Intensifiers in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Individual Style: Semantics of Irregular Lexical Combinations

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The paper is dedicated to the analysis of irregular intensifying constructions in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s individual style, more specifically of irregular lexical combinations including an intensifier and a main word. The meaning of intensifies is completely focused on expressing the intensity of an attribute, action or state denominated by the main word. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s writing style tends to form certain types of irregular lexical combinations including intensifiers. Through a case study of intensifiers ochen’ , goryachii / goryacho , izo vsekh sil , etc. the article describes several main types of irregular combinations with the view to find out semantic effects of irregular combinability. The analysis has covered the complete corpus of Fyodor Doestoevsky’s texts (fiction, journalism, private correspondence, business correspondence and documents). The first discriminant mark of irregular combinations is the semantic contradiction between the terms, the violation of idiomatic compatibility rules is the second feature taken into account. Whereas collocational rules in modern Russian differ a lot from the language norms of the 19th century, the subcorpus of 19th century texts of the National Russian Corpus serves to test the irregular idiomatic combinability. The article shows how the irregular combinability causes context meaning shifts profiling peripheral semantic features of the main word or “imposing” on it an untypical and contradictory semantics. In irregular lexical combinations, the language representation changes due to the original authors reinterpretation of the referential situation. The irregular lexical combinations with intensifiers are thereafter a distinctive feature of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s individual writing style that reveals his original conceptualization of the world.

About the authors

Ekaterina V. Sharapova

V.V. Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of RAS

Author for correspondence.
SPIN-code: 7424-9125
18/2, Volkhonka str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 119019

PhD, Research assistant at the Departement of Experimental Lexicography


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