The associative field of the concept “enemy” in modern Russian linguistic consciousness

Keywords: concept, language consciousness, linguistic culture, associative field, associative-verbal model, cognitive features, image of the enemy


The purpose of this study is to reveal the structure of the associative field of the ENEMY concept in the Russian linguistic consciousness and to find out the factors causing its transformation. The object of the study is the results of associative experiments presented in the "Slavic Associative Dictionary" and in the "Russian Regional Associative Database. 2008-2015". The subject of the study is the basic cognitive features that form the associative-verbal model of the concept "enemy" in the modern linguistic consciousness of Russians.

The results of the comparative analysis of the researched associative fields in general testify to the stability of the associative-verbal model of the concept of ENEMY in the Russian linguistic consciousness of the first decades of the 21st century. The list of high-frequency reactions to the stimulus of враг is mostly unchanged (друг, недруг, враг народа, злой, мой, ненависть, etc.). The enemy's qualitative, action and acting characteristics, as well as his emotional and general negative assessment, remain stable. The connection between the concepts ENEMY and WAR is relevant.

However, the circle of reactions that point to the subject of enmity changes: next to the topic of Germany (немец, Гитлер, Германия, фашизм), the reactions of Америка, США, Запад are noted. Reactions нации, страны, государства appear among the names of the objects targeted by enmity. Reactions indicating the location of the enemy express the idea of his proximity, which is associated with a sense of danger and threat.

The appearance of such reactions indicates the gradual actualization in the Russian linguistic consciousness of the image of an external enemy, which can be associated not only with people of other nationalities, but also with individual states or their associations. Such changes are obviously caused by extralinguistic factors, in particular, the strengthening of political tensions on the part of Russia in the early 2000s against neighboring states and Western countries, which was accompanied by the active formation of the image of an external enemy in the Russian media space. The transformation of the associative field of the ENEMY concept in Russian linguistic culture demonstrates socio-cultural conditioning, discursiveness and dynamism of language consciousness.


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Author Biography

Liudmyla Pedchenko, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of Slavic Philology of the Philological Faculty


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How to Cite
Pedchenko, L. (2023). The associative field of the concept “enemy” in modern Russian linguistic consciousness. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series “Philology”, (93), 70-74.