Volume 13, Issue 4 (2022)                   LRR 2022, 13(4): 317-347 | Back to browse issues page

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Sadeghi Sahlabad Z. Explaining and Studying the Linguistic Explorations of the Russian Futurist Poet Velimir Khlebnikov. LRR 2022; 13 (4) :317-347
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-55251-en.html
Assistant Proffessor, Department of Russian Language, Faculty of Literature, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran , z.sadeghi@alzahra.ac.ir
Abstract:   (604 Views)
Velimir Khlebnikov is one of the leading Russian poets and one of the founders of the school of Futurism in Russia. In Iran, he is better known as a poet and his linguistic research has not received much attention. Khlebnikov revised the symbolic poetic system. If in the tradition of Symbolism, words were thought of as symbols and appeared in poetry with poetic language and their hidden meaning was valuable, in Khlebnikov's poetic system, words with their phonetic construction had an intrinsic meaning and poetic value, and thus he paid attention to the past of the language and changed the previous common perceptions about the language. The present study is conducted in a descriptive-analytical manner, with the aim of opening up a glimpse into the achievements of Russian Futurists, and seeks to answer the question of what Khlebnikov's linguistic explorations were, as one of the most prominent figures of Russian Futurism, and what outcomes his explorations had for Rusian language. Examining the poet's linguistic theories, it was concluded that his linguistic research had led to the expansion of the vocabulary system in Russian and the creation of a universal language called "zaum / meta-meaning", a language in which sound itself produces meaning. It was also concluded that without Khlebnikov's linguistic research, formalist theories would not have been able to emerge. According to this poet, consonants in words are more important than vowels; Especially the first consonant that guides the meaning of the whole word. According to Khlebnikov, words that begin with a similar consonant carry the same meaning.

1. Introduction
One of the ideas that Khlebnikov always pursued in his short life was the idea of ​​global unity. We can see the reflection of this idea not only in his poems, but also in his linguistic explorations and theories. He had a common universal belief, a language that connects all people. Zaum was in fact a collection of futurist poets' attempts to create a language of new poets that was able to properly express the poet's inner intentions. A language in which meaning is transferred exclusively to phonetics
       Khlebnikov was looking for a language in which sound and meaning could be connected unconditionally. In other words, Khlebnikov's idea was to create a universal grammar and, accordingly, a universal language. He thought that all languages ​​are based on a primary language and tried to reach the depths of the history of the language.
       Another Khlebnikov's idea for global unity was the creation of an Asian union. Khlebnikov always thought to Russia's necessary connection with the East, and he meant not only the strengthening of political and economic relations, but also the interaction of linguistic cultures. As Khlebnikov's poems and literary texts are adorned with words in Arabic, Persian and Turkish.
       There are four types of zaum:
- Phonetic zaum: when the combination of letters is not known with morphemes.
- Morphological zaum: The monosyllabic words (roots and vowels) are combined in such a way that the meaning of the resulting word is not largely defined.
- Syntaxical zaum: When using ordinary words, they are not used grammatically in a normal sentence and the nature of the relationship between the words is somehow unknown.
- Meta-syntaxical zaum: Despite the formal and grammatical correctness of structures consisting of ordinary words, a high degree of ambiguity is created at the reference level; In simpler terms, it is basically not clear what is being talked about.
       The theories of Potebnja (1835-1891), a Russian linguist, had a profound influence on the semantics and semiotics of later linguistic and literary circles. Khlebnikov's approach was not unaffected by Potebnja traditions. Potebnja believed that in the early stages of language, there was a clear and expressive connection between the sound and the meaning of words, which over time and the writing of words, this clarity has been lost and words have found a conventional meaning and become written signs. Khlebnikov, in fact, sought to revive that initial idea between the sound and the meaning of the word, which was hidden within the nature of each word and behind its sound.
       Khlebnikov's scientific-artistic explorations were mainly focused on the word. By working on the word and exploring its nature, he tried to discover the rules of organization and the creative development of language. Khlebnikov understood the word as a living nature, which one must creatively master and transform it.
       By searching the word as an independent force that forms part of nature, Khlebnikov penetrates not only the depths of the word, but also the human past, and rediscovers its historical roots, which are close to natural life.
       Khlebnikov had two principles for words:
1. The first consonant of a simple word guides the whole word.
2. Other words that start with the same consonant are united by the same concept and seem to go to the same point of mind from different angles.
       Therefore, the first sound of a word is more important to the poet than other letters of the word. In his view, the intrinsic motivation of the word is highly dependent on the sound of the first word, and the rest of the letters are under the control of the first letter.
The reason for the extensive research in the field of language and the attempt to create a poetic language and the evolution of theological creation in the time of the Futurists must be found in the critical conditions of the time in which poets and writers were caught, the crisis that led to the outbreak of wars and movements in the early twentieth century. The literary crisis was also one of the prominent manifestations of this and in the field of literature and art, it caused the creation of new aesthetic traditions. Thus the tendency of the Futurists, and especially of Khlebnikov, to reveal the hidden capabilities of language and to lead to a dramatic change in the field of poetic language.
Research Question(s)
In the present study, we seek to answer the question of what was Khlebnikov's linguistic research and what was its achievement for the Russian language. The research hypothesis is that Khlebnikov's linguistic innovations, despite the complexity, difficulty and need to decipher words, have been considered by young poets after him and his approach to language has become their model and has led to vocabulary enrichment and increase in vocabulary. Provided the creation of formalism. Therefore, with a descriptive-analytical approach, Khelebnikov's theories, achievements and linguistic and theological researches in Khelebnikov's articles and poems are examined.

2. Literature Review
            There has been no comprehensive research on Khlebnikov's linguistic research in Iran, and what is available focused on his literary and historical works. In "Peculiarities of Khlebnikov's mythopoetics" by Redkin, "On the epic and national-historical nature of Khlebnikov's poetry, the cosmism and philosophical nature of the French poet's literary thought" (Redikin, 2016, p. 10). In this study, which is in Russian language, the poet's views on Polish culture as well as the Idea of Public Unity are discussed, but the author has not commented on the poet's linguistic theories.
3. Methodology
            For Khlebnikov's research, descriptive-analytical features are taken from the ideas of great thinkers such as Jacobson, Shklovsky, Bakhtin, Vinokur, and others, and attempts are made to introduce and analyze the views of linguists through his articles and works.
4. Results
            From the present paper, based on the research question and hypothesis, the following results are obtained:
1. Formalism was not possible without Khlebnikov, so it is necessary to examine his linguistic theories. The linguistic techniques of the Russian formalists in the field of poetic language were based on the research of the Futurists.
2. Some of the achievements of formalism, which were mainly rooted in Khlebnikov's research, are:
- Play with language and words in poetry;
- "De-familiarization", which is based on the importance and recognition of each word, and the poet or writer, with linguistic tricks and accuracy in the sound of words, separates it from the everyday semantic burden;
- The use of ancient words, which is called archeology;
- Application of special and unfamiliar syntactic structure;
- Vocabulary innovation.
3. Khlebnikov's linguistic research on sounds and the creation of a universal language led to the expansion of the Russian lexical system, and he created many new words.
4. His achievements attracted the attention of poets and writers after him and even influenced other arts such as theater, painting and music and led to the creation of new styles in these arts. 
       Thus, Khlebnikov's research in lexicography and lexicography was a search for a clear way to lead him to solve the problems of the world language, one of which was to create a "zaum" in this study for the first time in Iran in detail with linguistic research of this prominent figure. Futurists were dealt with in the field of lexicography.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Linguistics
Published: 2022/10/2

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