On the semantic history of “multi-channel” borrowings: The case of kuraž.

2016. №4, 35-55

Elena L. Berezovich @, Olesia D. Surikova
Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, 620000, Russian Federation; @ berezovich@yandex.ru


This article examines the history of the Russian Gallicism kuraž in comparison with its counterparts in various European languages (English, German, Western and Eastern Slavic). This word is recognized as a multi-channel borrowing, because it has penetrated into different registers of the Russian language: on the one hand, directly from the French — into literary language; on the other, through German mediation (possibly via additional West Slavic links) — into colloquial language, soldier’s jargon, dialects. According to the authors, it was German mediation that gave impetus to significant semantic shifts of the word kuraž in folk speech, in which a variety of negative meanings (including those associated with alcoholism) are present. The authors reconstruct an extensive word family of the headword kuraž, reveal its semantic structure, carry out etymological interpretation of a number of dialect words from this word family, and describe the logic of contamination processes in which they are engaged.