Using Folk Constructions/Phrases In Mass Media Language

Rudnev Viacheslav (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia)
Topic: Language Contact and Change
COMELA 2020 Colloquium

Colloquium Abstract

The modern epoch produces new special demands on language as a tool of communication and information. This process is actual for TV, printed and online mass media. Recently Russian mass media are using words and phrases  borrowed from Folk texts relating to an era of the preindustrial society (when peoples were organically connected with nature) for the description of the occurring  news and  new events. For example, using phrases “mushroom rains” (characterizing perspective, promising  good conditions for negotiations), the “goat tracks” (difficult going for negotiations), “bear  zeal” (unreasonable use of force), etc. which specify  described situations, are actively entered into the text of comments showing events of modern society life. Actually, these phrases are used in a new context for the purpose of brighter, emotional submission of information. The study, based on involving ethnological data, considers both the printed and online media and also analyzes the  meanings of these phrases in a language of Russian folk culture. Practically, by attracting these words and phrases, mass media are creating a special emotional background (context) making it actual for presenting new data.

The analysis of different types of “metaphor” promotes better understanding of problems of modern mass media in language using and in their lexicon environment. In appealing to folk language’s constructions, mass media has destroyed boundaries and also facilitates emotional intellectual judgment to the offered information. It is the response to change of the identity of the reader / consumer of information which has very difficult inner mental world now.

The considered words and phrases (concern for wildlife and natural phenomena) were well mastered by the humans belonging to the culture of preindustrial society: they were included in the world of ethno cultural ideas and composed special linguistic picture of the world. These are the culturally marked words that help to set a system of coordinates in which people live, which forms the world image, fundamental elements of ethnic culture (1). These words found their niche in a body of a modern news text.

Analyzing the using of folk words/phrases (result of folk life-support activity and nature using) in a modern text gives a new possibility for better understanding the relationships between language, society and culture.

Lurie S. Istoricheskaya etnologiya. Moskva, 1997, p. 221.

Keywords: language, mass media, folk culture