Pejorative vocabulary in the works of Mykola Gogol and its rendering in German translations

  • A. Rolik Associated professor of Mykola Gogol Nishyn State University
Keywords: illocutionary act, insult, contrastive analysis


The article is dedicated to the contrastive analysis of the contstituents of insulting illocutionary acts in the discourses of the words by M. V. Gogol and their German translations. The main attention deals with lexical means of insulting however the dominance of the speaker’s intention is to degradate the hearer.
The need for comparative study of speech acts, in particular on the material of translations of works of fiction, is determined by the accumulated volume of
knowledge about speech acts and the need to separate the universal provisions of the theory of speech acts from nationally relevant ones. The aim of the article is a comparative analysis of the constituents of illocutionary acts of insult in the discourse of works by M. V. Gogol and their German translations, as fiction models reality, and therefore the texts of fiction are the most accessible source for considering the features of these speech acts. As one of the initial stages, a comparative study of speech acts presupposes the isolation of their invariant and variational parts. The invariant part of speech acts consists of the essential, characterological constituents, and the variational constituents are insignificant. Essential constituents are fixed, or preset, and nonessential ones are non-fixed, or not pre-set. In the descriptions of speech acts only fixed constituents are subject to specification. If some constituent turns out to be unspecified, this does not mean that it is not present at all, but it only testifies to the fact that this speech act is not sensitive to it, i. e. with respect to this speech act this constituent is not relevant. There are also such constituents which may remain non-actualized. By insult we understand the inflicting of a heavy verbal grievance and thus it is this that differs it from a curse and ordinary abuse. After all, even if under certain circumstances something that is not directly addressed to the addressee can be perceived by him as offensive, then this happens despite the speaker’s intention. And in the speech act of insult, the speaker realizes his emotionally motivated intention of humiliating the addressee. If the addressee is present, then if he does not silently take down the insult, then in this dialogical situation he will react either with a response insult or with protesting objections. In the absence of the addressee, this speech act will take the form of a monologue. According to some researchers, the verbal act of insult is aimed specifically at its public implementation, in which the most complete communicative effect is achieved, because in the absence of witnesses, it is only a cathartic reaction to interpersonal relations with the goal of getting rid of negative emotions and redistributing the existing interpersonal status. The speaker can insult a person by using various lexical means, endowing him with various negative qualities, attributing to him deviations from the generally accepted norms of behavior or by identifying him with something that is
perceived by others unequivocally negatively. In this case, the lexical unit must have an appropriate denotative or connotative value components. The possibilities for translating maledictory vocabulary are determined by its belonging to either absolute abusive words, which are fixed in dictionaries as such, or relative ones when they are only in a certain context. Abusive and coarse-vernacular vocabulary carries an extremely large stylistic load. It is comparatively easier to find it’s equivalent rendering, than that of proper or colloquial-vernacular words. Objective factors which predetermine the choice of a proper equivalent are supplemented by subjective factors that depend on the translator’s individuality, determined by his artistic perception, personal qualities and the peculiarity of the selection of linguistic means in the process of translation.


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How to Cite
Rolik, A. “Pejorative Vocabulary in the Works of Mykola Gogol and Its Rendering in German Translations”. Literature and Culture of Polissya, Vol. 96, no. 13f, Dec. 2019, pp. 267-79, doi:10.31654/2520-6966-2019-13f-96-267-279.