On 8 January 2009, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a press conference on the recent gas crisis. The present paper discusses some of Putin’s linguistic devices that are used for discursive purposes, in particular “disclaimers”, the use of some keywords and of pronouns of the first person as well as the constitution of their role fields. Finally, some linguistic mistakes are analyzed, and elements of Putin’s populistic repertoire are described.
The difficult language situation of Belarusian is even further complicated by the fact that two standards of Belarusian language co-exist. The so-called Taraškevica variant refers to standard traditions from a period preceding Stalinist terror; its adherents regard it as the “purer” variant of Belarusian. The official variant is based on norms that were introduced along with other measures of Stalinist terror in 1933 and aimed at making Belarusian more similar to Russian. This sketch analyzes what information on Taraškevica one can get if one uses the Internet only. It also demonstrates that searches in different languages yield different results.
The “próstaja mova” is one of the written languages used by both Ukrainians and Belorussians during the 16th and 17th centuries. In this article it is argued that its name is based on a calque of German Gemeinsprache, die gemeine Sprache, a term from the Reformation age. The „prostaja mova” was based on the Ruthenian (Ukrainian and Belorussian) chancery language and developed into a literary language because of its growing polyfunctionality, its increasingly superregional character, and its stylistic variability. The norms of the “prostaja mova” were based on its common usage, not on codification. We discuss the role of Church Slavonic and Polish elements on the different levels of this language and try to show that a “prototypical” text written in the “prostaja mova” was a translation from a real or only virtual Polish text, consisting in the “Ruthenization” of its phonology and morphology and, if it was a written text, in a change of the alphabets - the lexicon and the syntax, instead, remained mainly on a Polish basis. Until the 18th century the Polish language itself had gained so much importance among the Ruthenian gentry that the “prostaja mova” had lost its main addressee and was restricted only to some homiletic and cathechetic works for the common people of the Greek-Catholic Church.
The term jazyèije/jazyèyje was created in the second half of the 19th century in order to characterize the language of the West Ukrainian Russophiles and furthermore any varieties of the Ukrainian language which did not correspond to the folk language in a satisfying degree. The term was widely accepted and made its way into various handbooks on the history of the Ukrainian literary language. As a consequence, a lot of West Ukrainian, particularly Galician sources have not been thoroughly studied since at least the end of the Second, if not the end of the First World War. A critical analysis of the definition of jazyèije/jazyèyje and a survey of the range of varieties shows that the West Ukrainian development of the Ukrainian language is far more heterogenous, complex, and interesting with respect to the history of the Ukrainian language as a whole than the term jazyèije/jazyèyje suggests.
The article is devoted to the question in which way Lithuanians and Lithuanian phenomena are represented in the oldest East Slavic chronicles (Novgorodian I, Laurentian [Suzdal'] and Hypatian [Kievan, Galician, and Volhynian] codices) in the entries up to the end of the 13th century. The analysis shows that the Hypatian codex, in particular its Galician-Volhynian part, contains most substantial entries on Lithuanians and Lithuania, whereas the bulk of entries in the Novgorodian and in the Laurentian (Suzdal') codices tend to be elementary and stereotypical. The epitheta used with regard to Lithuanians (“godless”, “damned”) are not to be viewed only in the context of Lithuanian heathenism. When the East Slavs had Lithuanians as allies in their war campaigns, no epitheta were used at all. Only Daumantas and Vaišalgas, who fought along with the East Slavs against the Lithuanians, are treated as “good Lithuanians”, whereas Mindaugas and Traidenas come off as personifications of all “Lithuanian evil”. Mindaugas is the Lithuanian grand duke (king), who remains in the focus of the chronicles, in particular the Galician-Volhynian codex. He is also the first Lithuanian who appears in the chronicles as an acting person whose motives and goals are interpreted consecutively in the chronicles. His baptism in the Latin rite is described as a fraud. The appendix contains a synopsis of all entries on Lithuanian matters mentioned in the three oldest East Slavic chronicles.
The Middle Ruthenian (Middle Belarusian and Middle Ukrainian) period is an important stage in the development of the Ukrainian and Belarusian languages. It is characterized by several significant innovations on all linguistic levels. Of utmost significance is the broad functionality of Middle Ruthenian as a literary language, particularly beginning from the second half of the 16th up to the middle of the 17th century.
According to Andrej Anatol´evic Zaliznjak, the evidence for the particle toas a “relativizator”, as it is encountered in Old East Slavic texts and in particular in the Novgorod birch bark documents merely up to the first half of the 13th century, can be used as a more or less irrefutable argument for the authenticity of the Igor's tale, where it appears once in connection with kotoryj. As linguistic knowledge about the usage of to as a “relativizator”in East Slavic has been acquired only recently, no falsificator would have allegedly been able to use kotoryj to perfectly in accordance with pre-1250 Old East Slavic syntax. A comparative view, however, as it was once initiated, but then abandoned by Zaliznjak (1981) himself, demonstrates that to as an enforcing particle and also to as a “relativizator”in particular has been widely used in other Slavonic languages. Który to as such is known to Old, Middle and Modern Polish, as well as to Middle Ruthenian. Therefore, those who believe that there are polonisms in the Igor's tale, which prove it to be a falsification, could also use the evidence of kotoryj to in the Igor's tale as an argument for their own purposes. The significance of the “relativizator”to, thus, seems to be limited. Analogically, the same holds true for some other syntactic arguments put forward by the Moscow linguist in his latest book, namely as regards the enclitic elements in the Igor's tale.
Most typically, the integration of inter-Slavic loanwords functions on the morphological, not on the phonological level, provided that the morphemes are etymologically transparent from an inter-Slavic perspective. Therefore, a philological approach offers the most important criteria for establishing which words can most probably be regarded as inter-Slavic loans. If a word is testified for the first time exclusively in translations from another Slavic language or in texts that were written by authors who were well acquainted with Polish, Ukrainian, or Belarusian, it is most likely to be a loan. In this article, the words
‘kind’ are analyzed in order to demonstrate some typical characteristics of Polish loans in Russian.
The tragic events of the most recent history of Ukraine, particularly, the “Euromaidan” of 2013–2014 and the subsequent war in Eastern Ukraine, have been closely linked with problems of Ukrainian identity and language. Currently, an overall positive development of the Ukrainian language can be observed in many spheres, as corroborated by a variety of statistic data. Some significant initiatives in the sphere of language legislation have been made; the unconstitutional language law of 2012 is likely to be cancelled soon. Most importantly, the civic society of Ukraine is strongly supporting the position of the Ukrainian language.