Interlingual phraseological equivalence and gaps: An ethnocultural aspect (based on the Russian and Chinese languages)

Olga G. Shchitova, Alexandr G. Shchitov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article is devoted to the analysis of interlingual equivalence and gaps in the Russian and Chinese phraseology in relation to ethnocultural specificity. The aim is to identify and describe national-specific features of the phraseological picture of the world in the phenomena of interlingual phraseological equivalence and gaps of Russian and Chinese. The material for the study includes Russian and Chinese phraseological units with a colour component, which is drawn from dictionaries of collocations, explanatory dictionaries, Internet information resources, the Russian National Corpus, and reference books of colour names in Russian and Chinese. The methodology is based on works on the theory of linguistic equivalence and gaps, contrastive phraseology, and linguistic culturology. The article uses descriptive and comparative methods of scientific research. Along with these methods, the authors also use linguistic methods of definitive, semantic, component, and linguoculturological analysis as well as methods of linguistic and associative experiments. The respondents in the experiments are Russian and Chinese students from Tomsk universities. The experiments are aimed at verifying semantics, connotative and stylistic properties of multilingual phraseological units, and at identifying the associations they caused. The article defines the conceptual apparatus referring to problems of contrastive phraseological equivalence and gaps. The typology of interlingual phraseological equivalents is based on the comparison of multilingual units in terms of phraseological semantics, stylistic properties, and the internal form. On the basis of the developed criteria, the classification of interlingual phraseological equivalents is made and their main types are determined: full, partial equivalents, as well as non-equivalent phrasemes. The section on interlingual phraseological gaps reveals absolute and partial language gaps. Among partial gaps, varieties of vector and associative gaps are identified. In accordance with this typology of interlingual gaps, the typology of phraseological units with interlingual gaps is made. The typology is based on a comparison of correlative units of different languages in terms of the conceptual scope, the structure of a phraseological meaning, and associative connotation. From these positions, phraseological units with interlingual absolute and relative gaps are classified. The latter are further subdivided into phraseological units with vector and associative gaps. The article reveals ethnospecific information contained in the given phraseological units and determines the degree of informativeness depending on the type of the phraseological unit in relation to gaps. Phraseological units with interlingual absolute gaps are considered to be the most informative in terms of national-cultural identity. Relative gap associative and vector units contain a little less informative ethnospecific data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-179
Number of pages22
JournalVestnik Tomskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Filologiya
Issue number65
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Chinese
  • Ethnic and cultural specificity
  • Interlingual phraseological equivalence
  • Lacunarity
  • Phraseology
  • Russian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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