provide important clues to the contexts that provide a literary text with added significance. Writers
using allusions in a text assume that readers will recognize the reference and in some fashion apply
the extra-textual information in their interpretation of this text.
“Reading between the lines” usually applies to a text and means decoding, understanding and
interpreting any implicitly referred to information. One rich source of such information is background
knowledge that is encoded by author of a text and decoded by a reader.
In the Russian Socio-cultural Workbook, we used the following definitions and classification
of idiomatic expressions. An idiomatic expression is a fixed expression which is not created in
speech but used as a whole and functions semantically as a unit. The meaning of an idiomatic
expression cannot be deduced from the literal definitions and arrangement of its parts but refers
instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through conventional use. We agreed on the
following classification of idiomatic expressions:
Origin (Russian, borrows from other languages and cultures),
Style (conversational, bookish, stylistically neutral),
Grammar (verbal, nominal, adjectival, adverbial, conjunctional, sentence-like).
Allusions are implied or indirect references to something assumed to be known. This may include a
well-known work of literature, a historical event, a person, a place, or a work of visual or
There are two types of allusions in the Russian language: direct and transformed. A direct allusion is
identical with a referenced text or its component. A transformed allusion changes a referenced text
or its components. For example, “To be or not to be” is a direct allusion to Shakespeare’s Hamlet,
“To beat or not to beat” is an example of a transformed allusion.
We divide Russian allusions into the following classes: