REPOZYTORIUM UNIWERSYTETU
W BIAŁYMSTOKU
UwB

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Tytuł: Aleksander Walicki i Aleksander Łętowski o stanie polszczyzny północnokresowej. Ortografia - Fonetyka - Zagadnienia gramatyczne
Autorzy: Strawińska, Anetta Bogusława
Słowa kluczowe: polszczyzna kresowa
świadomość językowa
puryzm językowy
błąd językowy
Data wydania: 2018
Data dodania: 6-lut-2020
Wydawca: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku
Seria: Białostockie Studia Językoznawcze;13
Abstrakt: Inquiry into the language of historic eastern Polish borderlands is a highly developed branch of historical linguistcs. The history of the north-eastern lands, social and national factors influencing the formation of the Polish language in the region, the structure of borderland dialects, issues of terminology concerning constitutive terms, such as kresy (historic eastern borderlands), dialekty kresowe (borderland dialects), polszczyzna kresowa (borderland Polish), kresowizm (a borderland word), as well as the process of formation of the consciousness and linguistic competence of the region’s inhabitants over the ages, are prominent subjects of research for diachronic linguists from various research institutions. Nevertheless, the historic eastern borderlands are still an area which is – in my opinion – not fully researched. The language guides written by Aleksander Walicki and Aleksander Łętowski at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, which are so often invoked in the research works of language historians, and not only in recent years, both confirm this point. The normative works penned by these authors remain an underappreciated source of information on the history of northern borderland Polish. So far neither has received a full dedicated analysis. Therefore, the presented work is an attempt to meet real needs. The research material consists of two books. The first, Błędy nasze w mowie i piśmie ku szkodzie języka polskiego popełnione oraz prowincjonalizmy by Aleksander Walicki (1st edition, Warsaw 1876; 2nd edition, Warsaw–Cracow 1879; 3rd edition, Warsaw–Cracow 1886) is a lengthy, 453-page treaty, including an introduction and an index of described lexemes. The other, slightly shorter, normative text is a study by Aleksander Łętowski under the title: Błędy nasze. Rzecz o czystości języka polskiego na Litwie (published by Józef Zawadzki in Vilnius in 1915)1. Over the span of 378 pages (11 cm × 18 cm) it unmasks the “most loathsome of language imperfections” (pol. najohydniejsze niedoskonałości językowe) typical of north-eastern borderland Polish in early 20th century. The list of mistakes is preceded by a preface, in which Łętowski formulates general remarks concerning the poor state of the Polish language and ways to improve it. Modern scholars make use of the aforementioned texts one-sidedly and selectively. In general, the analysed normative works are used instrumentally. Linguists treat them as something of a list of various language mistakes (grammatical, lexical, stylistic), local (regional, provincial, dialect) phrases, and loanwords. They are also often used as a background for comparisons, secondary to other sources. However, normative texts from the turn of the 19th and 20th century provide valuable information on the diversity of north borderland Polish. Not only do they note, but they also analyse and identify words and phrases representative of the language of the intellectual elites and artistic, journalistic, and scientific texts, and on the other hand they characterise the language of specific professions: printers or millers. The analysed normative texts also register many words and phrases characteristic of local traditions and rituals. Walicki and Łętowski are also interested in onomastics. Their authors not only list grammatically problematic names and place names, but also try to explain their etymology. Apart from listing mistakes they both provide a list of provincial regionalisms. According to Walicki, regional grammar gives borderland Polish its specific character and is an indispensable in describing the linguistic diversity of the various regions of Poland. Therefore many names have often been listed for a single referent. This is especially true for Walicki’s work – Łętowski differs in opinion, believing that provincial regionalisms are mistakes. One-sided analysis of these works also obscures their interpretative aspects. Whereas they include lengthy prefaces revealing the authors’ attitudes towards the described phenomena, as well as numerous authorial comments in the main body of text. These parts, often very expressive, clearly reveal the character and specifics of the linguistic awareness of Polish speakers in the partition era. Linguistic purism represented by the authors of the discussed normative works is fully understandable and acceptable in face of the threat to the continuation of Polish nationality and language, as a determinant of national identity. Emotional wording, the use of blunt colloquialisms, swear words, rhetorical questions, and discussions with the hypothetical reader, had the aim of convincing the average Polish speaker of their role in forming their mother tongue. Both authors saw that the language could (had to!) survive the trial thanks to the nation’s potential. Both works are therefore utilitarian and pragmatic. One should not forget that the analysed texts pertain to the condition of Polish in a specific peripheral region of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The presence of, mostly pejorative, as well as depreciating or facetious, emotional evaluative colloquialisms is acceptable in guidebooks, because their authors combine a scholarly and journalistic style, as well as formal and informal or semi-formal registers. Furthermore, a scientific point of view pushes the authors of these normative works to see linguistic errors as medical phenomena. Both authors also frequently invoke a biblical style. In extreme cases they also use poignant satire and irony. These are used to ridicule the traditions, or behavioural models typical of other nations, mainly: Russians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Germans and Jews. The often subjective and emotional commentary included in both works is on one hand a fairly faithful reflection of the situation of the Polish language during the partitions and on the other is an, invaluable for a linguist, illustration of the linguistic mechanisms typical of north borderland Polish, as captured by passionate patriots, people who cared deeply about the fate of their endangered mother tongue. The analysed texts from the turn of the 19th and 20th century were born of a patriotic duty and as such are an example of involved emotional writing; often exposing the personal attitude of the writer towards the described phenomena. Both Walicki and Łętowski treat language as a thing of the utmost value. Both equate language and nation. Language, they believe, is the reflection of a nation, which is mute and cannot function without it. These assumptions reflect the theses presented by the Herder-Fichte school in German socio-linguistics. Although the analysed works do not make direct references to specific people (by name), or the terminology characteristic for this concept. Nevertheless, this comparison seems obvious, based on their belief in the symbolic function of language, which is the essence of the analysed texts. For both authors language is the synonym of the strength which allowed Poles living in the north-eastern borderlands at the turn of the 19th and 20th century to retain their separateness and independence. The writers’ observations indicate that the instrumental importance of language as a determinant of nationality had been forgotten by its speakers, who are sloppy (pol. niechlujstwo) and careless (pol. niedbalstwo) in its use and do not know the rules of Polish grammar and their mother tongue (pol. nieznajomość polskiej gramatyki i języka ojczystego; Łęt. Przedmowa, p. 9) and prone to snobbism and using loanwords. Perhaps that is why the authors devote so much attention to loanwords (registering over 700 foreign lexemes), which are, they believe, an effect of simple laziness. In this paper I will first of all attempt to characterise the normative recommendations included in both guidebooks, following the authors’ line of inquiry, i.e. starting with spelling and phonetic mistakes, through an analysis of word formation and inflection errors, to word order in sentences. The linguistic corpus, in which grammar is less prominent, although not by any means neglected, when compared to lexis, is described by Walicki and Łętowski based on dichotomies: erroneous – correct, useful – useless, good – bad. Therefore, I will attempt to analyse the linguistic corpus of these works from the point of view of culture of language; analysis is conducted based on the correctness of analysed forms and lexemes listed by the authors of normative works. I will describe the information gathered from the sources in the broader context of 19th century norms in their regional variant and often confront them with 17th and 18th century norms and the purist perspective. The excerpted linguistic corpus will also be compared to modern Polish. My overarching objective has been to present readers with a rich and detailed description of linguistic phenomena, which were at the time thought to be obvious linguistic “atrocities” (pol. ohydstwa) or “perversions” (pol. wykoślawienia). It is significant, in the context of normative works, that the authors are more rigorous about language mistakes than people from the ethnically Polish centre. The authors believe that any divergence from the codified rules of the language is a mistake. This as sumption clearly indicates that both authors perceive the norm slightly anachronistically. Furthermore, neither of them seems to be familiar with the linguistic concept of usus, as is indicated by their comments analysing the presented linguistic facts in relation to the spoken and written norm. 1. Considering that Podręcznik czystej polszczyzny dla Litwinów i Petersburszczan by Jan Karłowicz composed ca. 1882 remained in manuscript form until the 1980s, Łętowski’s work is, after Walicki’s book, chronologically the second published text on the north borderland Polish. Jana Karłowicz’s Podręcznik… was published by Anna Kaupuż and Elżbieta Smułkowa as an article: Nieznane prace Jana Karłowicza o języku polskim na Wileńszczyźnie, [in:] Studia nad polszczyzną kresową, J. Rieger, J. Werenicz eds., t. 3, Wrocław – Warszawa – Kraków – Gdańsk –Łódź 1984, p. 33–81. [Translated by Marcin Pędich]
Afiliacja: Uniwersytet w Białymstoku
E-mail: a. strawinska@uwb.edu.pl
Sponsorzy: Publikacja dofinansowana przez Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11320/8810
ISSN: 978-83-7431-549-4
Typ Dokumentu: Book
Występuje w kolekcji(ach):Książki / Rozdziały (WUwB)
Książki/Rozdziały (WFil)

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