Non-Gradable Attribute Intensification in Dostoesvsky's Writing Style: Linguistic Mechanisms and Semantic Effects

2020. № 3, 101-113

Ekaterina V. Sharapova

Vinogradov Russian Language Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences) (Moscow, Russia)



The article studies a certain type of occasional word combinations, characteristic of Dostoevsky’s individual style, such as combining intensifiers with non-gradable words. Adding an intensifier to a word that does not indicate a graduated feature results in the violation of collocational restrictions. However, the word combination that should be abnormal according to the general semantic rule turns into a meaningful stylisticс device. The author uses two types of word combinations: intensifiers and adjective combinations, which are a part of a certain collocation or set phrase and noun word combinations, which denote a person’s nationality or profession. The article considers the mechanisms of forming these word combinations, the basis for semantic coordination and interpretation of occasional word combinations, as well as their stylistic features, such as semantic shifts, actualization, connotative meaning application, the context, including non-linguistic facts about the period the text was written in, word-play and irony. The article also addresses the issue of semantic evolution of vocabulary.

For citation:

Sharapova E. V. Non-Gradable Attribute Intensifi cation in Dostoevsky’s
Writing Style: Linguistic Mechanisms and Semantic Effects. Russian
Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2020. No. 3. Pp. 101–113. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170009964-9.


This article is published with the fi nancial support of the
Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project № 18-012-90025 “A linguistic
model of Dostoevsky’s individual style: corpus technologies in the analysis of
literary text”). The author is grateful to Galina I. Kustova for her invaluable
help and Nadezhda V. Buntman for critical comments on the article.