Santa-Barbara: Semantic Transformations in the Russian Linguistic Culture

2024. № 2, 7-17

Irina V. Kryukova, Volgograd State Social-Pedagogical University (Russia, Volgograd),


The article deals with the semantic transformations Santa Barbara – the title of an American TV series – in the Russian speech. The study has been conducted on the texts dating back to 1992 (the beginning of the series' broadcast on the Russian television) and up to the present day. Having carried out the contextual analysis of the use of the proper name Santa Barbara in mass media, Internet communication, colloquial speech, and mass literature, we have determined certain figurative meanings, which have been consistently formed in the Russian linguistic culture for 30 years. At the same time, the name of the TV series has been expanding its semantic volume and application. The first meaning noted soon after the release of the series was positive: a high-rank neighborhood, comfortable for living. Nowadays, it has practically disappeared from speech, but it is preserved in the names of hotels, cafes, restaurants, and residential complexes in many Russian cities. The other figurative meanings that are still functionally active today are negative: 1) an endless melodramatic TV show; 2) complicated, intricate family/love relations; 3) scandals, conflicts, plots. The last meaning is no longer associated with the TV series and characterizes complex conflicts in a variety of communicative contexts. At present, Santa Barbara is used, in particular, as a political metaphor in popular Russian mass media. We also note the uniqueness of the listed figurative meanings for the Russian speech and their complete absence in the speech of Americans.

For citation:

Kryukova I. V. Santa-Barbara: Semantic Transformations in the Russian Linguistic Culture. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2024. No. 2. Pp. 7–17. DOI: 10.31857/S0131611724020019.