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Polemics without Polemics

Myxajlo Andrella in Ruthenian (Ukrainian) Literary Space

Author: Andrii Danylenko

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, Vyšens’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.

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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 jazyk ъ 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.

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