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Title: Names of evil spirits in Russian imprecations
Наименования нечистой силы в русских проклятиях
Authors: Berezovich, E. L.
Surikova, O. D.
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Tomsk State University
Citation: Berezovich E. L. Names of evil spirits in Russian imprecations / E. L. Berezovich, O. D. Surikova. — DOI 10.17223/19986645/67/1 // Vestnik Tomskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Filologiya. — 2020. — Iss. 67. — P. 5-28.
Abstract: The work continues the authors' series of articles devoted to the study of the vocabulary of Russian imprecations. It is aimed at the study of demonyms that are used in imprecations. The article is based on the material of Russian dialect vocabulary, the authors use the maximum number of dialect dictionaries available today, dialectal archives, primarily the lexical files of The Dictionary of Dialects of the Russian North and of the Toponymic Expedition of the Ural University. For the most part, the fieldwork material used in the article is published for the first time. The authors identify the nominations of evil spirits which are mentioned in imprecations and establish how often this happens, indicate the reasons for such preferences of the speaker; identify the features of demonyms in terms of the motives of nomination and mechanisms of euphemization. From an ideographic point of view, the “pantheon” of imprecations is rather poor: these texts mostly mention chort and leshy (in the dialects of the Russian North and in the affiliate dialects), they mention other demons (vodyanoy, domovoy, etc.) much less often. This is due to the fact that the speaker tries to mention the most dangerous and effective evil forces, not the numerous “minor” demons. Ideographic scarcity is compensated by the variety of ways of a demon's nomination. They are: direct speech (direct mention of the name of the spirit, cf. chort, leshy, vodyanoy, etc.); numerous euphemistic substitutions-phonetic (leman, lekhman, leshmak instead of leshy), pronominal (etot 'this', tot 'that', ikhman < ikh 'their' instead of chort, leshy); loanwords (vergoy < Finnish verkanen, Karelian verka, verga 'chort', keremet' < Chuvash kirεmεt 'evil spirit', laytay < Buryat layaty 'sly, sneaky', and others instead of chort), external (koryavyy 'crooked', chyornyy 'black', zelyonyy 'green' instead of chort) and behavioral (lyutyy 'fierce', likhoy 'dashing', okayannyy 'cursed', nalyotnyy 'blown in' instead of chort) characteristics of a demon, etc. The desire to euphemize demonyms as part of malevolence is associated with the danger and obscenity of cursing. It becomes especially effective and destructive when falling into the context of imprecations, which are tabooed themselves. People believe that cursing is dangerous both for the addressee and for the author of the malevolence, even the use of profanity is more preferable than calling evil spirits by name. Among other things, the authors of the article present motivational solutions for a number of etymologically undetermined lexemes that appear in the formulas of imprecations as names of evil spirits: mosyak, osheyonok, chyokish, poksha, etc. © 2020 Tomsk State University. All rights reserved.
Keywords: DEMONYMY
Access: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
SCOPUS ID: 85098764097
PURE ID: 20249376
ISSN: 19986645
DOI: 10.17223/19986645/67/1
metadata.dc.description.sponsorship: The research is supported by the Russian Science Foundation, Project No. 20-18-00223 “Etymological and Semantic Reconstruction of the Russian Dialect Vocabulary”.
RSCF project card: 20-18-00223
Appears in Collections:Научные публикации, проиндексированные в SCOPUS и WoS CC

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