Functions of Borrowings in the Russian Argot

Author’s name:

Gulnara M. Lisina


The article explores and describes the functions of borrowings which, at different time peri-ods, entered the argot of Russian fringe population groups. The main purpose of the study is to present a systematizing critical review of the existing literature on the functions of argot and to describe the characteristic features of borrowed argotisms found in Russian literary texts as well as Russian explanatory, etymological, and foreign word dictionaries. The author uses the methods of description and comparison, the comparative method, and the opposition method. Since the general criminal argot, the specialized argot, and the prison argot are rich in their forms and functionality, they perform a number of important tasks, and gradually pene-trate into literary speech. Thus a careful study of their functions helps to explain some of the linguistic realities of the modern Russian language and throws a fresh light on the psychology of native Russian speakers. After analyzing a diverse body of sources, the author identifies sixteen separate functions of borrowed words that are common for the general, specialized, and prison argot, namely: service, secret, identification, nominative, worldview, expressive, utilitarian, communicative, signaling, magic, pseudo-aesthetic, agitation, and game function as well as the function of gender determinism, the function of intimidation, and, finally the function of stylistic characterization of literary characters through their speech. The results of the research can be used in college-level courses of modern Russian for law and language students, in special courses in social linguistics and cultural studies as well as in language and public speaking courses in schools and universities.

DOI: 10.47388/2072-3490/lunn2020-51-3-77-89
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Key words Russian language; argot; argotism, function; criminal subculture; borrowings in Russian.


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