Linguosensorics of Death Symbols in Marina Tsvetaeva’s “Poem of Air”: to the 130-th Poetess’s Anniversary

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The article analyzes the linguistic organization of the two main symbolic situations of the poem - “crossing the celestial sea”, “overcoming the other three celestial spheres and reaching the firmament”. The study was conducted in line with one of the newest branches of linguistics - linvosensory, which studies the verbalization of interoceptive (internal) and proprioceptive (coordination and position in space) sensations. The main method of research is to consider the signifying symbol, its figurative component, as the result of not only external, but also internal perception, considered in the dynamics of sequential (plot) development. The impulse was a draft writing of the poetess about the “disembodication” of the lyrical heroine. The aim of the study is to determine how the linguistic means of the poem convey the internal physiological sensations of death through the images of extraperception. As a result, it was found that the signifier of the symbolic situation “crossing the celestial sea” visualizes such inner feelings as overcoming gravity, coordination of vertical flight, the density of the environment. The signifier is analyzed as part of the lexical paradigm of both individual lexemes and phrases, and sentences united by a common seme ‘water’. Among the linguistic means that formalize the image of the vertical sea, there are metaphors, comparisons, mythologems, semanticized roots -liv-i-lei-, -swim-and-splash-. The signifier of the symbolic situation “overcoming 3, 5 air and firmament” calls only the odd “heaven”. They symbolize the last three breaths of the dying heroine. Archisemes are ‘cut’ (“third air”), ‘sound’ (“fifth air”) and ‘attraction upward’ (“firmament”). All internal sensations are correlated with the five stages of asphyxia. Of particular importance for the objectification of conclusions are biographical information about the time of writing the poem.

About the authors

Irina V. Yakushevich

Moscow City University (MGU)

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3053-7530

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of the Russian Language and Methods of Teaching Philological Disciplines

4, 2-nd Selskohozoyastvenny str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 129226


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