Towards the etymology of the opening words kingera, tiliram, kirgiz-tatarin, etc. in active children’s games of the “red rover” type.

2016. №3, 115-130

Gleb I. Romaniy a, Maria A. Klyucheva b, @
a Independent researcher, Tel-Aviv, Israel;
b Mari State University, Yoshkar-Ola, 424000, Russian Federation;


In the article the etymology of several semantically obscure opening words of Russian exclamation (“shouting”) formulas in children’s games of “red rover” type is examined. Most of them occur in the Volga-Kama area. It is shown that these phrases were crystallised largely due to language contact and borrowing in a multi-ethnic region. The processes of semantisation and re-semantisation (semantic adaptation), associated with the borrowing of lexical items from game dialogues, are analysed. Inter alia, it is pointed out that consonantal changes are much more characteristic of the desemantised (in particular, by borrowing into another language) exclamatory game utterances than vocalic and rhythmic changes.