On the History of Russian Linguistics: The Life and the Work of Simon Boyanus

2019. № 2, 119-128

Natalia D. Svetozarova, St. Petersburg State University (St. Petersburg, Russia), ndsvetozar@gmail.com


The life of Simon Boyanus (1871–1952) was so different and fruitful that one could be confused about the number of authors hidden under his name. He has graduated from the St. Petersburg University (the Department
of History and Philology), fi nished Drama Course, was an actor and a director, wrote articles on the history of medieval theater, worked at the History of Arts Institute. He was a student of phonetics at L. V. Shcherba`s course,
and founded Institute of Phonetics and the Phonetic School with him. In 1920s he studied phonetics in London with D. Jones and L. E. Armstrong. He was a Germanic cycle courses lecturer at Leningrad State University and published his fi rst textbook of English phonetics for Russian speakers in 1926. In 1928–1930 he was a co-author of the famous English-Russian and RussianEnglish dictionaries with V. K. Mueller. In 1934 Boyanus emigrated to the UK where he published a textbook of Russian phonetics for British students, bringing together the achievements of Russian and British phonetic science. Boyanus was the first to suggest a description of Russian intonation in termsof a limited set of abstract intonation models with the nature and number of phrasal stresses as a key feature. Using the intonational markup, prepared for English, and his pronunciation, Boyanus has transcribed not only phrases, but stylistically diverse texts. At the end of the life Boyanus established his own School of Russian Language, acknowledged throughout the UK.