Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. April 2006

13.1. Migration als Faktor sozio-kultureller Innovationen
Herausgeberin | Editor | Éditeur: Tamara Fesenko (Tambov, Rußland)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Innovations in the sphere of precedent phenomena as the result of migration process

S. Bannikova (Tambov, Russia)


This report deals with the problem of influence of a new culture on migrants' views and perception of reality. This report contains an analysis of the process of innovations in the sphere of precedent phenomena (PP) as the result of migration.

In the process of migration people can be found in cultural settings absolutely different to those of their own country. It means that they should change not only their way of living but also their way of thinking. According to sociologists migrants have to choose one of the following strategies of behaviour in new cultural setting:

  1. forming closed ethnic groups without any contacts with new culture, it presupposes preservation of migrants' own ethnic culture and language;
  2. medium stage of assimilation, it means that migrants know two languages, they are open to customs and traditions of new culture, they take an active part in social life of their new country and, at the same time, they try to preserve their own way of life and language;
  3. whole assimilation, it supposes changing of their own ethnic culture and language to those of receiving country. Scientists underline the fact that in the case of second and third migrant generations the first ethnic culture and language are completely forgotten;
  4. returning to home country.

According to the type of strategy migrants choose the type of language policy. In the case of preserving own ethnic culture and no contacts with new reality migrants' language can be enriched through the process of giving new meanings to old words according to the rules of the first language and culture. If migrants choose second strategy (medium stage of assimilation) their language can be transformed by new borrowings of the receiving language with authentic or transformed meaning influenced by first ethnic culture and language. New meanings also can be developed in old language phenomena under the influence of the second migrants' culture and language. In the case of whole assimilation migrants go through adaptation to new reality and try to perceive life as the speakers of the new language. So assimilated migrants acquire new language phenomena with the meaning typical of receiving culture. All this is true with precedent phenomena. It should be said that not only migrant cultures are changed during the process of integration or assimilation but also receiving culture is changed. These changes may be of different character and different degree. Thus the more open is the migrant community the more changes and innovations in the receiving culture. The less open migrant community the less are the changes in the culture and language of the receiving community. This process of interrelations between languages in the whole and precedent phenomena as part is best seen in the texts by migrant writers.

First let us give the definition of a precedent phenomena. According to linguists precedent phenomena are important elements of ethnic culture (V.V. Krasnih, D.B. Gudkov, Y.A. Karaulov) and have an associative potential which can vary in different cultures even in the case of one and the same phenomena. V.V. Krasnich defines precedent phenomena as language phenomena well-known in a linguocultural society, connected with cognitive sphere, i.e. each PP has a mental image behind it which makes its use in speech understandable and connotatively coloured and, finally, these phenomena are frequently used in everyday speech [Krasnich 1998: 51]. We define two types of PP - ethnic and international. Ethnic PP are well-known only in one ethnic culture while international PP are recognized in two or more cultures through the process of globalization. The meaning of international PP can vary from culture to culture though the form can seem the same.

PP make up the central part of the individual's cognitive space and that of the ethnic community. The knowledge of PP can reflect people's interconnection with certain culture and historical period [Karaulov 1987]. Every ethnic culture has its own corpus of PP, which migrants bring with them to the new country. It consists of ethnic and world literature, folklore, TV and radio programs and many other forms, which can be peculiar to a culture and quite unknown in other cultures. The corpus of PP is very large, it consists of famous books, titles of songs, names of heroes, names of authors, advertisements, slogans, different types of quotations. Quotations can be graphically marked in inverted comas or unmarked reproduction of somebody else's text which is only associatively linked with the source, however, it allows identifying original text with a certain degree of precision [Postnova 2001: 109]. In other words, precedents are verbal models which can show similar facts without producing meaning every time but they copy standard meaning which is stored in the memory.

Precedent phenomena, like other verbal units, reflect the real world and their use in speech is determined by the meaning which they have within a certain cultural community. This fact becomes clear when precedents from one culture or society are interpreted by people from other cultures which leads to possible misunderstanding [Fesenko 2002].

For example, in the phrase "I had hired a car (well, to be more precise a Lada) and a driver..." migrant writer uses a borrowing from the Russian language. In Russian "Lada" is the type of the car produced in the city of Toliaty, quite ordinary in Russia. In the text it receives some negative connotation through the opposition Lada - car. As it is put a Lada can't even be called a car. Thus a new meaning appeared in the borrowed precedent phenomena. This new meaning can circulate in the migrant society and it was not ordinary in the receiving society.

Thus innovation in the sphere of precedent phenomena can be interpreted as acquiring new, unknown PP by the migrants through the connection with new culture and language or new interpretation of known PP, i.e. forming new meanings absent in the first migrants' culture and language. This process can be traced in the works of migrant writers in first or second generations.

Thus migrants have their own corpus of ethnic and international precedent phenomena determined by their ethnic culture. While living in a new cultural setting migrants can either acquire new precedent phenomena with the meaning typical of a new culture or change this ethnic meaning through the process of categorization. At the same time the meaning of the known precedent phenomena can change under the influence of new ethnic culture.

© S. Bannikova (Tambov, Russia)


Gudkov, D.B. Presedent name and the problems of presedents.- M.: MSU Press, 1999.- 152 p.

Karaulov, Y.N. The Russian language and speaking person.- M.: Science, 1987.- 261 p.

Krasnih, V.V. Virtual reality or real virtuality.- M.: MSU Press, 1998.- 352 p.

Postnova, T. Y. Presedent texts in advertisements //Vestnic MSU. Linguistics and crosscultural communication, 2001.- № 2.- p. 106-115.

Fesenko, T. A. Specific features of national cultural space as connected with translation.- Tambov: TSU Press, 2002.- 228 p.

13.1. Migration als Faktor sozio-kultureller Innovationen

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For quotation purposes:
S. Bannikova (Tambov, Russia): Innovations in the sphere of precedent phenomena as the result of migration process. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 16/2005. WWW: ../../../index.htmtrans/16Nr/13_1/bannikova16.htm

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