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Article

Speaking of “Travel” in English and Russian: Lexical Semantics in Tourist Reviews

Tourism Culture & Communication. 2017. Vol. 17. No. 3. P. 173-189.

The purpose of this study is to analyze the linguistic universality and variability of the concept of travel in the English and Russian languages. The linguistic method employs a four-step procedure including analysis of culturally “biased” dictionary entries of travel vocabulary in English and in Russian as well as a comparative analysis of lexical structures in English and Russian discursive contexts. The data include: (a) 14 concise dictionaries containing 14 definitions of the word travel and 42 definitions of its synonyms, and (b) 774 user-generated collocations and word combinations with travel, collected from on-line tourists’ reviews on English and Russian travel websites. The results show that, despite common background information on Destination, Time, and Means of Transport, there are selective ways in which English-speaking and Russian-speaking tourists perceive their travel experiences. In particular, even in the context of global traveling and the use of similar words, English-speaking and Russian-speaking tourists see some of the themes (Memorable travel, Fabulous travel, Nature, Feelings, and Emotions) differently. From an interlinguisticperspective, the results of the study are indicative of stereotypical linguistic reactions to travel experiences in the English language, and of an emphasis on the differentiation of feelings in the Russian language as a manifestation of tourists’ linguistic personality and cultural identity.