Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 № 1

Linguistics in the 21st Century: Problems, Prospects, and Growth Points

Abstract

This paper considers four problems that are most likely to affect the future development of linguistics: 1) linguistic diversity; 2) the text/system interpretation of language; 3) the role of quantitative methods; 4) the role of diachronic analysis. The author concludes that systemic, static, synchronic, qualitative linguistics is replaced by linguistics of variability, which is asystemic and oriented towards quantitative approaches, diachrony, and maximum linguistic diversity.

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RUSSIAN STUDIES ACROSS THE GLOBE

«Which Side are You on, Boy?» Roman Jakobson in the Interwar Pragu

Abstract

The author describes the private life of Roman Jakobson between 1920 and 1939 when he lived in the former Czechoslovakia, first as a Soviet diplomat and later as a scholar caught in a thick web of political intrigues. Using archival documents, the author illustrates Roman Jakobson’s complex and often contradictory relations with the trio of political institutions within whose orbits he was moving: 1) the Ministry of Interior; 2) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 3) and the Soviet Red Cross Mission/Political Representation in Prague. The reader is invited to assess Jakobson’s loyalties: whether to concur with Georgii Chicherin’s opinion that Jakobson is perhaps “an unreliable but absolutely indispensable” because, as the chief of the Soviet delegation, Antonov-Ovseenko, put it, “a good half of our information comes from him,” or to give credence to the Prague Police Directorate’s portrayal of Jakobson as the resident of “the Third International… charged… with a political mission,” or to accept as fact a testimonial letter by the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to which Jakobson not only “wished to help our nation and did help” but “will be able to render very good services to our state also in the future.”

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The Conjunction Functions of the Particle tolko: A Conjunction Particle vs a Conjunction Analogue

Abstract

This article considers the conjunction functions of the logical and modal particle tolko. A study into the functioning of logical and modal particles led the author to identify the basic syntactic positions that determine the functional and grammatical status of the lexical units studied: the particle, the conjunction particle, and the conjunction analogue. The conjunction behaviour of a particle can be manifested to a greater or lesser degree. The particle/conjunction relation forms a gradient. In an utterance, the lexeme studied fulfils either the primary function of a logical and modal particle or the secondary one of a conjunction. In the latter case, the lexeme becomes a conjunction particle or a conjunction analogue. The author proposes a new method for differentiating between a conjunction particle and a conjunction conjunctive. The analysis of the functions of the lexeme tolko (without considering the temporal meanings) revealed an interesting pattern. The lexeme’s functional semantics of the connector stems from four potential meanings — restrictiveness, adversativeness, concessiveness, and resultativeness. The author identifies the following variants of the lexeme tolko — an adversative- restrictive conjunction particle, an adversative-concessive conjunction analogue, a concessive- resultative conjunction analogue, and a conjunction analogue conveying the meaning of the total result. All these variants have semantic and constructive subtypes.

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Competition and Interaction between Languages: A Sociolinguistic Approach

Abstract

The author offers a review of M. J.Tagaev's monograph "Dialogue of Languages and Cultures" (the functioning and interaction of cultural and linguistic spaces of the Kyrgyz and Russian languages). Bishkek: Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University Publishing House, 2015. 240 p. The reviewer notes the acute character of the problem, typical of the post-Soviet states and analyzes the functioning of the state and official languages in Kyrgyzstan.

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WORD AND DEED: LANGUAGE AND DISCOURSE

Transformations in the Communicative Characteristics of Political Discourse in the Current Information Space

Abstract

The article analyses the main causes and the genesis of transformations in political discourse (PD) and provides a comparative analysis of the present and earlier forms of PD. The author examines the ontology and principal characteristics of PD, describes the state of political discourse prior to its current transformation and identifies the key problems and actual results of political communication in modern society. Considering the rise of populism, the author stresses that the current problems stem from changes in communicative interactions caused by the emergence of new information technologies. Special emphasis is placed on the formation of public space as the only realm where political discourse is produced legitimately. Another focus is the current ‘conflict of interpretations’ in regard to the markers and symbols of political language. To identify the metamorphoses of PD and to understand their genesis, the author investigates the main features of and transformations in the cognitive mechanism of PD and traces the emergence of the isomorphism of semiotic systems characteristic of politics/authorities and mass culture. These processes cause the semantic space of PD to embrace mass culture referents.

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The Late Poetry of A. Bashlachev: Changes in Performance and New Meanings

Abstract

This article investigates variations in a synthetic text manifested in word, sound, and performance. Based on earlier literary studies of the synthetic art phenomenon and its relevant methods, the authors set a theoretical and analytical framework for this research. The object of the study is verbal and musical subtexts, each performing a meaning-construction function. The difference between the performed and written texts is significant from the perspective of the capacities of meanings. However, the performed and written variants of the same text are equivalent. The study of variations in A. Bashlachev’s texts is based on comparison and meaning-based correlation between subtexts. The article examines A. Bashlachev’s late works linked by the cross-cutting theme of poetry and the Poet. A. Bashlachev’s vision of the Poet’s mission and life tragedy and an inevitable conflict between the Poet, on the one hand, and the authorities and the crowd, on the other. Ideational components set a framework for a correlation analysis of variations in A. Bashlachev’s texts. The authors compare Bashlachev’s late written texts and their performed variants. The authors identify deviations from the written texts — syntactically unmotivated pauses, pause reductions, onomatopoeia, pronunciation irregularities, inclusion of new words and interjections, and rearrangement of fragments. Each deviation produces an additional meaning. As a performer, A. Bashlachev alters the original text at the level of the verbal and musical subtexts to bring to the surface its implicit content. It affects the perception of meaning by the recipient. Deviations often introduce significant changes to the original text and make it more pungent and dramatic to emphasise the tragedy of the Poet.

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Linguistic Means Expressing Argumentation in Judicial Discourse late 19th: The Prosecutor’s Speech in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

Abstract

This article analyses linguistic means of expressing argumentation in judicial discourse as used in the prosecutor’s speech in F. M. Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The author identifies logical and psychological types of argumentation characteristic of the 19th-century courtroom speeches. Such speeches use a complex structure of theses and arguments and employ various pragmatic and rhetorical means and devices alongside compound and complex sentences. The force of persuasion of the prosecutor’s speech depends on its emotional effect on the jury. The author concludes that the distinctive characteristics of speeches delivered to present arguments in court stem from the institutional nature of this type of discourse and the use of specific linguistic means. When employing pragmatic and logical and rhetorical linguistic means, it is necessary to follow the rules of usage and consider the suitability of such means. An excessive use of rhetorical devices leads to unintended communicative mistakes and may cause a communicative failure. In a work of fiction, such a use of a linguistic means can contribute to the overall aesthetic effect as well as to the compositional, cognitive, logical, illocutive, expressive, and pragmatic expressiveness of the narrative.

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The Art of «Leftist Obscenity» as a Way to Discredit the Imperial Regime: the Works of Eisenstien, Babel, and Lunacharsky

Abstract

This study deals with the method of ‘leftist obscenity,’ which emerged within left art in the early Soviet period. The article aims to define this method, describe its procedures, and identify the purpose it served at the time. The author assumes that ‘leftist obscenity’ arose within pro-Soviet art, when the Soviet government was seeking legitimation, which was impossible without discrediting the imperial regime. ‘Leftist obscenity’ was intended to discredit the imperial regime and to give a new perspective on the imperial heritage. The method aimed to diminish and ridicule that heritage. This was achieved by causing ‘high’ (objects of religious worship or imperial power) and ‘low’ (objects relating physiological processes or sexuality) phenomena to collide within the same space or image. This article provides a definition of ‘leftist obscenity’, traces the emergence of the phenomenon, and analyses S. Eisenstein’s film ‘October’, A. Lunacharsky’s essay ‘Why we guard the palaces of the Romanovs (travel impressions)’, and I. Babel’s short story ‘The Road.’ The analysis of these works shows how the method of ‘leftist obscenity’ was employed in practice and leads to the conclusion that the method worked by producing a comic effect, which is easily communicated to the modern reader or the viewer.

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ACADEMIA

The 2nd Research Workshop «Hagiography in Russian Cultural Space»

Abstract

This article is a review of the 2nd research workshop ‘Hagiography in Russian cultural space,’ which was held on October 9—10, 2017, at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. The author defines the scope of Russian hagiography studies, identifies key problems discussed, and outlines prospects for further research.

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