Alien in Its Own: Borrowings in the New Russian Phraseology

2024. № 2, 18-36

Valeriy M. Mokienko, Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia, Saint-Petersburg),


The article is devoted to the problem of borrowings in the new Russian phraseology. With all the wary attitude towards direct lexical borrowings, phraseological borrowings are not critically evaluated either by society or by linguistic purists. The reason for this is that, unlike borrowed vocabulary, foreign phraseological units, as a rule, are formed by tracing, i.e. literal translation of their components. This makes their imagery transparent and recognizable. The modern Russian language, after political and other changes in the 90s of the last century, was enriched with many phraseological cripples. Some of them are periphrastic turns denoting certain spheres of life that were previously alien in Soviet society. Expressions of military subjects (mostly journalistic style) also belong to this kind of turnovers: star wars, nuclear club, nuclear umbrella, scorched earth tactics, etc. This includes the names of the belligerents: green berets; red berets; blue helmets etc. The thematic group of calques from English, one way or another connected with the characteristics of power, bosses, is represented in Russian by idiomatics with vivid imagery. Such is the group of phraseological units adopted by the Russian language with the carpet component: call someone to the carpet; be on the carpet; go / go to the carpet, etc. An analysis of the phraseological neologisms of the political and banking spheres is also proposed.

For citation:

Мокиенко В. М. Чужое в своем: заимствования в новой русской фразеологии // Русская речь. 2024. № 2. С. 18–36. DOI: 10.31857/S0131611724020022


This research is supported by the Russian Scientifi c Foundation
No. 23-18-00141 “Ideographic Dictionary of Russian Phraseological Neology: Dynamics of Language and Thinking”, implemented at St. Petersburg
State University.