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Polemics without Polemics: Myxajlo Andrella in Ruthenian (Ukrainian) Literary Space



A prominent Orthodox polemist of the 17th – early 18th cc., Myxajlo Andrella’s style and language were not representative of the heterogeneous culture in Transcarpathian Rus’ only. The author maintains that Andrella’s script- and language-switching, chaotic as it may appear, is basically identical with that in the works of Berynda, Vysens’kyj, and other Ruthenian authors who as multilingual speakers were likely to spontaneously mix words or phrases. The author argues that, both in form and language, Andrella’s writings were rooted not so much in the Galician cultural and literary tradition as in the Ruthenian cultural model of the 17th c.
... At first sight, neither the first scenario of pattern replication nor the second one of matter borrowing can be dismissed since the sociolinguistic situation in Transcarpathia was more than opportune to long interactions between different languages. In fact, for centuries the region has been favoring pluralism and multiculturalism, showing a mixed discourse of languages and scripts, where Hungarian (and not German) was a language with the highest intelligibility among the non-native languages spoken in this region (Danylenko 2008(Danylenko , 2009). This is why the emergence of the CIP in Transcarpathian Ukrainian either via pattern replication or matter borrowing, based on the notion of a model and a replica language, is not hard to link directly with the multiple causation brought about by heavy multilingual contacts. ...
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This article critically assesses probabilistic predictions on the theory of contact-induced grammaticalization of the comitative-instrumental polysemy in those Slavic languages which have had a history of long and intense interaction with either German or Italian. Having provided extensive dialectal data, I argue instead that there are no grounds for positing a direct correlation between the introduction of the comitative preposition to instrumental in “high-contact” Slavic languages and the history of language contact with German or Italian. I propose to distinguish between the grammaticalization of the comitative-instrumental polysemy due to analytic simplification and the grammaticalization of the instrumental-comitative polysemy due to synthetic simplification. The comitative marking for instrumentals in Slavic is likely to develop in places of prolonged multilingual contacts, not necessarily with German or Italian. Under these conditions one can predict the development of convergent analytic features in closely related or even areally contingent languages (dialects), as is the case of the Circum-Baltic area.
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There are several concepts in Ukrainian sociolinguistics that seem to be better off classified as spooky, scary terms. Among them are iazychie and surzhyk1 referring to linguistic hybrids routinely castigated in both public and scholarly discourse in today’s Ukraine. To take iazychie as defined in the Encyclopedia of the Ukrainian Language, published by the O. Potebnia Institute of Linguistics jointly with the Institute of the Ukrainian Language of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, it is conceived of as ‘an artificial bookish language’, based on Old Church Slavonic and western Ukrainian dialects. At the time of the formation of literary Ukrainian on vernacular foundations in the nineteenth century, the use of this mix was allegedly anachronistic, thus hindering the development of language norms (Muromtseva 2000: 745). The term surzhyk refers to modern vernacular Ukrainian, permeated with ‘unmotivated’ Russian elements (borrowed as a result of heavy Ukrainian-Russian interference); to fight against this mix might be one of the major goals in the fostering of the norms of the Ukrainian language (Lenets’ 2000: 616).
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A variety of names are traditionally used to refer to the literary language as cultivated by the Belarusians and Ukrainians in the late Middle Ages. It is maintained that the emergence of the term prostaja mova/prostyj jazykъ was brought about by the (German) Reformation in the Polish Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Based on a comparative analysis of the names of the prostaja mova attested in Ruthenian, Polish, and Lithuanian writings, the author surmises that the coinage and the use of the corresponding terms was primarily determined by the revival of the indigenous “linguistic democratism” dating back to the time of Constantine and Methodius.
The Subcarpathian Rusyns are an east Slavic people who live along the southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains where the borders of Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland meet. Through centuries of oppression under the Austro-Hungarian and Soviet empires, they have struggled to preserve their culture and identity. Rusyn literature, reflecting various national influences and written in several linguistic variants, has historically been a response to social conditions, an affirmation of identity, and a strategy to ensure national survival. In this first English-language study of Rusyn literature, Elaine Rusinko looks at the literary history of Subcarpathia from the perspective of cultural studies and postcolonial theory, presenting Rusyn literature as a process of continual negotiation among states, religions, and languages, resulting in a characteristic hybridity that has made it difficult to classify Rusyn literature in traditional literary scholarship. Rusinko traces Rusyn literature from its emergence in the sixteenth century, through the national awakening of the mid-nineteenth century and its struggle for survival under Hungarian oppression, to its renaissance in inter-war Czechoslovakia. She argues that Rusyn literature provides an acute illustration of the constructedness of national identity, and has prefigured international postmodern culture with its emphasis on border-crossings, intersecting influences, and liminal spaces. With extracts from Rusyn texts never before available in English, Rusinko’s study creates an entirely new perspective on Rusyn literature that rescues it from the clichés of Soviet dominated critical theory and makes an important contribution to Slavic studies in particular and post-colonial critical studies in general.
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