Potemkina E.V., Ruzhitskiy I. Homo Increpans: Abusive Vocabulary of Personages in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s and Nikolay Leskov’s Works. The First Article
The article examines the range of abusive vocabulary in Nikolay S. Leskov’s novel “Аt Sword’s Points” and Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s novel “Demons” as one of the characteristic features of the authors’ idiolect. It reveals a correlation between expletives and the types of characters in these works and suggests that their use is governed by a strict determinism. Separately the article discusses the function of abusive words in literary texts, such as the desire to humiliate and insult the interlocutor. It reveals that the two novels by Leskov and Dostoevsky are marked by the predominance of the expletives fool, wretch, scoundrel, bastard, scum (durak, podlets, merzavets, negodyay, svolotch) among others. Attention is also paid to the high frequency of the word devil. At the same time the article notes that expletives in the novel “Аt Sword’s Points” are remarkably diverse, as are the attributives used with them. The analyzed material enables certain conclusions to be drawn and allows to put forward a hypothesis about the relationship between the frequency of expletives and types of linguistic identity. The inability to identify oneself with any class or social group, a kind of social schizophrenia that leads to swearing, aggression and a nervous, often split personality, creates a special type of linguistic identity – Homo Increpans (“Swearing Man”). The desire to humiliate someone and thereby elevate oneself, together with the ambition to destroy everything, constitutes the very type of personality that served as the basis of the nihilists. The article hypothesizes that Nikolay S. Leskov and Fyodor M. Dostoevsky themselves belong to the Homo Increpans archetype as well: the active use of abusive words in texts of various genres, not just fiction, typifies their idiostyle to a great extent.