned verbal and attributive lacunae) and is made up of 80 lacunae [5]. This group can be broken up into 11 subgroups: the military (опытный лётчик , в едущий самолёт над малонаселённой местностью – comp. bush pilot ); military hardware (управляемый по радио самолёт - разведчик с телевизионной камерой – comp. TV drone ); warfare (заранее намеченный день военного нападения – comp. A - day ); quarters (помещение для арестованных на военном корабле – comp. AM brig ); covert actions (учёный или конструктор, работающий над секретным заданием, особенно имеющим военное значение – comp. backroom boy ); military documentation (список офицерского состава армии – comp. army list ); ammunition (сигнальная ракета, летящая по спирали – comp. tourbillion ); attitude to military service (добровольное поступление на военную службу – comp. sign up ); payment (денежное пособие при добровольном поступлении на военную службу – comp. bounty ); insignia (солдатский медальон, небольшая металлическая пластинка, на которой написаны фамилия, группа крови и личный номер военнослужащего, и который носят на шнурке на шее – comp. dog tag ).

The complex structure of the group can be illustrated at the example of one of its subgroups – «The military» – which has 4 minigroups:

1) parachutejumpers: парашютист, сбрасываемый в район десантирования для подачи сигнала – comp. pathfinder , etc.;

2) pilots: лётчик, перегоняющий самолёт с заводов на аэродромы – comp. ferry pilot , etc.;

3) spacemen: космонавт, ступивший на поверхность луны – comp. moonwalker , etc.;

4) commanders: офицер, выслужившийся из рядовых – comp. ranker , etc.

It should be said that there are separate lacunae that are not of any of the subgroups: увольнение из вооружённых сил без аттестации – comp. AM / informal blue discharge ; балансирование на грани войны – comp. brinkmanship , etc.

The group of substantive lacunae incorporates one gender lacuna – a lacuna that is singled out according to the sex of the referents [7, p. 45]: женщина , служащая в военно - морском флоте США – comp. Wave .

To identify national specificity it appears possible to use comparative-parametric method of linguistic research. Certain formalized parameters are used to describe national specificity of a language: indexes to analyze lexeme semantemes, semes, concepts, etc.

With regard to lacunae, only one formalized parameter – nominative non-representativeness – is used. Nominative non-representativeness of verbal lacunae is 234, attributive lacunae – 97, and substantive – 80. This reveals minor dispersal of the phenomenon of lacunarity in the military sphere.

Research of the thematic groups of lacunae belonging to different parts of speech makes it possible to use new indexes to characterize national specificity of the verbal, substantive and attributive lacunae as well.

The index of nominative non-representativeness of the lexical grouping [5, p. 45] is the ratio of nominative non-representativeness of the given lexical grouping to the totality of the elicited lacunae of the particular part of speech. The attributive lacunae have the largest value of the index – 2.89 %; the value of the index of the verbal lacunae is 2.17 % and substantive lacunae is 1.12 %. The index confirms a limited dispersal of the phenomenon of lacunarity in the analyzed sphere in native speakers’ cognition.

Density of non-equivalent lexemes [5, p. 45] can be defined as the total number of non-equivalent lexemes of the thematic group. This index for the group of verbal lacunae is 175, for the group of substantive lacunae – 80, and the group of attributive lacunae has the index of 81.

The index of generalizing and specifying lacunae [6, p. 48] is defined as the ratio of the totality of generalizing and specifying lacunae to the totality of the elicited lacunae of this group. The index of generalizing attributive lacunae is 17.5 %, generalizing verbal lacunae is 1 % and generalizing substantive lacunae is 0 %. The index of specifying substantive lacunae is 100 %, specifying verbal lacunae is 88 %, and specifying attributive lacunae is 82.5 %.

It is worth noting that in the case of verbal lacunae the indexes of generalizing-specifying [6, p. 48], generalizing-specifying proper and pseudo generalizing-specifying lacunae can be used. The study of attributive lacunae allows us to apply the indexes of explicit-generalizing and implicit-generalizing lacunae. These indexes are figured out in the same way as the index of generalizing and specifying lacunae. The index of generalizing-specifying proper is 3.4 %; the index of pseudo generalizing-specifying lacunae is 7.6 %. Thus, the index of generalizing-specifying lacunae is 11 %. The indexes of explicit-generalizing and implicit-generalizing lacunae are 3.09 % and 13.4 % respectively.

The index of grammatical complexity [6, p. 48] of the non-equivalent lexemes of the group is the ratio of the totality of non-equivalent lexemes, expressed by complex grammatical units (verb + adverb, verb + preposition) to the totality of the non-equivalent lexemes of the thematic group (or density of the non-equivalent lexemes). The group of interest of verbal lacunae has 23 non-equivalent complex lexemes: for example, выбрасываться , прыгать с парашютом – comp. bail out . The index of grammatical complexity of the non-equivalent lexemes of the group «Verbs, characterizing activities in the military sphere» is 9.8 %.

The index of denotative extension [6, p. 48] is the ratio of the lacunae with denotative extension to the totality of the lacunae in the group. This index for the verbal lacunae is 8.9 %; for the attributive it is 1 %.

The index of denotative restriction [6, p. 48] is the ratio of the lacunae with accentuation to specify a characteristic to the totality of the lacunae in this group. The verbal lacunae have the index of 1.3 %.

It should be mentioned that as one gender substantive lacuna is singled out, the index of gender lacunae, i. e. the ratio of the gender lacunae to the number of the lacunae constituting this group, can be put to use. It is 1.25 %.

The research undertaken proves the possibility of studying national peculiarity of lacunae in terms of previously proposed indexes such as the index of structural complexity (the ratio of the number of the structural units to the number of the lexical units in the group [4, p. 13]; the index of the subgroup’s intensity within the framework of the thematic group ( the ratio of the number of units which enter the other structural elements of the group to the number of lexemes constituting this group [16, p. 38].

The thematic group of verbal Russian-English lacunae has 15 subgroups or structural units and the index of structural complexity is 6.4 %; the thematic group of attributive Russian-English lacunae consists of 8 structural units so the index of structural complexity is 8.24 %. The index of structural complexity of substantive lacunae is 13.75 % as 80 non-equivalent lexemes enter 11 subgroups.

Every subgroup can have its own index of the subgroup’s intensity within the framework of the thematic group. It makes sense to show the index of the largest and smallest subgroups. The index of the largest subgroup «Verbs, characterizing professional activities in the military sphere», consisting of 47 lacunae, is 20.1 %. Still, the index of the smallest subgroup «Verbs, characterizing training of personnel» which only has 3 lacunae is 1.3 %. The largest subgroup of the substantive lacunae «The military» consists of 16 lacunae and its index is 20 %: the smallest one has 2 – its index is 2.5 %. As far as attributive lacunae are concerned, the index of the largest subgroup «Characteristics of military hardware» (30 lacunae) is 30.9 % while the index of the smallest subgroup «Set up of troops» (2 lacunae) is 2.06 %.

The index of in-group structural-semantic coherence – the ratio of the lexemes which by different sememes are incorporated into different structural units of the group to the total amount of the lexemes of the group [16, p. 38] – is applied. For example, lexeme orbit meaning «выводить , выходить на орбиту » belongs to subgroup «Verbs, characterizing professional activities in the military sphere». However, when the lexeme means «вращаться или двигаться по орбите » it is part of subgroup «Verbs, characterizing activities of military hardware and arms». The group of verbal lacunae has 6 lexemes of this kind. The group of attributive lacunae incorporates 1 lexeme: lexeme warworn meaning «изношенный или пострадавший в боях (о технике и т . п . )» is in subgroup «Characteristics of military hardware» but when it has the meaning of «истощённый , измученный войной » it belongs to «Characteristics of the military». No lexemes of this kind are observed among substantive lacunae. So the index of in-group structural-semantic coherence for verbal lacunae is 2.56 %. The same index of attributive lacunae is 1.03 %.

The group of Russian-English verbal lacunae includes units with semantic proximity: 24 lacuna meanings on the whole. For example, освобождать(ся) от военной службы по состоянию здоровья – comp. invalid ; признать непригодным к военной службе, полёту и т.п. – comp. wash . In this case to describe the national peculiarity of the group the index of semantic proximity (the ratio of the lexemes which make up pairs / rows of synonyms to the total amount of the lexemes in the group [16, p. 38]) is used: it is 10.3 %.

The research revealed antonymic pairs of lacunae: for example, не поддающийся расшифровке – comp. inconvertible ; поддающийся прочтению или расшифровке – comp. scrutable . In the group of verbal lacunae there are 11 lexemes; in the group of attributive lacunae there are 10 lexemes. The index of semantic oppositeness [2, p. 8] of verbal lacunae is 4.7 %, of attributive lacunae – 10.3 %.

The comparative analysis of the thematic groups of Russian-English verbal lacunae «Verbs, characterizing activities in the military sphere», Russian-English substantive lacunae «Military sphere» and Russian-English attributive lacunae «Characteristics of the military sphere» shows that national specificity of these groups is revealed in the following aspects:

Verbs

Nouns

Adjectives

nominative non-representativeness

234

80

97

the index of nominative non-representativeness

2.17 %

1.12 %

2.89 %

the index of density of non-equivalent lexemes

175

80

81

the index of generalizing lacunae

1 %

0 %

17.5 %

the index of specifying lacunae

88 %

100 %

82.5 %

the index of generalizing-specifying lacunae

11 %

the index of generalizing-specifying proper lacunae

3.4 %

the index of pseudo generalizing-specifying lacunae

7.6 %

the index of explicit-generalizing lacunae

3.09 %

the index of implicit-generalizing lacunae

13.4 %

the index of grammatical complexity

9.8 %

the index of denotative extension

8.9 %

1 %

the index of denotative restriction

1.3 %

the index of gender lacunae

1.25 %

the index of structural complexity

6.4 %

13.75 %

8.24 %

the index of the subgroup’s intensity

20.1 % (for the largest subgroup)

1.3 % (for the smallest subgroup)

20 % (for the largest subgroup)

2.5 % (for the smallest subgroup)

30.9 %(for the largest subgroup)

2.06 % (for the smallest subgroup)

the index of in-group structural-semantic coherence

2.56 %

1.03 %

the index of semantic proximity

10.3 %

the index of semantic oppositeness

4.7 %

10.3 %

The analysis proves conclusively that the system of formalized parameters reveals national specificity of lacunae objectively and defines it clearly. Hereafter, these indicators can be applied to take a look at lexical lacunae in other languages and terminological lacunae.

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