On the Names of Exotic Fruits: a Modern Look and Lexicographical Tradition

2020. № 2, 76-91

Anna S. Kuleva1, Anna R. Pestova2, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute
(Russian Academy of Sciences) (Russia, Moscow), an.kuleva@gmail.com1, pestova2012@gmail.com2


This paper deals with the names of exotic fruit in Russian language, their description in the dictionaries and usage by native speakers. As the result of the poll, the most relevant words of this thematic group, such as манго ‘mango’, маракуйя ‘passion fruit’, личи ‘lychee’, папайя ‘papaya’, have been determined and their spelling variants have been represented. The answers of the respondents show that the norm in this sphere is very diffuse and unstable. This is proved by a high variability of names for one exotic fruit (питахайя, питайя, питайа, сердце дракона, драконье сердце, дракон фрукт, драгонфрут, dragon fruit, красный дракон ‘dragonfruit’, or ‘pitaya’), coining names for non-existent fruit (мамайя ‘mamaya’, гуакамоле ‘guacamole’, гуана ‘guana’) and diffi culties when choosing the right name for some fruit. The materials of the Russian National Corpus and the data of different dictionaries and encyclopedias allow us to trace the history and dynamics of these words’ usage in Russian. Besides, the article concerns the reliability of the dictionaries and social demand for them, as the poll demonstrated that the native speakers of Russian don’t often use dictionaries as a source of information about the names of new exotic fruit. They prefer to consult the Internet, mass media or marketing names instead. Although our questionnaire is preliminary, it helps us to determine the main problems in the thematic group under consideration and to outline the way of their future study.