Hypoverbalisation as a Principle of Meaning Construction in Short Literary Texts
Keywords:literary text; short prose; hypoverbalisation; author-reader interaction; linguistic creativity
The authors consider short prose, an intensively developing multifaceted genre of both traditional and digital literature. There are no strict limitations as regards its volume, so it may vary from a number of pages to a sentence. To function, texts with high levels of “hypoverbalisation” (intentional scarcity of verbal representation) rely on the assumption that readers share some common core knowledge and life experience, including knowledge of other literary texts, with the author and are capable of logical analysis and reflection. Thus, in short prose, the reader in fact becomes a co-author, reconstructing the facts and events of the text, and an interpreter, structuring and shaping the space of the text. The main methods to compress the text are references to the reader’s life experience, background pragmatic and scholarly knowledge, and precedent phenomena. The paper focuses on the particularly interesting phenomenon of discourse transformation. A text created by author-1 as a non-literary text is perceived by reader-1 and identified as a text with literary value; in this case, reader-1 becomes author-2 and presents a text residing on another level to the reader. The public’s attention to this kind of literature has given rise to a number of websites that publish quotes from real emails, text messages, forums, chats, life stories, short philosophic essays, and comments on events. Such quotations often include metalinguistic humour, which may indicate users’ increased interest in transformational processes in the contemporary Russian language. It is also a demonstration of their linguistic creativity, reflected in the coining of new lexical units, providing existing words with new meanings, and the innovative use of graphics.