Meaning and usage of the verb orientirovat’sja

2017. № 2 (34), 92-120

Svetlana I. Pereverzeva, Russian State Humanitarian University; Moscow, Russia


In the present paper we describe four meanings of the verb orientirovat’sja: ‘orient 1’ (Штурман ориентировался на маяк), ‘orient 2.1’ (Продавцы ориентируются на внутренний рынок), ‘orient 2.2’ (Раньше люди легко ориентировались во времени по солнечным часам) and ‘orient 3’ (Магнитная стрелка компаса ориентируется на север). We identify two naïve strategies of finding one’s way. Following the first strategy, the subject makes his or her way towards a landmark or in some direction. Following the second, the subject plans his or her route relying on the information received from some source. We analyze how these strategies influence metaphorical meanings of the verb orientirovat’sja (meanings 2.1 and 2.2). We outline the main types of orienting points and show the connection between them and the choice of preposition in the collocations ориентироваться на что-л. / по чему-л. We formulate rules for choosing preposition на / по based on specific features of the given orienting point (closeness to the destination and ability to change direction).