Zakharova Yu.G. Lexical Neologisms and Potential Words in the Letters by A.P. Chekhov


Julia G. Zakharova

Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, Department of Russian Language and Publishing Business, Pacific National University

Karla Marksa St, 68, 680000 Khabarovsk, Russia

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Abstract. The article focuses on the process of neologism emergence in the Russian language and speech in the second half of the 19 th century inferred in the letters of A.P. Chekhov. The content of the terms lexical neologism and potential word is determined. The latter is considered in a systematic aspect, from the point of view of the possibility of eliminating lacunae in the lexical composition, which was intensively formed during the period under study. The object of the analysis is those potential words that were in demand among some particular native speakers. The structural types of neologisms, the time of their appearance in the language (speech), the word-forming potential of the productive bases are identified, and the semantics of the derivatives is analyzed. The reasons for neologism emergence in the language system have been determined, including lacunae in the lexical and word-building systems and communicative need for their filling; building new words or changes in lexeme semantics; inserting neologisms in derivational processes. The class of abstract nouns is noted to be actively replenished, and productive word-formation models are claimed to be realized by rooted and potential lexemes. The epistolary heritage of A.P. Chekhov is of great value as material for the "Dictionary of the Russian Language of the 19 th Century", focused on the reflection of not only linguistic, but also speech facts.

Key words: neology, Russian language history, lexical neologism, potential word, occasion word, epistolary text.

Citation. Zakharova Yu.G. Lexical Neologisms and Potential Words in the Letters by A.P. Chekhov. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2022, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 17-28. (in Russian). DOI:

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