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Слово «легенда» в речевом употреблении и в словарном отражении: заимствование, функционирование, идеология

Крылова И. А., Тулякова Н. А.

The diachronic analysis of the word legend representation in explanatory dictionaries and in the National Corpus of the Russian language indicates that the word legend entered the Russian language recently compared to other Indo-European languages. It first appeared in monolingual dictionaries in the mid-19th century. At this stage, the word had two main meanings: ‘a sacred narrative, tradition of a sacred event, related to the Church’ and ‘an oral tradition of a miraculous event’ (Dahl’s dictionary), the latter being more frequently used. By the early 20th century the word had developed several meanings, both commonly used (‘fiction’) and terminological ones (‘musical piece’, ‘inscription on a medal’). The dictionaries of the 20th century, starting with Ushakov’s dictionary, reveal a structural transformation in the word definition which resulted from the change in the hierarchy of meanings: the word’s religious context weakened, and the terminological meaning ‘poetical tale’ started to predominate.

In the second half of the 20th century the word acquired new meanings: ‘a spy’s fictitious biography’, and the existing meanings ‘stereotypical idea of somebody’ and ‘a famous person’ continued to be actively used. In the early 21st century the word commenced to occur in the spheres very different from the initial ones – in marketing and advertising.

The analysis demonstrates some discrepancy between the word’s lexicographic representation and its actual usage revealed in the Corpus. For example, the dictionaries fail to mention some meanings and construe the meanings hierarchy in a different manner. The analysis also indicates a significant influence of ideology upon dictionaries’ entries, which is partly due to the word’s semantics allowing to highlight either the verisimilitude (Ozhegov’s dictionary) or the inauthenticity (Ushakov’s dictionary) of the narrative.

The Corpus data shows that the frequency of meaning’s usage depends much on extralinguistic factors. The word legend started to be used with the meaning ‘a famous person’ considerably more often in the second half of the 20th century, which may be attributed to mass media role. Meanwhile, the usage of the meaning ‘oral tradition’ gradually decreases.

The undertaken research of the lexeme legend demonstrates the impact which extralinguistic and linguistic factors have on the word’s entering a language, developing and losing some meanings, and the way these processes are reveled in explanatory dictionaries.