2019. № 2 (20), 159-171

The Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Science 


This article examines relationships between belief, culture and language based on data from three Russian confessional groups: Old Believers, Molokans and Doukhobors. The paper analyzes the types of linguistic and, to some extent, speech stereotypes that express significant religious and cultural concepts. “Confessional world” is defined as “a system of confessional values with the associated sets of rules and restrictions that resulted from merging of the corresponding religious doctrine and cultural traditions; as well as the society that exists according to the rules of this system”.

The language of the confessional world is a part of the Russian language within these societies, but is a highly significant and important part. Examples of types and forms of proper names are examined and analyzed as binding links of a confessional society. Some morphological and syntactic neologisms have been created to denote confessional meanings (isprava, dobraja chashka with Priestess Old Believers; skazitel’, otkrysha, psalom s ramkoj with Molokans, etc.) that became stereotypes. Formulas used for greetings and ceremonial actions has also become stereotypes, as well as paroemias (proverbs and riddles); the latter barely described. The language of the confessional world is a complex subject of study, thus comparative description of different confessional worlds seems like a very promising research direction.