LEXICOLOGICAL RESEARCH ON THE RISE

Styshov O.A. Ukrains’ka leksyka kintsia XX stolittia (na materiali movy zasobiv masovoi informatsii). 2-e vydannia, pereroblene. – Kyiv: Puhach, 2005. – 388 pp.

Struhanets’ Liubov. Dynamika leksychnykh norm ukrains’koi literaturnoi movy XX stolittia. –Ternopil’: Aston, 2002. – 352 pp.

Mazuryk Danuta. Nove v ukrains’kii leksytsi. Slovnyk-dovidnyk. – L’viv: Vydavnytsvo “Svit”, 2002. – 130 pp.

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The explosion of recent lexicological activity in the Contemporary Ukrainian in the beginning of the XXI century is evident. Neologisms have been utilized on a steady and consistent basis. Additional shades of meaning have been added to certain words leading to some reconnotations of their meanings. Even the basic core of political, business, mass media lexicon have been reshaped and reevaluated. 
The lexicological system of the Ukrainian language is in constant flux and motion. It is under huge pressure and strain, dealing quite often with polarities, let us say, massive borrowing vs. the strive towards native (previously repressed and quite often forgotten) vocabulary, diasporisms vs. native vocabulary again, vulgarisms entering pristine mass media discourse, use of dialectisms, etc. At the same time, communist discourse has been replaced by free market discourse, with flood of business terminology entering everyday and routine humane discourse. Youth slang and jargon are seen contending for a place under the roof. Red or black? No ifs, ands and buts. Concretely.
The Ukrainian language is striving for a sense of ‘coolness’. It deserves much better fate, having suffered for centuries, being unable to naturally replenish and develop its lexicon. Many scholarly articles appeared in Ukraine devoted to lexicological research of the Contemporary Ukrainian. This new century brings with it the demand for more complex and systematic research. Monographs by Oleksandr Styshov and Liubov Struhanets’ as well as an explanatory dictionary by Danuta Mazuryk fill in the void/gap. These three researchers represent Kyiv, Ternopil’ and L’viv correspondingly, the places with traditional strong Ukrainian language research. Styshov’s book is the second edition (the first one was published in 2002). Struhanets’ and Mazuryk have been working on preparation of added and improved editions of their books.
Styshov’s book consists of Preface, 5 Chapters, Conclusions, a Bibliography, References, Appendices. In his opinion, democratization plays a crucial role in lexical changes in the Ukrainian tongue (p. 21). He pays attention to the grapho-semantic method of nomination in the Contemporary Ukrainian (like, NATOmaniia ‘NATOmania’), which is a new phenomenon (p. 27). Two tendencies are stressed by the author in enriching the Ukrainian lexicological system: 1) internationalization (including Europeization of the lexicon, especially terminology); 2) nativization (see p. 43). Styshov provides the depiction of neologisms, considers semantic neologisms, synonymic neologisms, occasionalisms, etc. Some occasionalisms (like oskaronosnyi ‘Oscar-bearing’, p. 48) can be used mupliple times, having even derivatives (like oskaronosets’ ‘Oscar-bearer’). Only time and usage/non-usage prove later the usefulness of occasionalism. Grapho-semantic occasionalisms (like ZMIi, pidMAZaty, SNIDanok,
p. 49) are considered as well. Detailed analysis of political, social-economic, scientific-technological, medical, physical culture and sports, culture and arts, religious, parapsychology and ufology as well as everyday lexicon, goods and products have been provided. Attention has been paid to actualization/activation and passivization/passivation of certain lexicon. The section on word-building is very important. The author considers semantic processes in the mass media lexicon. Appendices include list of new words, activized and passivized lexicon as well as reoriented lexicon.
Liubov Struhanets’ s monograph consists of an Introduction, 5 Chapters, Conclusions, a Bibliography, an Index of Abbreviations and finally a Summary. In her Introduction she particularly underlines the dynamic nature of the Ukrainian language. Dr. Struhanets’s research of the dynamics of lexical norm is based on the lexicographic material (p. 3). She pays particular attention to the theoretical foundations of the lexical norms of the literary language. It is more difficult nowadays to present lexico-semantic norm in lexicographic description (p. 25) due to increased tempo of language changes. The author differentiates the notions of norma ‘norm’ and standart ‘standard’ (pp. 33-34). The lexical system of the Ukrainian language is in a state of constant flux due to the active appearance of neologisms and the rapid movement of some of them to the nucleus of the system and simultaneous movement of archaic words out from this nucleus to the periphery (see p. 50). Struhanets’ provides the periodization of the development of the Ukrainian language, paying particular attention to the XXth century. She considers also pluses and minuses of the puristic efforts. The author presents in detail her own computer program “Lingua” developed as the modulator of lexico-semantic system of the Ukrainian literary language.
The second chapter is called “Dynamic Processes in the Lexico-Semantic System of the Contemporary Ukrainian Literary Language”. Archaization and neology of the Ukrainian language have been considered in detail as well as an interrelation of literary language and dialects.
The third chapter is called “Typology of Changes of Semantic Structure of the Word”. Broadening and narrowing of the semantic structure of a word have been considered. Creation and disappearance of homonyms have been described.
The fourth chapter is called “Stylistic Transposition of Lexical Units”. The author pays particular attention to the specificity of terminologization of the words as well as determinologization of words. The processes of actualization and passivization have been considered as well.
The fifth chapter is called “Stability and Mobility of Certain Branches of Lexico-Semantic System”. The author describes how the theological lexicon is represented in codification works. She also presents status of Taras Shevchebko’s lexicon in Ukrainian literary language of the end of the XXth century.
Danuta Mazuryk’s explanatory dictionary includes: 1) new words, created in the Contemporary Ukrainian language; 2) new words, borrowed from other languages; 3) so called “relative neologisms”, the words that are registered in orthographic dictionaries, but their first registration in lexicographic editions of 1994-2000 testifies to their status as neologisms; 4) words that were renewed semantically, functionally or stylistically and moved from the periphery of the lexical system into its active fund and 5) words of foreign language origin, that under the influence of extralingual factors changed or broadened their semantics and that is why they have moved to the active lexical fund of the Ukrainian language as a nomination of new phenomena and notions (p. 3). She uses various marks/signs to differentiate all five categories and, in my opinion, this division is rather subjective and many words can be assigned to different category based on the analysis of previous Ukrainian language explanatory dictionaries, other linguistic resources and my personal factual data. The main virtue of this dictionary is a clear and precise explanation of new words as well as examples of their usage in the Ukrainian newspapers, journals and magazines.
Two aforementioned monographs and the explanatory dictionary are a must for Ukrainian language instructors and students in the North American continent. They can be used by other specialists of East European studies as well.

Valerii Polkovsky, University of Alberta

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    1. Червень 25th, 2009 at 06:30 | #1

      What good interlocutors 🙂

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