Verbalisation of an alternative academic position in totalitarian discourse

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Kobchenko, Natalia
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Background. In Soviet Ukraine, academic discourse often acted as a means of implementing language planning, in particular as a tool for the transformation of the language corpus. All grammar textbooks published after 1933 broadcast the official knowledge: the vocative is not a full-fledged case, but rather a special form of address; morphological means of expressing address in Ukrainian are the "vocative form" and "nominative case." In the conditions of total control over all areas of social life, Ukrainian linguists were faced with a choice of either 1) look for certain language devices, broadcasting the official theory, which would convince the addressee to believe in the talking points that did notfully comply with the language facts, and then anchor those points in their consciousness; 2) avoid aspects that disagree with the language practice or the logic of academic description; 3) word the findings of their research and observations of the language practice in a way that would not contradict the official theory. Contribution to the research field. The article is dedicated to the analysis of the communication practices used by Ukrainian linguists in the Soviet times to express their academic position, which did not agree with official knowledge. The object of comprehension was a unique for postcolonial societies situation in which the creators of both the official discourse and the alternative discourse opposed to it were the colonised themselves. Purpose. The aim of this research is to analyse ways and means of verbalisation of the alternative academic position held by linguists in the academic discourse of the totalitarian era, based on the materials representing the topics "The Case System" and "Address" in Ukrainian grammar books for higher education, published between 1933–1991. Methods. The research is based on the theoretical and methodological foundations of postcolonial studies, which involve a critical reading of texts that reflect the influence of various forms of authority on the life of subordinate communities. In particular, the theory of critical reading of J. Errimgton’s linguistic works and R. Vodaks’ methodology of discourse-historical approach, which has been adapted for academic discourse analysis, have been applied in this research. Results. Some linguists, who did not share the canonised theory of the vocative, implied their point of view in the official texts they had created (i.e. textbooks for higher education.) On the one hand, they used official terminology and theoretical concepts: they were consistent in naming the vocative case a “vocative form,” and presented two ways of expressing address. On the other hand, the lexical and grammatical structure of their statements levelled the postulates regarding the fact that "vocative is not a case", and that "the nominative case is used to express address on par with the vocative." Among the techniques used by the linguists, heavily euphemistic speech in combination with syntactic complication of the structure prevailed, as well as splitting nominations by verbalising the concept with variant naming and violation of logical connections between consecutive statements. Such individual practices of linguistic resistance replicated the practices of the official totalitarian discourse, but with the aim to broadcast the opposite meaning. Discussion. The peculiarity of the alternative academic discourse (in particular, the language education one) of the totalitarian era lies in the fact that it did not directly confront the official theory, but rather occurred within its boundaries. This gives a reason to consider some Ukrainian linguists of the Soviet period as creators of both colonial and anti-colonial discourses.
Статтю присвячено аналізові комунікативних практик, які застосовували українські мовознавці в радянські часи, щоб висловити свою наукову позицію, яка не збігалася з офіційним знанням / канонізованою теорією. Аналіз проведено на матеріалі теоретичних відомостей про вокатив і засоби вираження звертання, викладених у граматиках української мови для вищої школи, опублікованих протягом 1933–1991 рр. Показано, що автори деяких підручників свою кваліфікацію вокатива як повноцінного відмінка, яка суперечила офіційному знанню, висловлювали імпліцитно, вдаючись до евфемізації, зайвого синтаксичного ускладнення, розщеплення номінацій. Щоб не сприяти розхитуванню норми щодо вираження звертання, деякі автори, окреслюючи це питання, замість терміна "називний відмінок" уживали описові конструкції, що містили слово "називний", проте прямо на нього не вказували. З’ясовано, що особливість академічного альтернативного дискурсу тоталітарної доби полягає у тому, що він функціював у межах офіційного.
academic discourse, language education discourse, language planning, discourse-historical approach, postcolonialism, euphemism, implicatures, vocative, grammar, Ukrainian language, article, академічний дискурс, лінгводидактичний дискурс, мовне планування, дискурсивно-історичний підхід, постколоніалізм, евфемізм, імплікатура, вокатив, українська мова
Kobchenko N. Verbalisation of an alternative academic position in totalitarian discourse / Natalia Kobchenko (Наталя Кобченко) // Мова: класичне - модерне - постмодерне. - 2023. - Вип. 9. - С. 5-30. -