Language and style of the correspondence between J. Voskovec and J. Werich Cover Image
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O jazyce a stylu korespondence Jiřího Voskovce a Jana Wericha
Language and style of the correspondence between J. Voskovec and J. Werich

Author(s): Jana Hoffmannová, František Štícha
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Applied Linguistics, Stylistics
Published by: Ústav pro jazyk český Akademie věd České republiky
Keywords: correspondence; dialogue stylistics; linguistic playfulness; intertextuality; word-formation; participles; short-form adjectives; passive constructions

Summary/Abstract: The aim of this article is to present a relatively complex linguistic analysis of the three-volume correspondence between Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich (V+W). Focusing on the dialogic structure of these letters, its remarkable coherence and stylistic uniformity, we examine the research possibilities such text types may offer in the field of dialogue stylistics. This highly private correspondence draws attention to the transitions between written and spoken language, fluctuations between using literary and common Czech, as well as a frequent use of vulgarisms, which we interpret as a natural part of the authors’ shared idiolect. Another building block in the stylistic uniformity of the entire correspondence that is worth highlighting is the linguistic playfulness and language-based humor, including V+W’s fondness for using, manipulating, and commenting on specific set phrases, in which they also intertwine Czech and English. Although English holds a prominent position both in terms of frequency of use and the variety of expressions, the letters actually display features of multi-lingual texts; this quality comes out also in the form of stating the authors’ opinions about Czech (or other languages). The multi-lingual flavor is not far from issues of intertextuality, which manifests itself in the form of a variety of quotations, paraphrases, references, or ad-hoc created fake proverbs. Another part of our analysis concerns V+W’s creativity in word-formation (especially on the part of Voskovec), as well as various grammatical phenomena. In morphology, the texts show a conspicuously high frequency of participles and the archaic short-form adjectives; in syntax, we observe the stylistic function of certain passive constructions, causativization of non-causative verbs, special kinds of ellipsis, and idiosyncratic patterning in marking information structure.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 5
  • Page Range: 3-33
  • Page Count: 31
  • Language: Czech