UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Deviant language structures in Andrej Belyj's St. Petersburg Brenzinger, Ingrid


The intricate use of language is one of the most striking features of Andrej Belyj's work, noticed by native Russian speakers and foreign students alike. Any foreign student, not too sure of the structural potential of the language and attempting a careful reading of Belyj’s work, is faced with a prohibitive task. The present study was conceived of as a linguistic commentary to the text. Initially, the intention was to study Belyj's neologisms throughout his novels. However, upon close analysis, it became evident that the neologisms were, in fact, an organic outgrowth of his use of language generally. The task of analysing this use of language throughout his work exceeded the scope of a thesis and, therefore, the subject had to be limited in some way. It was decided that an exhaustive analysis of the use of language in St. Petersburg would present the most significant results. However, when all citations were collected, it became obvious that detailed comment on all of them would produce too ponderous a volume and an arbitrary selection was made. Despite the fact that their role in language structure is superficial, many interesting archaisms and dialectal lexical items were included. At least some examples of all major recurring structural deviations were included in the discussion. Those deviations which contributed to the motif pattern or expanded the themes of the novel were, of course, cited more frequently. Since a precise numerical count of forms and structures can be achieved considerably more efficiently by using a computer, and since it is really the ratio of interrelating forms, rather than the actual number of occurrences that is significant, these ratios are cited here, and the precise counts omitted.

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