The fate of a name in the approach of Wörter und Sachen: “Solomon” in Russian dialects and vernacular

2018. № 2 (36), 123-147

Elena L. Berezovich, Kseniya V. Osipova, Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia


The article considers semantic and semantic-word-formative derivatives of the name Solomon in Russian folk dialects and colloquial speech, as well as collocations with this name. The material extracted from dialect dictionaries of the Russian language and unpublished sources (card indexes of the Dictionary of Dialects of the Russian North and Arkhangelsk Regional Dictionary) is primarily North Russian. Motif-reconstruction of linguistic facts is based on the cultural context — ritual and everyday practices, folklore texts and monuments of literature, beliefs. Within the derivational-phraseological word family there are two lines of motifs: on the one hand, the name Solomon, as the name of the biblical king, “lives” on in the language as a precedent one; on the other hand, it is perceived as belonging to a typical Jew, and therefore adopts the connotations of the ethnonym. The authors distinguish three main semantic blocks within the derivationalphraseological family: 1) lexical units with internal form indicating the subject attributes of King Solomon (cf., for example, phytonym solomonova pechat’); 2) words related in motifs to the names of attributes of divinatory practices, namely, to “The Fortune-telling Circle of King Solomon” (for example, the dialectal names of chocolates and wraps with the root solomon- are explained by the practice of guessing at the caramel in a wrapper with the Circle of King Solomon drawn on it); 3) words that reflect the idea of personality traits of those to whom the name of Solomon is attributed (whether the biblical king or “typical Jew”).