Yasli in the Russian Language

2019. № 1, 67-73

Institute of Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Saint Petersburg), diaghileva@yandex.ru


The article deals with the new meaning of the word ясли (‘nursery’) made as a loan translation from the French language in the 19th century. Extensive historical material provides background for tracing features of the use of the word ясли in the Russian language. The research identifies the factors determining the possibility of semantic calquing, provides the description of semantic links (the words ‘kolibelnaya’ (lullaby), ‘detskaya’ (children’s room), ‘kolibel’ (cradle) were used sporadically as synonyms of the word ясли, though were not fi xed in the language later). The article traces the first use of the word ясли in its new meaning in the Russian language back to the period of “Parisian Letters” by N. I. Grech, published in the newspaper “Northern Bee” in 1845. The reference is made to the XIX century, when the word got an additional meaning ‘a special place where one can anonymously leave the infant baby’, and to the XX century, when the establishment of the pre-school education system made a great number of collocations and derivatives appear. It is concluded that the process of mastering the semantic calque ясли was long and had a number of similarities with the general process of foreign languages entering into the Russian language.