The subject of modern official Russian: Who is he/she?




state communication, official style, sociolinguistics, metaphor of the state, texts of documents


The article examines one of the constituent features of a modern Russian official text — its impersonality. Depersonalization in documents, rooted in the comparison of the state with a mechanism, has made entire official communication “mechanistic”. Communication (in a broad sense) between the state and the citizen is becoming more and more ritualized, more and more distant from life. The article focuses on impersonality as the key category of a modern document in the dynamic aspect. In other words, it traces the reasons and main stages for the transformation of a natural language into a “mechanistic” language of official communication, which directly depends on the political and ideological structure of the state. Until the 18th century, the official language was predominantly oral with legal proceedings, the conclusion of contracts and transactions as well as management done through speech communication. If necessary, the results were recorded in writing, reflecting the personal contact of the participants, the direct nature of the expression of will and the peculiarities of speech. The modern Russian official language goes back to the times of Peter the Great. His epoch created the conditions for the formation and progressive development of the “mechanistic” type of communication in the official domain. Now, personal agreement and personal relations of stakeholders no longer had the same role: the “ritual” rules of new official communication fixed in the document now ruled the world. These changes manifested themselves in the consistent replacement of the primordially colloquial units of an official text with bookish words, often borrowed, which gradually alienated an official text from the “natural” course of Russia’s social life. The official language is becoming more and more professionally oriented: special terminology is being developed, a separate system of signs alien to natural speech is being formed. There is an opinion that as the mechanistic metaphor of the state is gaining momentum, the “human” is leaving the sphere of official communication. However, as the social function remains, civic responsibility is replaced by social responsibility. The moral character of official communication is becoming increasingly lost, acquiring exclusively legal, largely dependent on special (code) wordings in a written document.



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Modern Lexicography