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Language on DisplayWriters, Fiction and Linguistic Culture in Post-Soviet Russia$
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Ingunn Lunde

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421560

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421560.001.0001

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Language, Time and Linguistic Dystopia

Language, Time and Linguistic Dystopia

Tat’iana Tolstaia and Evgenii Vodolazkin

(p.137) Chapter 8 Language, Time and Linguistic Dystopia
Language on Display

Ingunn Lunde

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how Russian prose writers create fictional representations of a past, or a future, where language emerges as an essential theme. It offers close readings of two works, one portraying a fictional future for Russian – Tat’iana Tolstaia’s 2000 novel Kys’ (The Slynx), and one diving into the language’s past – Evgenii Vodolazkin’s Lavr (Laurus, 2012). The analysis shows how both authors challenge the standard language by stretching its potential and including a wealth of elements taken from non-standard varieties and older forms. Whereas Tolstaia’s novel depicts a brutal, destructive world of linguistic dystopia with, or so it would seem, no real past and no future, Vodolazkin’s text presents a smoothly created linguistic amalgam characterised by flexibility and multifunctionality. The chapter discusses the linguistic attitudes implied in the two approaches and their relevance to the post-Soviet language debates.

Keywords:   post-Soviet language culture, sociolinguistic change, language ideologies, language debate, Tat’iana Tolstaia, Evgenii Vodolazkin, post-Soviet Russian prose

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