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Occasional complex words in the journalism of V. Nabokov

Knyazeva Natal'ya Vladimirovna

PhD in Philology

Associate professor, Department of Russian Language, Pacific National University

680000, Russia, Khabarovskii krai, g. Khabarovsk, ul. Karla Marksa, 68

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Abstract: The object of the study is the individual author's complex lexemes of V. Nabokov. The source of the language material is the author's journalistic works, which, due to the specifics of the genre, contain a large number of occasional formations of various kinds, including word-formation derivatives. Composite words are considered as a manifestation of the phenomenon of language play in the author's text, on the one hand, and as the implementation of V. Nabokov's "game style" in journalistic texts, on the other. A wide range of philological research methods were used for the objective analysis of occasionalisms: semantic-stylistic, component and contextual analysis, and an intertextual approach was also implemented as meeting the content parameters of V. Nabokov's texts as a whole. The novelty of the study lies in the fact that for the first time occasional composite words were analyzed in the framework of a multidimensional approach based on the material of V. Nabokov's journalism. As a result of the analysis, conclusions of general and particular order were drawn, namely: - the author's journalism of V. Nabokov is characterized by a deep game stylistics of texts, which is expressed, among other things, with the help of word-making; - the use of occasionalisms in journalistic texts makes it possible to actualize the author's meanings, give capacious, figurative characteristics, at the same time reflect the position of the author; - occasional composites as a result of word composition are distinguished by linguistic compression and at the same time a great semantic saturation, including connotative meanings; - in V. Nabokov's journalism, the comic often becomes ironic, even sarcastic, going beyond the comic is determined by the specifics of the style: relevance, sharpness of the subject, emphasized by the freedom of the author's self-expression; - from a semantic point of view, V. Nabokov's occasional composites have a high degree of generality, often created by the author for the nomination of typical phenomena of reality, including typical images, characters.


derivatology, word composition, complex words, composite words, occasionalism, language game, comic effect, stylistics, journalistic texts, Nabokov

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

The generally accepted classification of styles is based on extralinguistic grounds that take into account the scope of human activity and the functional purpose of texts, in particular, for the journalistic style, the main functions are the influencing and informative, for the artistic aesthetic. It should be noted that in the works of the masters of the word, which is undoubtedly V. Nabokov, strict typological boundaries of genres and styles are erased, become blurred, implicit. Moreover, it has long been known that the framework of the scientific paradigm cannot accommodate all the variety of facts of a living, developing language, and the genre specificity of some texts allows for an obviously "mixed" interpretation, for example, the Dictionary of Linguistic Terms offers such a traditional interpretation: "ESSAY [French essai experience, sketch] is a prose work of philosophical, literary, historical, journalistic or other nature, presenting the author's thoughts in an emotional, relaxed form [1, p. 469]. In fact, the genre specificity of the essay is determined by the form of presentation (emotional, relaxed, author's), which is equally characteristic of both artistic style and journalistic. The definition itself contains partly a hidden tautology ("a prose work of a literary nature"), partly the already mentioned stylistic "confusion" ("a prose work of a journalistic nature").The analysis of the dictionary entry demonstrates the "eternal" problems of the metalanguage of semantic description, however, I would like to emphasize that some texts do not have an unambiguous stylistic marking, the genre of essays that is now rarely used outside of the educational and academic environment is one of those. V. Nabokov has a number of Russian-language works of a similar style, and the genre is indicated by the author himself: "The Triumph of virtue", "What should everyone know?", "Anniversary. To the tenth anniversary of the October revolution of 1917" [2-4]. These texts, along with the author's publications in printed publications: "In Memory of Yu. I. Aichenwald" and "Chess Problems" [5-6], are a source of linguistic material for this study, all of the above are traditionally attributed to "V. Nabokov's journalism".The creative genius of V. Nabokov certainly manifested itself most vividly in fiction, but his journalistic works are of no less interest, where the author acts as a brilliant speaker, a master of the "sharp word".

Nabokov's journalism contains a clearly expressed author's position, the author's principle, manifested, among other things, in various kinds of occasional uses that "break" established language models and stereotypes. In recent decades, such facts have been attributed to the "language game", a concept that in Russian linguistics acquired a "legitimate status" in the late XX early XXI centuries. (works by E. A. Zemskaya, T. A. Gridina, V. Z. Sannikov [7-9], etc.).

The result of the language game in linguistic terms is the "strengthening of the expressiveness of speech." However, such an understanding, according to the fair remark of V.Z. Sannikov, "... is too broad. All fiction falls under it because there is no author who would not strive for greater linguistic expressiveness [9]. Therefore, another approach based on functional and pragmatic criteria is more common: a language game is recognized as something that results in a comic effect: "the type of language game that aims to create a comic effect is more definitely distinguished - a language joke" [9]. In the future, the phenomenon of language play is usually defined in this spirit: "conscious and purposeful manipulation of expressive speech resources, due to the installation on the implementation of the comic effect" [10].

In V. Nabokov's journalism, the comic often becomes ironic, even sarcastic, going beyond the comic is determined by the specifics of the style, mainly the relevance, the sharpness of the subject, the freedom of self-expression of the author. According to T. Zh. Masharipova, "... journalism is a pointed, dynamic, attractive form of material written on a topical topic ... the essence of journalism lies not only in the content itself, but also in a form intentionally highlighted, accentuated among others, shaded by special means" [11, p. 107]. Purposeful deviation from the language norm, manipulation of language resources the forms are obviously the most vivid, providing the widest opportunities for the expression of the author's idea. As a rule, we are talking about lexical and phraseological resources of the language - the most "alive", productive level of the language system for "game" purposes. Within the framework of this study, we will talk about the word-formation features of V. Nabokov's game style, which, of course, the researchers of his work did not pass by (for example, G. F. Rakhimkulova's dissertation [12]), however, the author's prose works were previously used as material for analysis, and the object was individual occasional derivatives.

A huge number of special literature is devoted to the study of V. Nabokov's prose, including English-language literature (for example, Y. Bodenstein [13], P. Tammy [14]), most of which considers problem-thematic and stylistic aspects of creativity. In such works, "game stylistics", "the predominance of form over content" are noted in various ways. "Nabokov's stylistic sophistication", "experiments on the "norm" of novel narration" [15, p. 4], etc., also speak of the "metaprosaicality" of texts and, in general, "Nabokov's metaliterature" [16], which is understood, in particular, as V. Nabokov's rejection of "social, moral andethical and religious-philosophical issues, repeatedly declared by the writer himself" [12]. In fairness, it should be noted that on these issues the writer quite clearly, even rhetorically pathos expressed in his essays, reports, etc., for example, in the essay "Anniversary (To the tenth anniversary of the October revolution of 1917)" it is explicitly stated: "I despise the communist faith as an idea of low equality, as a boring page in the festive history humanity, as a denial of earthly and unearthly beauties, as something that stupidly encroaches on my free self, as a promoter of ignorance, stupidity and complacency" [4].

V. Nabokov's journalistic texts as a whole are characterized by the "complexity of form" and the playful style of prose, the differences are mainly of a problem-thematic and stylistic nature. Linguistically, we can talk about quantitative rather than qualitative differences.: the sharpness of the problematic, the absence of a storyline, subjectivity, expression, emotionality of the author's journalism are reflected in the deepest game saturation of texts, which is expressed, among other things, with the help of word-making.

Interpreting game uses at the level of word formation, the concept of occasional is usually used: "The result of noncasual, creative word formation is occasionalism [9]". Such an approach removes the theoretical problem of distinguishing the concepts of "occasionalism", "potential word", "neologism", etc., the ratio of "occasional creative game" comes to the fore: "Occasionalisms characterize a very special aspect of language learning creative, individual, aesthetic: they realize the individual creative competence of the speaker" [17]. Indeed, the creation of a "previously nonexistent" word is an obvious manifestation of a language game - a game with word-formation models. It is obvious that we are talking not so much "about the game" as "about playing" productive affixes and ways of word formation of the literary language. The formation of a new word is certainly a creative act, but a new lexeme necessarily has "at least a vague hint of its prototype" [8, p. 131]. Occasional word formation, violating the rule of productivity, simultaneously obeys the analogy of a rule or a specific word, as E. A. Zemskaya notes: "The game word makes you laugh with its novelty, unusual" [7, p. 189].

I would like to emphasize that the comic effect is far from the only and most important result of the word-formation game in V. Nabokov's journalism. Occasional wordmaking is the result of an individual author's nomination of a denotation (or referent), which in semantic theories of language is usually understood as an object of reality. Being a manifestation of creative speech activity, occasionalism makes it possible to actualize the author's meanings, give capacious, imaginative characteristics, and at the same time reflect the author's emphatically subjective "journalistic" position, because "the emergence of journalism is an authorbiased process of turning a topic into a journalistic composition" [11, p. 107]. Often individual author's words contain the most significant meanings of the utterance, M. Epstein introduces the concept of "one word", which he understands as "the art of a single word containing a new idea or picture. Thus, the greatest is achieved... image condensation: the maximum of meaning in the minimum of linguistic material" [18].

M. Epstein's concept of "one word" perfectly reflects the essence of those occasional derivatives, which will be discussed in this paper. The analysis of individual author's words in V. Nabokov's journalism allowed us to identify a number of neoplasms constructed according to one word-formation model, namely by addition "an unaffixed way of word formation, in which word-formation formants are: 1) a stable order of components; 2) a tendency to a single accent: southwest" [1, p. 340]. Such a method of word formation is quite productive in modern language, especially in the language of advertising and media space, it reflects the growth of agglutinative features characteristic of Russian word formation (noted at the time by M. V. Panov), as a result, a complex word or composite appears. Addition has several varieties, in the texts of V. Nabokov, a predominantly composite method is presented, consisting in the addition of significant words without the help of an interfix, built on a word-formation model: noun + noun, such as simpleton-beginner. Two occasional composite adjectives formed with the help of an interfix, such as shabby-intricate, are marked. For the graphic and spelling design of occasional complex lexemes, V. Nabokov always chooses one option for both substantials and attributes: combining alphabetic characters into one whole using the "hyphen" sign, which, in contrast to the "dash", is a connecting sign, but emphasizes the separateness of the lexemes, unlike the "contact".

Explaining the productivity of composite neologisms in modern Russian, H. A. Yanko-Trinitskaya points out that they "meet nominative and communicative tasks to a greater extent due to the compressiveness of forms, clarity of semantics and ease of its perception, as well as expressive and emotional characteristics" [19, p. 259]. Linguistic compression and at the same time great semantic saturation, including connotative meanings, distinguishes V. Nabokov's occasional composites. For an objective analysis of such neoplasms, it is necessary to use a wide range of philological research methods: semantic-stylistic, component and contextual analysis, as well as an intertextual approach.

The greatest semantic capacity in combination with subjective authorial intentions distinguishes, in our opinion, complex authorial neoplasms of the simpleton-novice type. In "Chess Problems" V. Nabokov, trying to explain "my best work" to a "reader who does not know chess", writes: "My task was addressed to a sophisticated sage. A novice simpleton would not have noticed her pointe shoes at all and would have found her solution pretty soon, bypassing those intricate torments that an experienced smart guy expected in her ...". The obvious mockery of the sophisticated sage is played out through the juxtaposition of a novice simpleton and an experienced smart guy. By adding two substances formed from adjectives, an occasional composite is created that defines the image of a simple-minded inexperienced player who can quickly solve a problem, unlike an "experienced smart guy" with his "intricate torments".

In V. Nabokov's journalistic texts, the "game vocabulary" characterizes the object of the author's mocking arguments in the most striking way, for example, in the essay "Jubilee" an unattractive image of the country left by V. Nabokov is created: "They say Russia has become stupid; and no wonder... It all blurred into a provincial wilderness with a local lion-accountant, with young ladies reading Verbitskaya and Seifullina, with a shabby-intricate theater, with a drunken peaceful peasant sitting in the middle of a dusty street,"including due to the author's neoplasms, a local lion-accountant, a shabby-intricate theater. The comic effect (rather ironic, even satirical) is created in the traditional way: the juxtaposition in the immediate context of the opposite from a semantic and stylistic point of view, another thing is that in Nabokov's interpretation we are talking about the closest rapprochement, the result of which is a new word-composite. In the complex nomination of the local lion-accountant, the figurative meaning of the word lion in the ironic context of the secular lion, which is now defined as obsolete, is played out: "LEV 2. Outdated. and iron. About a man, a trendsetter and the rules of secular behavior, enjoying great success with women" [20]. The reference to the "prosaic" kind of activity of the provincial lovelace accountant and the replacement of the component of a stable combination (secular with local) strengthen the ironic connotations to satire.

The occasional attribute of shabby-intricate with the defined noun theater gives a pejorative characterization of the scenic art of "Bolshevik Russia" in accordance with the contextual content of the entire utterance. An attributive composite is formed by combining two words opposite in semantics: "POOR 1. Extremely poor, beggarly. A squalid dwelling. Poor imagination (peren.)"; "INTRICATE Whimsical, intricate. Intricate decoration" [21]. In one nomination there is a merger of lexemes, which in another "nongaming" context should be used as antonyms, but here we are talking about some kind of external intricacy that covers the substantial squalor of the "provincial wilderness".

Occasional composite adjectives are less common, in addition to the above, only one thing is noticed in the article "In Memory of Yu. I. Aichenwald", where the image of a departed "gentle person" is created very artistically, emotionally and touchingly. V. Nabokov conveys the "bewilderment, absurdity, the feeling of some amazing inner discrepancy" of a person who is faced with the death of a loved one through a comparison of the image of a person who continues to live in the author's memory and the obituary: "... and in the title of the obituary, destroying everything human, everyday, habitual-sound, a lie is seen." The attribute series includes an interesting, but obscure occasional adjective of the usual sound, which becomes clear from the context: "... the image of the person we loved ... continues, of course, to live, his name, as yesterday, is full of life, lips pronounce it as alive ...". With one occasional word, V. Nabokov creates a kind of "articulatory-acoustic", piercing image of the "living" name of a deceased person. In our opinion, a filigree example of "one-word".

In the essay "What should everyone know?", ironizing (and rather harshly) over the popular "trends of the era" at that time, in particular Freudianism, V. Nabokov uses complex lexemes with the component complex: This boy, this pure and honest young man, to whom his father (a stupid routine) refuses to satisfy a natural passion, or he will conceal his passion and will be unhappy all his life (Tantalus-complex), or he will kill his father (penal servitude-complex), or, finally, he will fulfill his desire, no matter what (happy marriage-complex), simultaneously "inventing" the conceptual apparatus of psychoanalysis. Moreover, the composition of the composites includes both individual word forms, including foreign language vocabulary of mythological content, and a stable combination of "happy marriage", which in the context acquire special "double" meanings, and in the case of the formation of a "penal servitude complex" after the murder of his father - a clear comic effect. Continuing to reveal the "essence of the doctrine of complexes", V. Nabokov suggests a term for a kind of horror caused by a meeting with a tiger in the forest (respectively, having a child's fear of "tiger skin under my mother's piano") horror tigris. In this case, the use of English is noteworthy, which is quite natural for V. Nabokov, however, in Russian-language journalism, English-language lexemes occur as separate inclusions. The facts of a single use of the English language and, accordingly, another font (Latin alphabet) only emphasize the uniqueness and game style of V. Nabokov's occasional terminology, which is created to express obvious ridicule.

In the final of the essay, V. Nabokov places another complex substantive man-modern, which is located in the last paragraph, created according to the standards of the advertising text, with a direct appeal to the addressee: "Whatever you do, whatever you think, remember Use our patented remedy "Freudianism for everyone", and you will be satisfied ... The action is instant and pleasant. Every modernist person should stock up on this. High, interesting! Amazingly cheap!". The addressee, as follows from the context, is the "modern man". The nomination "one word", which is complex in its content, characterizes a whole class of people, defines the time and type of the epoch - the "man of the modernist era". Despite the semantic and stylistic neutrality of the original vocabulary (man, modern), merged into a single composite, in the context of Nabokov's reasoning, they acquire connotative coloring: ironic, dismissive. This case clearly demonstrates the ability of occasional formations not only to create an image in one word, but also to express the author's intentions, assessments and feelings.

The second component of the compound word has a direct analogy with the concept of "modernism" a trend in art characterized by a break with previous historical experience and the assertion of new non-traditional forms and views. This is what the first thesis of the essay is about: "Our era, gentlemen, is an era of great upheavals, anxieties and searches. We are facing a future fraught with changes, and at the same time, like Orpheus, we must "clean out the Augur stables of the past." Traditionally, V. Nabokov is referred to the writers of the modernist trend, however, always with a reservation about uniqueness and originality: "Being a unique figure for the literature of the twentieth century, V. Nabokov synthesizes the features of modernist trends ..." [22, p. 56]; "Vladimir Nabokov is one of the most original artists of the word of modern times. Due to the uniqueness of his position in literary history, the writer ... became a link between classical realism of the XIX century and modernism of the early XX century, laid the foundations of postmodernism" [12]; V. Nabokov "synthesized discoveries made in prose and poetry of the XX century" [23, p. 853]. However, further sarcastic arguments about the "murder of old morality" and the "beautiful goddess of psychoanalysis" who replaced it, explaining "the background of our sufferings, joys and torments", reveal V. Nabokov's true attitude to such changes: irony, sarcasm, bitterness.

In the essay "The Triumph of Virtue", devoted to the review of plots and images of Soviet literature, V. Nabokov creates a complex occasionalism of a communist woman, which, unlike the above-considered author's derivative man-modern, acquires gender features and receives in the subsequent context a detailed characteristic, expressive and extremely caustic:"... a communist woman (a responsible worker or a passionate neophyte), and a good half of Soviet literature goes to depict her. This popular woman has elastic breasts, is young, cheerful, participates in processions, is strikingly able-bodied. She is a cross between a revolutionary, a sister of mercy and a provincial young lady. But above all, she is a saint. Her occasional love affairs and disappointments don't count; she has only one fiance, a class fiance Lenin." In fact, Nabokov interprets the created composite-occasionalism in the artistic style of the language game peculiar to him, which is due to the literary and critical themes of the essay. The literary image of the "communist woman" typical of that time is revealed by a number of constructions, including inset ones, including a capacious, figurative, metaphorical description, ultimately turning into mockery, contemptuous mockery. The composite itself is a suffixless addition of two words that are far from the main meaning, "brought together" by the realities of that era, which was revealed and verbally "fixed" by V. Nabokov through the creation of a complex nomination.In conclusion, I would like to note that V. Nabokov's occasional composites from a semantic point of view have a high degree of generality, conditionally "terminological in nature".

In journalistic texts, with their social "sharpness", on the one hand, and the freedom of the author's self-expression, on the other, complex neologisms are created by the author to nominate typical phenomena of reality, including typical images, characters. Although the occasional as a single and the typical as a multiple are clearly opposite, the creative genius of V. Nabokov, through a language game of the highest level, unites the incomparable into a single whole, as a result of which unique composites appear in the language, defining "eternal" types (a simpleton-a novice, a local lion-an accountant) or "heroes" of the epoch (a modern man, a communist woman).


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The article "Occasional composite words in V. Nabokov's journalism" submitted for publication in the journal "Litera" is undoubtedly relevant, due to the consideration of the specifics of the language of texts by the famous writer of the 20th century V. Nabokov, who wrote both in Russian, French and English. Today, more and more researchers are turning to the study of the work of emigrant writers. A huge number of specialized literature, including English-language literature, is devoted to the study of V. Nabokov's prose, most of them considering problem-thematic and stylistic aspects of creativity, which determines the novelty and relevance of this research. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such topics in the 21st century. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. All the theoretical inventions of the author are supported by practical material. In this paper, the author provides linguistic examples from the writer's works in Russian. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The following research methods are used: logical-semantic analysis, hermeneutical and comparative methods, as well as observation, description, and discursive analysis. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and a final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. The theoretical provisions are illustrated with textual material. However, the author does not indicate the size of the sample obtained, which was used in the study, as well as the sources of its origin and the time period. The bibliography of the article contains 23 sources, including theoretical works in both Russian and English. In some cases, the requirements of GOST for the design of the list of references have been violated, in terms of non-compliance with the generally accepted alphabetical arrangement of cited works. Thus, works in Russian are mixed with foreign-language works, traditionally located at the end of the list, the alphabetical principle of building a bibliography is not observed. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The comments made are not significant and do not affect the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the process of teaching university courses in literary studies. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "Occasional composite words in V. Nabokov's journalism" may be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.
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