“Tozherossiyane”. Who are they?
Recently, in the Russian virtual media space there has been a sharp increase in the number of ethno-labeled texts with the term “tozherossiyane” and other expressive ethnonyms that serve as original tools of hate speech. Despite numerous manifestations of national intolerance, which are reflected in the language, this problem still does not find adequate coverage in national linguistics. Regularly emerging new ethno-labeled lexemes are simply ignored and are not included in the National Corpus of the Russian language and slang dictionaries. Solving such problems determines the relevance of our research. In this paper, we have attempted to uncover the linguistic essence of the term “tozherossiyane”, to describe its etymology and sociopragmatic potential, to identify the expressive ethnonyms covered by this term, and to reveal the stereotypes associated with them. In the course of the study, we selected and analyzed several hundred ethno-labeled media texts that appeared in social networks, Internet portals, blogs, and forums in the past 5 years. Through a whole range of methods, we have established that the term “tozherossiyane” has now become an expressive ethnonym, used mainly in relation to people from the Caucasus and Central Asia. The term possesses all the features inherent in the ethnic nickname: common usage, relative stability, expressiveness and emotionality. Based on the analysis of more than 60 ethnic nicknames identified in modern media texts, drawing on the experience we obtained in the course of studying ethnic nicknames used in relation to Ukrainians and Russians, we have created an onomasiological portrait of a typical “tozherossiyanin”. The results will form the basis for further research in the field of expressive ethnonyms used in relation to representatives of various ethnic groups inhabiting the post-Soviet space, and will also promote the idea of their timely inclusion in language corpora and slang dictionaries.