Bottle opening as an object of linguocultural analysis

2021. № 1 (41), 64-86

Vladimir V. Glebkin
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
School 1514, Moscow
(Moscow, Russia)


The view of lexical and semantic changes as a process that is underpinned, to a large extent,
by sociocultural factors is not a novelty for modern linguistics. Nevertheless, a recognized research program to identify sociocultural triggers for such changes is yet to be developed. This article addresses lexical constructions used to denote the action of opening bottles,
picks out milestones in the process of their change in time, and reveals the sociocultural
grounds for this change. The research is conducted from the onomasiological perspective,
which explores the lexical choice between alternative constructions and identifies the criteria
that determine such a choice. The article provides evidence that in the 19th century the action
of opening bottles was mainly represented by constructions otkuporivat’ butylku and raskuporivat’
butylku. The construction otkryvat’ butylku, not present in the common language of
the 19th century, emerges independently in the sociolect of the lower urban strata and in the
technical language associated with applied sciences. In the 20th century, it penetrates common
language, and since the last third of the 20th century it has surpassed the construction otkuporivat’
butylku in lexical competition. The article also brings out the sociocultural factors
underpinning the choice between the constructions otkryvat’ butylku and otkuporivat’ butylku
by the authors from the second half of the 20th century through the first decades of the 21st