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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 2


O.K. Ansimova1, O.V. Golubkova2
1Novosibirsk State Technical University, 20 Karl Marx Av., Novosibirsk, 630073
2Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of SB RAS (IAE SB RAS), 17 Akademician Lavrentiev Av., Novosibirsk, 630090
Keywords: forest spirits, leshy (wood goblin), folk beliefs, Slavic mythology, folklore, traditional culture, verbal description, linguocultural literacy, lexicography


Forest spirits ( Leshy and others) belong to the set of ancient beliefs of Russian people. Folklore and ethnographic sources, including modern materials, characterize Leshy as a master of Forest, who protects his lands making people ramble in the woods, loves jokes and can change his appearance. Images of Leshy are almost identical in Siberia and European part of Russia. According to present knowledge it is more correct to speak about transformation of Leshys image due to changing cultural environment and mentality. However, a recent survey (317 questionnaires) conducted among urban citizens of different age and professional groups revealed that modern citizens not only easily answered the question Who is Leshy?, but were able to list many of its traditional features. The authors note that although modern dictionaries of Linguoculture should explain semantics of such lexical unit as Leshy (as it plays a significant role in the Russian culture) such entries are lacking in them. The authors propose their lexicographical interpretation as a new method of linguo-cultural fixation of ethnographical information. The same method is used in the dictionary of linguo-cultural literacy dictionary that is being constructed. The dictionary entry reflects everyday values, most relevant to native speakers, as well as a set of ideas associated with these linguistic units. The integrated use of ethnographic, folklore and linguistic materials helps to determine the degree of variation of mythological images typical of traditional culture and to identify their role in the Russian peoples worldview. Based on the survey results and field ethnographic materials, the authors have formed the dictionary entry Leshy reflecting the modern vision of this mythological creature shared by the native Russian speakers in the context of contemporary linguoculture.