Anglicismes en russe doukhobor Anglicisms in Doukhobor Russian


Cet article examine les anglicismes en russe doukhobor, une variété linguistique qui était parlée au Canada par les Spirit Wrestlers (ou Doukhobors, un groupe de dissidents chrétiens originaire de l'Empire russe et immigré au Canada en 1899), mais qui a presque entièrement disparu. Les résultats démontrent l’existence de trois vagues successives d’emprunts à l’anglais. La première (contenant très peu d’emprunts, composés principalement de gentilés) s’était déjà produite en russe avant l’immigration des Doukhobors au Canada. La deuxième vague a correspondu aux premières années de leur immigration, lorsque des dizaines de mots ont été empruntés à l’anglais, principalement pour exprimer certains nouveaux concepts liés à la vie dans leur nouveau pays : la technologie, la vie sociale, le vocabulaire général, la culture, les unités de mesure et le vocabulaire lié à l’alimentation. La dernière vague, à la fin du XXe et au début du XXIe siècles, était principalement composée d’emprunts de termes technologiques. Seule la deuxième vague a été prolifique et a créé de nouveaux mots à partir de mots sources anglais par le biais d’une dérivation morphologique. L’utilisation de mots d’emprunt qui sont absents dans le russe standard a contribué à l’idée selon laquelle le russe doukhobor était une variété linguistique inférieure. Cette notion, ainsi que certains facteurs démographiques et sociaux plus saillants, ont joué un rôle dans sa disparition.

This article considers Anglicisms in Doukhobor Russian, a near-extinct language variety spoken in Canada by Spirit Wrestlers (or Doukhobors, a Christian dissenters group that originated in the Russian Empire and rejects churches, priests, and militarism). The results demonstrate that, chronologically, there were three waves of borrowing from English. The first one (with very few loanwords from English consisting mostly of demonyms) occurred already in the Russian language prior to Doukhobor immigration to Canada. The second wave was associated with the early years of their immigration, when dozens of words were borrowed from English, mostly to reflect concepts related to life in the new country, technology, aspects of social life, culture, units of measurement, and food. The final wave relates to late 20th-early 21st century English borrowings of mostly technological terms. Only the second wave was prolific and yielded new words created from English source words by derivational means. The use of English loanwords that differed from the ones in Standard Russian contributed to the perceptions of Doukhobor Russian as an inferior language variety, and ultimately to its disappearance (along with some more salient demographic and social factors).


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1. Introduction and Literature Review

1.1. Anglicisms

1Anglicisms are “lexical borrowings from English including words imported via English” (Stålhammer, 2004, p. 85). Loanwords are generally seen as “convenience borrowings” caused by “the need for new words to denote new concepts and objects” or for other “more specific, culture-related” reasons (Stålhammer, 2004, p. 85). Due to globalization and the function of English as a global language, new Anglicisms appear in world languages on a daily basis (Naydenova & Taneva, 2019). Anglicisms may sometimes have an effect not only on the lexical, but also on the morpho-syntactic structure of language. For example, the English suffix -s has spread in Norwegian (Andersen & Graedler, 2020), and -er in Spanish (Roig-Marín, 2017).

2Anglicisms are perhaps one of the most controversial and debatable areas of linguistics, as multiple concerns have been raised over them in “a manifestation of linguistic purism” (Weston, 2017, p. 89). For example, Anglicisms have been reported to create communication barriers (Firica, 2017). They have been described by means of metaphors related to violence (Hilton, 2021; Gazzardi & Vasquez, 2020; Naydenova & Taneva, 2019, p. 589) or diseases (Castellani, 1987). The reasons for the above opinions include politicization of language attitudes, whereby the spread of Anglicisms is associated with “the hegemonic status of English, and Anglo-American cultural influences” (Weston, 2017, p. 88) as well as with “multinational companies” (Naydenova & Taneva, 2019, p. 589).

3To respond to these puristic attitudes, it is important to point out that “Anglicisms are not merely vehicles of some Anglo-American mental imperialism; they are the offspring of other languages’ voluntary intercourse with English” (Gottlieb 2020, p. 45). In fact, multiple positive functions of Anglicisms have been identified in research. For example, in the German context, Anglicisms have been described as “establishing or enhancing precision”, “producing vividness”, and “creating or increasing variation of expression” (Galinsky, 1967, p. 71, cf. Onysko & Winter-Froemel, 2011, p. 1550). “The borrowings of vocabulary from one language to another is as old as antiquity,” and so are debates about the social and cultural impacts of this phenomenon (Weston, 2017, p. 89). Any loanword in any language is simply a manifestation of language change. Young generations world-wide seem to be harbingers and supporters of Anglicisms (Luján-García, 2017), which is not surprising as language change is almost always initiated by youths (Holmes, 2013).

1.2. Anglicisms in Standard Russian

4In Standard Russian (StR), Anglicisms have been a subject of multiple studies (e.g. Akishev, 2021; Starchikova et al., 2019; Loshakova & Pavlenko, 2019). From its early history, Russian has been borrowing vocabulary from the languages it came in contact with, such as Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric, Turkic languages, and Greek. Latinisms were also widely borrowed through other European languages, and also directly from Latin translations (Erova, 2017). The first Anglicisms appeared in the early 18th century during the reign of Peter I. They are attributed to his multiple reforms in the fields of economy, politics, education, and culture (Erova, 2017). With the development of the Russian fleet, the language borrowed many English nautical terms, such as яхта (yacht), and баржа (barge). Subsequently, the majority of borrowings came into Russian from French. However, between the 18th and the mid-20th century, a number of loanwords from English were added to the following areas–among others: society, e.g. клуб (club), лидер (leader), cuisine, e.g. кекс (cake), пудинг (pudding), lifestyle, e.g. вокзал (Vauxhall), пиджак (реа jacket), and sports, e.g. футбол (football), спорт (sport), финиш (finish) (Loshakova & Pavlenko, 2019, p. 3). In the 1980s, perestroika opened Russia to Western influences, new economic, technological, and IT developments, which brought forth a great deal of English loanwords to account for the changes taking place in society, e.g. флешка (flash-drive), риалтер (realtor). Like in many other societies, the Russian youth use Anglicisms on a large scale, and, in addition, the young generation also finds Anglicisms useful for English language acquisition (Starchikova et al., 2019).

5Some Russian scholars express their fear of Anglicisms as they “may threaten its [the Russian language] distinctive development and, ultimately, cause significant damage to the national culture as a whole” (Loshakova & Pavlenko, 2019, p. 1). Another concern is for Anglicisms potentially undermining the Russian-specific world view (Hodzhagel’diev & Shurupova, 2015, p. 64). Moreover, English loanwords have also been claimed to shatter the very foundations of the synthetic nature of Russian morphology by introducing multiple indeclinable nouns (Rochtchina, 2012), and prepositional adjectives (Marinova, 2010).

6By contrast, other scholars find that Anglicisms may add “bright expressiveness” not only to standard Russian, but even more so to slang and jargon (Prokutina et al., 2018). For instance, in music-related vocabulary, Anglicisms allegedly “contribute to the expressiveness and precision of musical reviews, enhance promotion of musical products, and become part of the unique identity that ties Russian music fans together” (Gritsenko & Aleshinskaya, 2020, p. 1). If, on the one hand, a few authors criticize the fear of foreignisms in general, and Anglicisms in particular, as a manifestation of purism (Argent, 2014; Ryazanova-Clarke, 2006a and 2006b), on the other hand, purists refer to Anglicisms and foreignisms as an “illness,” a “virus,” or an “infection” (Argent, 2014).

7In many languages Anglicisms go through a process of morphological adaptation (Pungă, 2018 on Romanian; Gazzardi & Vásquez, 2020 on Italian). For example, in Bulgarian, loanwords (including Anglicisms) “get some grammatical categories like gender, number, tense, definite or indefinite article, and thus they become an integrated part of the language” (Naydenova & Taneva, 2019, p. 590). Similarly, in Russian, Anglicisms undergo a complex morphological transformation, which, as for nouns, involves gender assignment, class, inflection paradigm, and possibly the addition of a derivational suffix. By default, a derivational suffix is added to borrowed verbs, which, as a consequence, acquire a conjugation type; they may also receive a derivational prefix or suffix to reflect aspect (Loshakova & Pavlenko, 2019, p. 4).

1.3. Doukhobor Russian and its contact with English in Canada

8This article deals with a very special case of Anglicisms that result not from the contemporary expansion of English as a global language, but from a direct language contact between a variety of Russian, known as Doukhobor Russian (DR) or Doukhoborese, and English that occurred in the first half of the 20th century. Doukhobor Russian is a near-extinct language variety spoken by Canadian Doukhobors. Doukhobors (originally Doukhobortsy) are a group of religious dissenters of Russian origin who, having been persecuted in Russia for heresy and anti-militarism, migrated to Canada in 1899 (Makarova, 2020). About 7,500 Doukhobor immigrants originally settled in the territories of contemporary Saskatchewan (and partly Manitoba). However, the government forced them to leave their allotments between 1905 and 1907. The reasons for these governmental actions were, first, the refusal of swearing an oath of allegiance to the British monarch by the Doukhobors, since swearing oaths went against their religious beliefs. The second reason for displacing Doukhobors was their desire to cultivate the land communally. Third, the government was interested in freeing the lands for more desirable settlers from Great Britain (Tarasoff, 1984). About two thirds of the Doukhobors then purchased land in British Columbia and moved there. Their history in Canada was further troubled by attempts by the government to dispossess them of their privately owned lands in British Columbia. Moreover, the authorities were taking children away from the parents of more radically minded Doukhobors known as the Sons of Freedom (Freedomites) and placing these children in a juvenile detention center in New Denver. They were kept there until the age of 15 in order to force them into monolingual English education and assimilation (Tarasoff, 1984).

9Upon their move to Canada, Doukhobors encountered a new reality that had to be reflected in their language, and this became a major motivator for adopting loanwords from English. These Anglicisms are identified and analyzed in this article for the first time.

10The first goal of the study is to identify Anglicisms in the speech of contemporary Doukhobor Russian speakers. The second goal is to single out the timeframes, types, and semantic fields of these Anglicisms. The research questions of the article are as follows: 1. How many Anglicisms are found in a sample of contemporary Doukhobor speech? 2. Which of these Anglicisms pre-date and post-date their immigration to Canada? 3. Were these Anglicisms created to denote a new concept or not? 4. What realities of life and experiences do they refer to?

2. Materials and methods

11The materials analyzed in this article come from interviews conducted by the author between 2010 and 2018 with Doukhobors fluent in Doukhobor Russian and living in Canada. Twenty interviews with highly fluent speakers of Doukhobor Russian, who neither studied nor lived in Russia for long periods of time, were selected for the current study. Six of these participants came from the province of Saskatchewan, and 14 from British Columbia. The analyzed corpus comprised a total of 25,383 words with an average of 4,075 words per participant. The transcripts of the recordings were manually analyzed to extract foreign wordforms. All the foreign wordforms including Anglicisms and the number of participants who used these forms were entered into excel charts. To identify Anglicisms among other foreignisms and to establish the time of their borrowing (pre- or post-migration to Canada), all the foreignisms were checked with the help of the following etymological dictionaries and thesauri: Dal (1880-1886), Ozhegov (1949), Shanskij (1963-2007), and Vasmer (1938-1950). English-looking lexical items, not found in the above-mentioned dictionaries, were also added to the list: such additions are based on the prior knowledge of these Anglicisms by the author accumulated over almost 15 years of Doukhobor Russian studies. It should be noted that calques were excluded from the analysis, as they were extremely rare in the sample and related to phraseological rather than one-word lexical items.

12“Making the distinction between codemixing and borrowing has preoccupied students of codeswitching since the earliest studies of language contact phenomenon” (Treffers-Daller, 1994, p. 90). At times, lexical borrowings and instances of single-word code-mixing are hard to differentiate (Cacoullos, 2012; Poplack, 2018, p. 1). Multiple criteria have been suggested to distinguish between codemixing and loans, such as a lexical gap or native synonym replacement (Treffers-Daller, 1994, p. 90), phonetic modification, frequency (Treffers-Daller, 1994, p. 57), speakers’ perceptions, degree of bilingualism (Poplack, 2018, p. 2), “cultural reference, persistence over generations, and attestation history of use” (Poplack, 2018, p. 7), morphological (Winford, 2003, p. 109) and syntactic integration (Bentahila & Davis, 1983, p. 314; Trefers-Daller, 1994, p. 143). However, some scholars claim that the proposed criteria are unreliable (e.g. Winford, 2010, p. 170). As suggested by Gardner-Choros (2010, p. 195), “there is no failsafe method of distinguishing at a synchronic level, between loans and code-switches” (or cases of code-mixing, according to the terminology adopted in this article), as borrowing is a diachronic process. Many of the criteria mentioned above were developed for diachronic studies of major national languages and are simply not applicable to a synchronic study of an earlier undescribed near-extinct variety as Doukhobor Russian.

13As mentioned by Treffers-Daller in connection with non-standard varieties, “it is very difficult to find out which borrowings are recurrent, widespread and fully accepted in a speech community, and which ones are not, since there are generally no dictionaries of the language varieties under study” (1984, p. 30). A case of a near-extinct variety makes this task even more daunting. Doukhobor Russian has no existing dictionaries, grammars, or other description or documentation outputs, and it is currently spoken only by a few remaining speakers who are all bilingual in this variety and English. Moreover, many of the interviewed DR speakers are either not literate in any Russian variety, or literate in Standard Russian, as DR had no written form, like many other vernaculars. Therefore, the operational framework adopted here implies that a borrowing from English (Anglicism) must possess the first of the following features plus one:

  1. A single word that looks and/or sounds English is embedded in a matrix Doukhobor Russian sentence.

  2. This word could be either “an imitation satisfactory to a native speaker” (Haugen, 1950, p. 20), that is a (real/true) Anglicism, or something that “a native speaker of English would not consider part of his/her own language–and would neither understand nor use” (Furiassi, 2010, p. 13), namely a false Anglicism.

  3. The word is used in the corpus of DR more than once, so as to exclude hapaxes.

  4. The word shows phonological and/or morpho-syntactic integration.

  5. The word originated when a new phenomenon was encountered by the Doukhobors while living in Canada or was already part of the DR vocabulary borrowed from English before immigration.

14The description of Anglicisms was conducted following a classification of loans into catachrestic (C) and non-catachrestic (NC) (Onysko & Winter-Froemel, 2011; Schaefer, 2019), which is a replacement of a traditional distinction between ‘necessary’ and ‘luxury’ loans (e.g. Symon, 2016). The C/NC distinction is based on “whether the concept designated by the new expression (the innovation) is already expressed by another lexical unit in the language or not” (Onysko & Winter-Froemel, 2011, p. 1554). A C loanword does not compete with a predecessor in the recipient language (RL), as the concept and the word to denote it did not exist before. NC loans appear despite the RL already having “alternative synonymous expressions” (Onysko & Winter-Froemel, 2011, p. 1554). An additional classification by semantic fields was based on Stålhammer (2004); additional semantic fields which were not found in the list included therein, e.g. society, measurement units, food, were added.

15Since Doukhobor Russian (DR) has no standardized orthography, in order to render its unique sounds by means of graphemes, transliterations close to the original pronunciation were employed rather than Standard Russian spelling. Transliteration of DR is based on the American Library of Congress, except for the use of j instead of ǐ for easier reading. DR voiced velar fricatives, non-existent in StR, are rendered by the digraph gh.

3. Results

16Out of 25,383 words total in the corpus, all the foreignisms, and all the Anglicisms in their midst were identified as follows. The number of tokens (including multiple occurrences of the same word) of foreignisms in the corpus was relatively low: 926 (4%). Anglicism tokens constituted about half of all the foreignism tokens: 486 (52%), which makes 2% of the total number of tokens in the corpus. The overall number of distinct lexemes of English origin (Anglicisms) in the sample was 144 (Ref. most frequent examples in Appendix 1, Table 1).

17Some other source languages of foreignisms include German, Dutch, Polish, and Latin. Some lexical items may prove difficult to analyze, as they sound very similar in Russian (either Doukhobor or Standard) and English, but are not in fact Anglicisms since they were borrowed into Russian and English from a common source (typically Latin). An example of a Latinism common across Russian and English is doctor, which has the archaic pronunciation dokhtar in DR and doktar in StR.

18Another source of lexical borrowings into Doukhobor Russian was Standard Russian with which DR speakers had some contact in the 20th century. Some of this contact occurred through the Doukhobor leader Peter P. Verigin (Chistiakov) who was brought up in Russia and came to Canada to assume Doukhobor leadership in 1928. According to one participant, among these words was bibliˈoteka, an evening discussion group introduced by P. P. Verigin. The word sounds similar to its StR equivalent but has a different stress placement, i.e. biblioˈteka (meaning ‘library’). In addition, a semantic shift occurred in the DR from ‘a library’ in StR to ‘a discussion or interest group’ in DR. Another confusing group of items (in terms of their origins) in DR is made of words that are similar to their English equivalents but were borrowed into both English and Standard Russian from French and brought into DR from its contact with StR, and not from English. This group includes words like komunna, komunal’nyj and konventsiia, respectively meaning ‘commune’, ‘communal’ and ‘convention’.

19The words most likely borrowed before the time of the Doukhobor arrival in Canada include a group of demonyms related to “the English”. The most frequent of them are anghlik (14 wordforms by 9 speakers) and anghlichka (3 wordforms by 2 speakers): these are specific Doukhobor forms for an English man and an English woman not used in Standard Russian. Henceforth, “wordform/s” and “speaker/s” will be referred to as wf and as sp respectively. Another infrequent wf for an English man and the English people (plural) observed in the corpus is anghlichan (close to Standard Russian anglichanin and anglichane). Several phonetic variant forms for English used as an adjective (like the English language) were produced by the participants: aghlitskij, anghlitskij, anghlijskij (compare with the Standard Russian form anglijskij). These variant forms suggest that the demonyms were not borrowed through direct contact with English. Indeed, the word Angliia was borrowed into Russian in the 18th century via Polish Anglia, from Latin Anglia, in turn going back to Old English Englisc/Angles (Vasmer, 1938-1950). The Polish word for an English person was anglik, which is also likely to have been initially borrowed into Russian and known to the Doukhobors at the time of their move, whereas in Standard Russian it subsequently developed into anglichanin (feminine anglichanka, plural anglichane) for people and anglijskij for the language. The adverb in English (pa-anghliski) is the word with the highest frequency among the Anglicisms in the sample (49 wf, 14 sp) and is fully congruent with the StR equivalent (except for the gh vs g sound difference).

20Another pre-move Anglicism in DR is the name of the musical instrument gharmon’ (3 wf, 2 sp), an accordion or harmonica, a traditional Russian instrument commonly played by the Doukhobors. The word for coffee in DR, i.e. kofij (1 wf, 1 sp), is most likely a pre-contact Anglicism because of its specific 19th century colloquial pronunciation. The word for hospital in DR was also likely brought over from Russia due to its archaic pronunciation, namely khoshpital’ alternating with more contemporary khospital’.

21According to the two major pragmatic types of Anglicisms in our sample, only 21 (15%) were non-catachrestic (NC), and 123 (85%) were catachrestic (C) borrowings. The NC ones include words that did not represent an entirely alien concept, but that had no direct equivalents in Russian, such as the noun fun. In Russian, there is a noun, i.e. vesel’e, but it means ‘joy’ or ‘good times’, and different verbs are used to describe the concept of ‘making fun of someone’, i.e. smeiat’sia, nasmekhat’sia, and ‘have fun’, i.e. veselit’sia, razvelkat’sia. In some other cases, DR borrowed an English word despite the fact that a StR equivalent had already been available in the late 19th century, but was not known by the Doukhobors, such as iksabishn (from English exhibition) instead of StR vystavka, or rejl instead of zheleznaia doroga, meaning ‘rail’. One very specific NC Anglicism is olrai (from English all right), which has a DR and StR equivalent, i.e. khorosho, meaning ‘fine’, ‘good’, ‘OK’. One can only speculate why olrai became popular with the Doukhobors: it could be a cultural fascination with a more relaxed lifestyle, when things are going to be all right as opposed to constant Doukhobor worries about daily survival, government pressures, and the details of religious doctrines. One culturally important NC Anglicism is kaal, meaning ‘call’, that relates to the military draft. As pacifists, Doukhobors strongly opposed military drafts and were penalized for this opposition during WWI and WWII. Russian words for military draft were available and used by the Doukhobors in the late 19th century, e.g. prizyv, meaning ‘call’, ‘conscription’, and bilet, meaning ‘ticket’, but the concept was ‘renamed’ in the Canadian context. Another example of a NC Anglicism is krismas (from English Christmas). A few participants referred to the event using the Russian word razhdestvo, but the original Russian nativity concept was ‘overwritten’ by the Canadian cultural context in 10 examples by 5 speakers. One highly creative form with a semantic shift is okaiannyj perets, literally ‘red pepper’, created despite the existence of a DR/StR equivalent krasnyj perec. The NC is a word play based on accidental similarities between Cayenne pepper in English and the Russian adjective okaiannyj coming from the Biblical name Cain, the alleged first murderer. This word was used to refer to the most reckless criminals. Thus, the form is a Russo-English bilingual joke exposing the ‘murderous and reckless’ nature of cayenne pepper. Another NC Anglicism is rum (from English room), whereby the StR word komnata exists and was used by five participants.

22As indicated above, an overwhelming majority of loanwords from English are catachrestic, i.e., they were borrowed to address the new concepts that appeared in the new surroundings after the Doukhobors’ move to Canada. These include, among many others, bas (from bus), basik (from bicycle), elektrika (from electricity) and farma (from farm). One of the most frequent Anglicisms in DR is kara (23 wf, 9 sp), borrowed from English car and different from the StR equivalent mashina. By contrast, mashina in DR means a large agricultural harvester or some other type of large machinery, such as a locomotive. This difference has been a notorious source of misunderstandings between Doukhobors and StR speakers. According to one participant, back in the 1980s, he was supposed to meet a distant family relative from Russia arriving in the Port of Vancouver and take him home to visit for a few days. When they met at the port, the Russian asked whether the Doukhobor host had a machina (a ‘car’ for a StR speaker) to take them home. The Doukhobor responded that he had no machina (a ‘locomotive’ or an ‘agricultural combine harvester’ in DR), and that they were to travel home by kara (which the StR speaker could not understand, as the StR homophone kara means ‘punishment’).

23As far as semantic areas are concerned, the Anglicisms in the corpus can be subdivided in the following groups (the number of lexemes is indicated in brackets).

  • Technology (41), e.g. bas (from bus), elektrika (from electricity), fridzh (from fridge), DVD, kompiuter (from computer);

  • Aspects of social life (31), e.g. deportirovat’ (from deport), klub (from club), palisman (from policeman);

  • Miscellaneous life aspects (30); it includes Anglicisms related to different religious groups (Baptist, Quaker), and various aspects of life, e.g. iksabishan (from exhibition), kommunikatsiia (from communication), lider (from leader), lanch (from lunch), millianer (from millionaire), waker (from walker);

  • Agriculture (11), e.g. farma (from farm), kambajn (from combine), tinowka (from thinning);

  • Culture (11), e.g. kavboj (from cowboy), vashrum (from washroom);

  • Units of measurement and currency (7), e.g. akr (from acre), milia (from mile), ghalan (from gallon), tsent (from cent);

  • Food (6), e.g. bort (from board): some words coming originally from other languages, e.g. bologna, salsa, spaghetti, but borrowed by DR from English are included in this group as well;

  • Ethnic groups identifiers (5), e.g. anglichan or anghlik (from Englishman), pa-anghlitski (meaning ‘in English’);

  • Sports (2): bejsbol (from baseball), and haki (from hockey).

24Of the above groups, technology, social life and miscellaneous life aspects are the most prolific ones. The word bort, included within the semantic field of food, is an interesting example, which is not comprehensible to either an English or a Russian-speaking reader. It is employed 13 times by 2 participants in the corpus, and its meaning is ‘daily food’. Inquiries conducted by the author with two community elders yielded an explanation that the word originated most likely from the early-20th-century Room and Board signs, where board, via a semantic shift, was reconsidered as referring to food in general. The DR Anglicisms tinowka (N) and tinowat’ (V) came from the English agricultural term to thin, which relates to cutting and discarding smaller new apples on apple trees. It is worth noting the phonological restructuring of the English “th” sound into DR “t” as well as the addition of a derivational and an inflectional suffix to convert the English word into a DR noun and a DR verb respectively.

25To summarize, there are three waves of Anglicisms in DR. The first wave (pre-move) was weak and only included five demonyms. The second highly productive wave contained mostly catachrestic Anglicisms reflecting life in the new country after the move. The third wave incorporated a few late-20th-century or contemporary technical or IT words. It should also be noted that in terms of language contact typology (Furiassi, 2010, p. 75), all the Anglicisms identified in this study are direct type.

4. Discussion

26As anticipated, the task of identifying Anglicisms in Doukhobor Russian is complicated for a number of reasons. Most of these reasons are common to other languages. For example, the very concept of Anglicism is rather questionable, because English itself has experienced so much contact with French after the Norman conquest that, according to Yurtbasi (2015), its vocabulary is about 28% French. Another common problem identified in earlier studies relates to differentiating between borrowing and code-mixing. As was noted for Apache-English bilinguals, some topics are more easily discussed in English and some in Apache (Liebe-Harkort, 1979). The same is true for Doukhobors, as the participants were comfortable discussing their childhood and families in DR and made almost no code-mixing talking about the past, but often employed code-mixing between DR and English when talking about the present.

27Some more specific challenges in the DR situation relate, first, to emotive attitudes connected with Anglicisms. While Anglicisms can cause a whole range of emotional attitudes among speakers of different languages (as shown in the Introduction), Doukhobors felt a specific emotive impact. DR speech was ridiculed by StR speakers partly because the DR Anglicisms were perceived to be ‘wrong’ as they differed from corresponding words in StR. As one DR speaker recalled, when she worked in a major Canadian university as an administrative support employee, she was called into the office of a StR speaking instructor only to be ridiculed for her ‘wrong’ word use: “Kara is a punishment, not a car”. As a former K-12 Doukhobor teacher of Russian noted, she was advising her students to keep some ‘wrong’ words for communication with grandparents at home, and use the ‘right’ (StR) words in class:

A ia ghavariu, znajte, èta nichjavo, vy s babushkami, s dedushkami patribliajti èti slava. Patamu shta ani … kaghda prishli u Kanadu, ani ni znali isho kakoe slova patribljat’: fridge – ani tak i nazvali fridzh, ni khaladil’nik, car – kara, i vot tak … Ja ghriu: kharasho, vy èta ghavariti, a f klase my budim izuchjat’ pravilnyje slava nekataryje.

And I say, you know, it’s OK, you can use those words with your grandmas and grandpas. Because when they …came to Canada, they did not know which words to use: fridge–they called it fridzh, not holodil’nik [a StR word for fridge], car–kara, and so on… I say: good, you say those, but in class, we will learn some correct words.

28The second idiosyncratic difficulty of classifying Anglicisms in DR relates to the language contact with StR in the 20th century and low Russian literacy levels of Spirit Wrestlers before their immigration. Therefore, it is not clear whether some words such as universitet (from university) were already known to the DR speakers at the time of their move to Canada, or whether they were borrowed during the contact with English in immigration. Third, due to the contact with StR in the 20th century, some words could have been borrowed into DR either from StR or from English, and their origins are therefore not clear, e.g. deklaratsiia: (from declaration), komunna (from commune). The exploration of additional sources (Verigin, 1923) shows that the word komunna was not used before and immediately after the time of the Doukhobor resettlement as the word obshchina (the word for commune of Russian origin) was employed instead. However, this raises the question whether the word komunna was borrowed from StR or from English.

29Just as in many other inflectional languages (Gazzardi & Vásquez, 2020), including Standard Russian (Loshakova & Pavlenko, 2019), borrowed Anglicisms adapt to the morphological structure of the recipient language. For example, the loanword farma was found in the singular in the nominative (farma), dative/prepositional (farme), and accusative (farmu) case; and in the plural in both the nominative (farma) and prepositional (farmakh) case. The En. stem farm, was also used to produce the following derivatives: farmal’, farmer (En. farmer), farmavat’ (En. to farm), farmal’skij (En. farming [adjective]), and farmerstva (En. farming [noun]). It should be noted that Anglicisms borrowed in the early 20th century yielded derivational forms and were phonetically fully adapted. By contrast, modern Anglicisms are typically not very productive and have a somewhat lower degree of adaptation–although they are still adapted in some cases, e.g. nominative waker but dative wakeru (from walker), nominative utub but prepositional utube (from youtube). The loss of derivation and the decrease of adaptation processes seem to be connected with language attrition and (eventually) death (e.g. Cook, 1995).

30This language contact situation may suggest that the dominant language (English in this case) would become the major lexifier (Michaelis, 2008). However, the concepts of “lexifier” and “superstratum” in general have been mostly associated with European colonialism and the gradual replacement of the local languages with those spoken by colonizers (Selbach, 2008, p. 2). Although the analyzed sample of Doukhobor Russian contains 144 English loanwords, English cannot be considered the lexifier as the total amount of Anglicisms in the sample does not exceed 4%. By comparison, an analysis of a randomly selected sample of a contemporary StR media text of 1,179 words (Nikiforova, 2022) showed that it contained 107 Anglicisms, i.e. 9%, a percentage that is twice as high as the Doukhobor sample. Doukhobor Russian is therefore neither a creole nor mixed language; it is a unique variety of Russian with a significant number of loanwords from English due to language contact.

5. Conclusion

31While some scholars might be worried about Anglicisms ‘taking over’ a given national language, other researchers consider Anglicisms to be a way to enrich the recipient language (Furiassi, 2010, p. 64), even though language contact inevitably leads to language change (Bonnici, 2007, p. 471). After having described Anglicisms in Doukhobor Russian, a near-extinct language variety spoken in British Columbia and Saskatchewan (Canada), the results of the analysis demonstrate that Anglicisms constitute about half of the foreignisms in DR: only a small part of them was borrowed before immigration to Canada, while the majority of Anglicisms came into DR through direct contact with English. Most of these Anglicisms appeared to refer to new concepts that the Doukhobors encountered in their new home country. The semantic areas where Anglicisms are most evident are technology, aspects of social life, miscellaneous aspects of life, agriculture, culture, units of measurement, food, ethnic group identifiers, and sports. Only ethnic group identifiers (demonyms) were borrowed prior to DR-English language contact. Some early 20th-century Anglicisms yielded derivative forms, but derivation decreased in modern times due to language attrition. Nonetheless, active derivation processes involving Anglicisms continue in Standard Russian (Nefedova, 2017).

32This article is the very first attempt at providing a lexicological description of Doukhobor Russian conversational vocabulary and assessing the role of Anglicisms, and of borrowings from other languages in it. The Doukhobor Russian example discussed herein definitely opens a methodological discussion about how Anglicisms (and other borrowings) should be approached and studied in the context of highly endangered and near-extinct languages with no pre-existing dictionaries or diachronic descriptions.