Old Church Slavonicism

Old Church Slavonicism

 

one of the features of Old Church Slavonic that distinguish Old Church Slavonic from the other Slavic languages and that are encountered in texts written in the earlier or modern Slavic languages. Old Church Slavonicisms are found in the phonetic makeup of words, as in glava (“head”) and moshch’ (“power”); compare the Russian golova and mocti. They also appear in vocabulary, as in istina (“truth”) and brak (“marriage”)—compare the Russian pravda and svad’ba—and zhivot in the sense of zhizri (“life”), as found in ne na zhivot, a na smert’ (“to the death”).

Examples of Old Church Slavonicisms in word-formation include iskhod (“outcome”) and proshenie (“application”), as contrasted with the Russian vykhod (“exit”) and pros’ba (“request”). In grammar, Old Church Slavonicisms are seen in dobrago (“good,” genitive singular masculine/neuter) and dobrumu (“good,” dative singular masculine/neuter); compare the Russian dobrogo and dobromu.

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Rayfield's supple narrative structure and vast stock of knowledge enables him to discuss both the intricacies of Old Church Slavonicisms in Chekhov's late prose and the hitherto hidden Shakespearean influences on his drama, the struggle in Russia between symbolist aesthetes and critical realists to appropriate The Cherry Orchard for their respective traditions, and the startling evidence of Chekhovian resonances in Thomas Mann, Bernard Shaw, Gide and Katherine Mansfield.