Social stratification: from metaphor to derivation

2017. № 3 (13), 323-331

Lomonosov Moscow State University


The article deals with words that are nominations of the strata of the social hierarchy: aristocrat, master, bourgeois. Social stratification is historically changeable, nationally specific, dynamic, reflected in vocabulary, legislative documents and everyday speech. Names aristocrat, master, bourgeois. Form shifts and form positive and negative connotations..Metaphorical meanings are reflected in derivation, as all three words form abstract nouns, as far as nouns aristocrat and master form special adjectives, which behave as qualitative and are used in comparatives forms. The adjective bourgeois is also capable of forming a comparative degree. Among the derivatives of the noun bourgeois it stands out not an adjective, but a noun with a pejorative evaluation — a “bourzhuj”. Based on the analysis of the compatibility of attributive designs in the Russian National Corpus, one can describe the figurative values of social status nominations. In the case of the word aristocrat, the figurative meaning is ambivalent, denotes both positive and negative qualities, in attributive phrases shows the perceptive discrete image of the object. The word master in the transfer is associated with dislike for work and self-will, and the bourgeois with conformance, rejection of individuality and following the generally accepted patterns of behavior.