Moscow as a National Symbol: Dynamics of Cultural Meanings in Paremiology

Keywords: Moscow, symbol, proverb, proverb transformations, paremiological dictionary, dictionary entry, axiological index


This article studies the possibilities of reconstructing the symbolic image of Moscow, referring to traditional Russian proverbs and their modern transformations. Proverbs are examined from the point of view of the linguo-cultural aspect, taking into account their cultural and historical symbolic semantics and modern socio-cultural background. The research aims to identify the symbolic meanings of the image of Moscow and represent the techniques of dictionary interpretation of this image. The innovative character of the article lies in the fact that it reveals the dynamics of the symbolic image of Moscow both at the level of one proverb and in the system of proverbs as a whole. The need to understand the socio-cultural factors determining these dynamics makes the study relevant. Also, the concept of the lexicographical representation of proverbs in their current condition provided by the author is innovative and relevant to paremiology. The research methodology is based on the principles of integration and interdisciplinarity. Additionally, the author employs diachronic and synchronic methods, as well as contextual and component analysis. The main source of the material is the paremiological database of the Phraseological Seminar of St Petersburg State University, which combines materials of about 300 paremiological collections and other lexicographic works released between the eighteenth and the twenty-first centuries, recordings of live speech made by members of the seminar in different regions of Russia, and materials from websites, forums, and chats from 2018–2020. The author reveals the mechanisms of the structural and semantic transformations of traditional proverbs and demonstrates the socio-political and socio-cultural background of desymbolisation and resymbolisation of the image of Moscow in proverbs. She presents this in the format of a paremiological dictionary, Proverbs in Modern Speech, using the example of a dictionary entry and axiological index. She draws conclusions about the relevance of certain symbolic meanings of the image of Moscow for modern Russian speakers.

Author Biography

Tatiana Nikitina

Dr. Hab. (Philology), Professor, Pskov State University.

2, Lenin Sq., 180000, Pskov, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0001-9006-9738


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How to Cite
Nikitina, T. (2020). Moscow as a National Symbol: Dynamics of Cultural Meanings in Paremiology. Quaestio Rossica, 8(5), 1534–1548.
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