Conference Presentation (paper) -

English-Russian code- mixing
in Russian ads, TV
commercials and mass -media
Dr. Irina Ustinova
Southeast Missouri State University
[email protected]
More than 500 commercials broadcast by
seven TV channels in Russia between 2001,
2003, 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and 300
ads from Russian magazines.
Nearly 80% Russian TV commercials
integrate two or more linguistic systems.
95% of these multilingual samples are in
English- Russian mix.
English- Russian mix is utilized in nearly all
structural components in the layout of Russian
ads. English dominates in 4 components: labeling
products, company name,
wrapper and logo: Samsung, Sony, Phillips;
Pepsi- Пепси, Toshiba-Тошиба;
Brand Names of Multinational
• Corporations, such as Ford Mondeo, Land Rover,
Chevrolet, Samsung, Colgate, Lipton, Secret
Safeguard, Venus, Old Spice, Tampax, Gloria
Jeans, or Orbit do not customize their messages
and send them to Russian customers unchanged,
using English and a familiar graphic form of their
company and product names.
• Allow product-name and company-name extensions
in Russian as a national language together with
two scripts, Roman and Cyrillic: Mountain Dew-
Маунтинг Дью, Coca-Cola- Кока Кола, PepsiПепси, Toshiba-Тошиба, Brook Bond-Брук-Бонд.
Brand Names of Russian
• Use English or Anglophone – sounding and looking
words and Roman script for the names of their
products, companies or labels: Proma ( for window
frames) , Botchkarev ( for beer).
• They use Cyrillic script for the names of their
products, companies or labels: Лукойл (= LukOil =
LookOil; gas company).
Name of the Company and Label in
Headers, Body-text, Slogans, and
Attention getters
Identifies the product
Makes the point of the message
Reinforces the advertising message
English-Russian Mix
Russian-English Mix in the Body
In most ads, body texts are made in Russian with a few words
, such as product names, function terms, etc inserted in
English as in TV ad: «плазменные и LCD телевизоры LG с
функцией Time Machine» (plasma and LCD TV sets LG with
the function of Time Machine).
Компания Trust начала продажи на российском рынке вебкамеры Megapixel USB2 Webcam Live WB-5400.
Kompania Trust nachala prodazhi na Rossiiskom rynke VEBkamery Megapixel US B2 Webcam Life WB05400.
Company Trust started selling on the Russian market Web-
camcorders Megapixel USB2 Webcam Live WB-5400.
Russian-English Mix in the Body
Transplanted (Romanized) English names of this type, without
translation, can make a considerable part of a Russian text:
Из новых разработок компании Wynn’s следует выделить также
специальный продукт DIP3 для двигателей с непосредственным
впрыском, разработанный для Mitsubishi GDI, Toyota SIDI,
VW/Audi/Seal/Skoda FSI, Nissan, BMW, Alta Romeo, Renault IDE.
Данные системы очень чувствительны к качеству топлива. Продукт
Wynn’s DIP3 Liguid и DIP3 Aerosol предназначены для межсервисного
использования с целью поддержания в чистоте топливных систем (AG
• Among the newly designed gadgets of Wynn’s company it is worth
highlighting a specialized product DIP3 for the engines with direct
injection, developed for Mitsubishi GDI, Toyota SIDI,
VW/Audi/Seal/Skoda FSI, Nissan, BMW, Alta Romeo, Renault IDE.
Products such as Wynn’s DIP3 Liguid and DIP3 Aerosol are intended for
the inter-service use in order to maintain the fuel systems clean.
English-Russian Mix in Slogans
• About 4 % of all the ads contain English-language
slogans. Slogan is a phrase or sentence with a
complete meaning. Usually it is a laconic structure
that may use rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, or pun
to become memorable (Local touch, Global Brand for computer “Acer”).
• Some slogans are registered trademarks; that is
why they are not translated into national
languages. Slogans like Ideas for life (Panasonic), (Sony), It’s different (Pantech),
Thinking of you (Electrolux) are well-known all
over the world.
Australia- Free –Spirited and
English-Russian Mix in CLOSING
• These structural components reinforce the
advertising message and also serve as a marker
of prestige; thus, the expensive electronic,
perfume and home appliances are targeted at
the upper-middle class Russians who are
expected to be educated and proficient in
English. 6 % of the ads contain English in
headers and closing lines: Pioneer London
(clothes store Podium), Finely Selected
Specialty Tea (tea Greenfield), etc.
Lumene: Cranberry Kiss
Correlation between the Type of
the Advertised Product and the
Language Choice
• Brand naming: English names -to advertise electronic
appliances, batteries, and snacks. Ads for cars, personal
care products, laundry and household products, clothes,
tea, coffee, and chewing gum use both languages and
scripts in naming and labeling, with approximate
proportion of English to Russian as five to one. English
and Russian appear in equal proportions in the brands of
chocolate and sweets, soft drinks, oil and dressings while
both Western and Russian products are promoted. The
majority of dairy products, national food, beer, and
medicine made in Russia have Russian brand names and
Cyrillic font.In the TV ad for the Russian national food,
pel’meni language, music and images aretypical for the
Russian folklore tales, and the colors of the Russian
national flag in the visuals add the national flavor too.
Mix of Languages and Scripts
• 1. Code-switching of Russian and
English sentences
• 2. Code-mixing of Russian and English
words or phrases within a sentence
• 3. Code-mixing of Russian and
English morphemes within a word.
Code-switching of Russian and
English Sentences
• In the commercial for the firm Zanussi, the written body
text is in Russian with the mix of the brand-name in Roman
script and the signature or closing line in a smaller font is in
Надежная бытовая техника существует. Доказано
Zanussi Nadezhnaya bytovaya tehnika suschestvuet.
Dokazano Zanussi.
exist. Proven (by)
Zanussi .
Closing line in English: From the Electrolux Group. The
World No 1. choice.
Code-mixing of the Russian and
English Phrases within a Sentence
Russian language serves as the matrix language and gives the
sentence its basic structure. The English words or phrases
are embedded into the syntactic structure of a Russian
sentence and are located in the proper places for the
corresponding parts of speech. Incidences of the English
names of product, company, or logo as a mixing element are
a dominant feature in the ads.
Скидки на телефон Benefon Dragon до 100%
Skidki na telefon
Benefon Dragon do 100%.
Discount on telephone Benefon Dragon up to 100%.
Lip Silk от
Max Factor творит чудеса
Lip Silk оt
Max Factor tvorit chudesa
Lip Silk from Max Factor makes wonders.
Code-mixing of the Russian and
English Morphemes
Russian and English mix within various parts of one and the
same word. Blending as a type of incorporation is
characteristic for the mixed words.
A word can be formed from English stem and Russian affix
TV commercial for the chocolate bar Snickers: the bar of chocolate is
offered for lunch to the wood-cutters with a message, written in Cyrillic
letters on the TV screen:
Snikers-ni !
Snikers- Imperative, 2 person, Sing.
Have Snickers!
English stem plus Russian Bound
Morpheme’ is a Productive Model
• Words, belonging to computer or business terms or slang: the
English stems such as ‘cash’, ‘brows’, ‘link’, ‘welfare’ or
abbreviations ‘PC’, ‘CD’ and the Russian morphemes produce
new words, some of them belonging to a very colloquial
register, like nouns кэшак (cash-ak: ‘cash’); писюк (pis-iuk:’
PC’); сидюк (sid-iuk: ‘CD’).
• Some phonological changes are at play here too, CD sounds as
‘sidi’, PC as ‘pisi’ : a reduction of ending vowels takes place,
and English stems ‘pis’ and ‘sid’ adds Russian inflextions:’iuk.’
• Verbs: браузить (brows -it’: ‘to browse’); кликать (klick-at’:
‘to click’), participles: слинкованный (s-link-ovannyi:
‘linked’), adjectives: велферный (welfar- nyi: adj. ‘having a
welfare’) or Shell-ковый( shell-k-ov-yi: belonging to the
Shell company).
Blended words are typical for the
‘Russian English’ of Russian
speaking immigrants
In the verb напутонили (naputonili: put on-Past Simple) the English
stem put with preposition on is combined in one word in Russian. It
is decorated with the Russian prefix на (na), characteristic for
some verbs, such as ‘надели’ (nadeli : wore, put on) and the suffix
of the past tense of the verbs л (l); In another verb, the
imperative form: наслайсте/послайсте (poslice-te/naslic-te:
slice), the English stem ‘slice’ is surrounded by the Russian verb
prefixes: на/по (na/po), the suffix of the Imperative form: й( i)
and the ending of thesecond person plural:те-(te-).
• There exist native Russian words together with the codemixed words: ‘связанный ‘(svyazanniy) and ‘слинкованный’ ( slink-ovanniy),’ бесценная’ ( bestsennaya) and ‘беспрайсовая’(
bes-price-ovaya), ‘ бродить’( brodit’) and ‘браузить’ ( browsit’), ‘надели’(nadeli) and ‘напутонили’ (naputonili).
A word formation of two stems:
Russian and English
The slogan for the commercial of a show on Russian TV Bingo
Бинго Шоу- Все
Bingo Shou- Vse
khoroshou (
Bingo Show- Everything will be
‘fine show’.
The productivity of this pattern of word formation, especially
for compound nouns: Web - страницы (Web–starnitsy :Webpages), мани-ордер ( money-order:money-order), brandname ноутбуки ( brand name noutbuki : brand-name
notebooks), кино-триллер ( kino-thriller:movie-thriller) ,
прайс-лист (price-list: price-list).
TV commercials for the stylish,
expensive, prestigious, foreign-made
cars contain language mix of Russian
and English and target successful,
affluent young people .
• The Russian ads are under the influence of the wellestablished patterns of Western, predominantly American,
advertising discourse.
• 75% of Russian TV commercials and ads employ a bilingual
• In twelve structural components in the layout of Russian ads,
English-Russian mix is present in abundance , esp. in brand
name, name of the company, logo, and attention getter.
• A certain correspondence exists between the type of the
product, and the language choice for the brand name: names
of the Western products are advertised in English, while
Russian goods employ both languages in labeling. Having in
mind the effectiveness of promotion of goods on the Russian
market, Western firms should consider the concept of
advertising as cultural communication, and not neglect the
influence of Russian culture on advertising.
• Code-mixing is a typical feature of Russian ads.

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