Grachev M.A. The Lexicographic Problems of Compiling Argot Dictionaries


Mikhail A. Grachev

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Department of Russian Philology, Foreign Literature and Cross-Cultural communication, Nizhniy Novgorod State Linguistic University after
N.A. Dobrolubov

Minin St., 31A, 603005 Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia

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Abstract. The article argues for the need to compile a new fundamental argotic dictionary on a scientific basis. Using the comparative and historical method, the paper provides the criticism of the previous lexicons reflecting the language of the criminal world. With respect to the mistakes and inaccuracies made by compilers of the available dictionaries, the author develops the principles of lexicographic representation of the Russian argot, determines the sources of the language material included in the dictionary (folklore, old Russian literature, speech of modern representatives of the criminal subculture), proposes criteria and methods of the qualifying a lexical unit as argot. The article describes the new dictionary structure that reflects complex characteristics of its constituent units (a headword with stress, reference articles, meaning interpretation, context of use, phraseological units, grammatical characteristics, etymology). It also identifies tendencies of the modern Russian argot evolution caused by the influence of changes in the Russian society in general and in the criminal world in particular, as well as the reasons for penetrating argot in the spoken language and media texts. Besides, the paper shows the possibilities of using the new qualitative linguistic dictionary to study the linguistic picture of the world of argot speakers, to form an objective evaluation of this phenomenon and to improve the speech culture of Russian society.

Key words: dictionary, argot, evolution, lexicography, jargon, the Russian language.

Citation. Grachev M.A. The Lexicographic Problems of Compiling Argot Dictionaries. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2, Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2019, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 62-73. (in Russian). DOI:

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