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According to the schema theory of reading, previously acquired information (or background

knowledge) that readers hold is embodied and stored in mental structures called schemata. In

connected speech, the speaker/writer can omit certain elements that the listener/reader can infer. This is

accomplished by relying on their shared knowledge of schemata. It is a lack of mutually shared

schemata that may cause a non-native reader's failure to comprehend a text.

The concept of cultural literacy emerged in the USA in the late 1980s, building upon and

extending the schema theory. Cultural literacy is defined as the common stock of relevant background

knowledge of people, places, sayings, events and ideas broadly shared by all the literate members of a

speech community. This core information, which is part of a national cultural heritage, makes that

culture unique.

It can thus be concluded that the very fact that SCC of the Russian language is linked to shared

BK reflects a generic aspect of SCC. The specific “content” of the BK repository of the Russian

Language, however, the classification of BK, and the greater emphasis of certain areas of BK are

language-specific and cannot be directly transferred to other languages. For example, religious BK may

not be as relevant for modern Russian as it is for Arabic and Spanish.9

Let us examine the generic and language-specific aspects of SLC of the Russian language. As

mentioned above, the Russian Sociolinguistic Workbook first of all subdivides Russian into literary

(standard) and non-literary (non-standard) language. Within standard Russian, we identify a number of

functional styles, registers and genres. We classify and examine identifying characteristics of each.

Within non-standard or non- literary language, we delineate identifying characteristics of professional

Hirsch, E. D. Jr. Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.


We should rather say that religious BK is not particularly relevant for analyzed corpus of language examples.


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