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Abstract

A Romanian bishop of Georgian origin, Antim Ivireanul was an accomplished xylographer, painter, illuminator, embroiderer and orator; he is best known for a collection of 35 homilies whose literary and stylistic merits have already been amply discussed in the literature. However, there is a research gap which is rather paradoxical, given the relative richness of Antim-related scholarship: so far, his writings have only been analysed from theological, stylistic, or literary theoretic perspectives. What is missing is a linguistic approach, which could shed new light on certain facts, which have either been treated as purely stylistic, rhetorical, or pertaining to homiletic conventions, or simply ignored.

My aim is twofold: to question some of the ideas put forth (or taken for granted) by previous researchers, and to start a linguistic investigation of unexplored areas. As an illustration of the first point, I would like to suggest that some of the phrases considered to be 'metaphoric' and dealt with as a matter of rhetoric are in fact calqued from Church Slavonic. My second aim is to investigate the transitional stage of Romanian captured by Antim's sermons and correspondence. Antim supported the use of Romanian in church; he certainly delivered his sermons in Romanian and printed remarkable Romanian translations of fundamental service books. My intention is to investigate to what extent the phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary of the Romanian spoken/written by Antim evince any effects of this overlap i.e., an overview of the state of the language, with due attention paid to genre constraints. A tentative selection of relevant language phenomena includes: the reinforcement of the phoneme [h] under Greek influence; the (non)occurrence of Old Church Slavonic "soft yer" in final position in the plural of nouns; (the gerund of) iotacized verbs; verbs switching from one class to another (examples abound); class-switching adjectives and the regularization of adjectival paradigms; determiner spreading (in Antim's sermons, the definite article enclicitizes both on the adjective and on the noun in modifier-modified sequences, as in Greek, but unlike modern Romanian); the distribution of clitics and auxiliaries; word-formation processes; morphological productivity; loan translations.

A strictly linguistic view does not suffice; given the topic, multidisciplinarity is a prerequisite. I expect recourse to theoretical and methodological tools belonging to areas such as diachronic linguistics, comparative philology, Byzantine studies, the history of the church.

Introduse de Ioana Costache:

  • Tracking the progress of a polarity shift in Romanian
  • The Ultimate Pledge: a diachronic view of performativity in Romanian legal documents
  • An insight into 18th century Romanian as illustrated in the sermons and correspondence of Antim Ivireanu, Metropolitan Bishop of Wallachia (c. 1660 1716)
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    Ioana Costache: Tracking the progress of a polarity shift in Romanian
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