Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2012, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 105–114
УДК 811.111’374.8 + 391/395

Motivational types of nicknames and their linguo-cultural potential (on the example of english nicknames)

Tsepkova A. 1 (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)
1 Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University

A. V. Tsepkova (Novosibirsk, Russia)
The present paper considers motivation as the basis of national and cultural marking of nicknames. Hence the article is aimed at analyzing the main motivational patterns of nicknaming in British and American societies from the point of view of nomination mechanism as well as their linguo-cultural potential. The types of internal and external motivation distinguished in onomastic studies presuppose opposition of descriptive and non-descriptive (antroponymic) nicknames. The division is based on characterizing potential of nicknames. Characterising potential viewed as the ability to reflect the properties of a name-bearer determines linguo-cultural potential of a name, i.e. the ability to reflect objects or phenomena of culture. The results of our analysis show that national and cultural specificity is typical of descriptive nicknames, especially those representing the case of secondary nomination (Ginger < red hair). Descriptive nicknames reflect culture directly, by connecting or comparing theproperties of objects. Non-descriptive nicknames lack linguo-cultural potential on the motivational level with the exception of those created by means of proper or false (folk) etymologization of a proper name (Casper < surname Ghost). Such nicknames reflect culture indirectly, as the coincidence of a nickname with the name of some realia is accidental and based on phonetic similarities between the names of objects rather than similarities of their properties.


nickname, antroponym, motivation, nomination, linguo-cultural potential, linguoculture, etymologization, characterization.

For citation:
Tsepkova A. Motivational types of nicknames and their linguo-cultural potential (on the example of english nicknames) . Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2012, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 105–114. DOI:

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Date of the publication 30.10.2012