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The precedent phenomena, to which the names of the heroes of literary works belong, are very typical for modern journalistic texts “charged primarily with negative emotions” (V.I. Shakhovsky) using indirect estimation methods: brief and expressive, with a wide range of connotative and associative links, they become an emotionally evaluative component of the text. Colorful - not only for the twenties of the XXth century - the figure of M. Bulgakov's novel “The Heart of a Dog” Shvonder firmly settled in the modern gallery of precedent literary names. Russians define a very wide variety of typical traits of individuals and their behavior, as well as social phenomena, verbalized by the words Shvonder (Shvondery), shvonderovschina, to shvonder, etc. The main vectors of comprehension come to light on the material of the texts from the National Corpus of the Russian language and Internet resources, which shows the tendency to use the subject's name as a way of indicating the manifestation of one important feature in his behavior - and, accordingly, in the behavior of someone else (Shvonder - “hater of the intelligentsia”, “vindictive”, “symbol of imaginary employment”) or a characteristic act committed by him, which becomes a kind of standard (Shvonder is “the destroyer of the old good world”, “the requisitor of another's housing”, “rejects the values accumulated by society in the past”, etc.). Through the combination “Shvonder - Sharikov” the emphasis is placed on the typicality of the observed phenomenon, on the ideological and party affiliation, etc. The name Shvonder often appears in combination with the names of other characters - in particular, Preobrazhensky and Bormental, - when a modern author outlines a conflict between bad manners (rudeness) and intelligence, ignorance and education, empty rhetoric and real actions, etc. The speakers find all the new possibilities of interpreting the image of Shvonder and use this name, like other new words with the same root, to express their position on the subject of speech, ironic or dismissive attitude to it. On the other hand, the precedent name may be semantically diffuse and vague in the “new” text, but it’s magnetized with special connotations and serves to enhance the ironic, negative-evaluative coloring of the secondary text and makes various interpretations possible. Even in the absence of specific words that reveal the dominant semantics of the text fragment, the very use of the Shvonder’s name already guarantees at least a high level of expression and a tangible degree of negative estimation.

About the authors

Elena I. Seliverstova

St. Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
SPIN-code: 2032-2115

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Professor and Acting Head of Russian Language Department for Humanitarian and Natural Faculties; St. Petersburg State University

7/9, Universitetskaya emb., St.-Petersburg, Russia, 199034


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