Please excuse the poor title :)
I think it would be nice to discuss some essentials of Russian language in order to understand why things are the way they are. I read an amazing article "Typically Russian" by Cornelia E. Keijsper today. I'm so impressed by it that I want to share the introduction of this article with you:
In her exploration of links between language and culture, Wierzbicka argues that four fundamental semantic themes shape the semantic universe of the Russian language:
“(1) Emotionality – the tremendous stress on emotions and on their free expression, the high emotional temperature of Russian discourse, the wealth of linguistic devices for signalling emotions and shades of emotions.
(2) “Irrationality” or “non-rationality” – the opposite of the so-called scientific world view officially promulgated by the Soviet regime; the stress on limitations of logical thinking, human knowledge, and human understanding, and on the mysteriousness and unpredictability of life.
(3) Non-agentivity – the feeling that human beings are not in control of their lives and that their control over events is limited; a tendency to fatalism, resignation, submissiveness; a lack of emphasis on the individual as an autonomous agent, “achiever”, and controller of events.
(4) Moral passion – the stress on the moral dimensions of human life, on the struggle between good and evil (in others and in oneself), the tendency to extreme and absolute moral judgments.”
As a Russian native speaker, I must say that all these themes are reflected in the Russain language and shape the way that Russians think.
This is very interesting! Thank you for sharing it!!
The following is my opinion and may not reflect the view of any other person from the United States. (I know very little about Russia which is one reason I am interested in learning the language - so that I can meet and correspond with native Russians. Since I know so little about your country, its people and history, I ask your forgiveness in advance if anything I say offends you or any other Russian person. In no way do I intend to be hurtful.)
Currently, the people of the United States are suffering a serious economic and financial downturn. I believe this to be more serious, psychologically, since the people here seem to have - or had, a feeling of an ability to be very much in control of their life. That is, their "free will" allowed them to overcome what might appear to be their destiny. [Of course, this does not necessarily apply to those whom we call "the homeless".] Therefore, the description of "non-agentivity" has come to a very large segment of our society leaving the spirit of many people devastated.
Where might I find the article you mention? Of course, if it is written in Russian which I infer that it is, then it will do me little good as I have only this past week committed to learning your language.
Thank you so much for sharing your opinion. This article is in English, and it is from the volume 28 of "Russian Linguistics" magazine.
I guess that only subscribers have an access to download this article. Luckily, I have it in .pdf format and I can send you (or somebody else who is interested in it) the full text via e-mail.