A New Approach to the Typology of Nonce Words (on the Base of Ukrainian Poetical Discourse)

© The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 35, 2018, pp.  

A New Approach to the Typology of Nonce Words (on the Base of Ukrainian Poetical Discourse)

Vilchynska Tetyana

Article first published online: June 06, 2018 

Additional information

 Author Information: 

Vilchynska Tetyana, Master of Philology, postgraduate student of Ukrainian Language Department at Poltava V. G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University, speciality – Philology (Linguistics). Correspondence: yuliia_hryshko@ukr.net

Vilchynska, T. A New Approach to the Typology of Nonce Words (on the Base of Ukrainian Poetical Discourse) [Text] // Linhvistychni Studiyi / Linguistic Studies : collection of scientific papers / Donetsk National University; Ed. by Anatoliy Zahnitko. Vinnytsia : Vasyl' Stus DonNU, 2018. Vol. 35. Pp. 101-106ISBN 966-7277-88-7

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31558/1815-3070.2018.35.14

Publication History:

Volume first published online: June 06, 2018
Article received: March 18, 2018, accepted: May 15, 2018 and first published online: June 06, 2018


Виділено основні аспекти сучасних досліджень у галузі оказіоналістики. Проаналізовано класифікації оказіоналізмів, які пропонують Н. Бабенко, О. Ликов, О. Стишов, Л. Павленко, В. Ізотов. Укладено розширену класифікацію фонетичних оказіоналізмів, яка є суттєвим доповненням до загальної класифікації. Схарактеризовано кожний тип індивідуально-авторських одиниць на прикладах вокально-консонантних новотворів українських поетів М. Семенка, Ґ. Шкурупія, Б.-І. Антонича, Ю. Шпола, В. Неборака, Ю. Андруховича, О. Ірванця, І. Римарука, Ю. Позаяка, С. Жадана та ін.

Keywords: occasionalism, phonetic occasionalism, classification of phonetic occasionalisms, criterion of occasionality, Ukrainian poetical discourse.



Yuliia Hryshko

Ukrainian Language Department, Poltava V. G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University, Poltava, Ukraine


Background: The scientific researches in the field of neology, neography and occasionalistics are active in the modern linguistics but the research of phonetic occasionalisms (nonce words) is an actual problem. There is definition of phonetic nonce word in linguistic but still without detail describing and classification.

Purpose: The purpose of the research is to distinguish phonetic nonce words in the common classification of occasionalisms and to describe them with giving examples from Ukrainian poetical discourse.

Results: We have analyzed 1500 pages of Ukrainian poetical discourse. As the main method for selection of phonetic occasionalisms we used continuous sampling method which makes it possible to classify phonetic occasionalisms into six groups: 1) direct phonetic occasionalisms; 2) phonetic occasionalisms on the base of sound-imitation and sound-reproducing; 3) phonetic occasionalisms on the base of word inner form transformation; 4) phonetic occasionalisms on the base of alliterations and assonances; 5) phonetic occasionalisms of allusion type; 6) complex phonetic and graphic occasional combinations which include the features of two or more above-mentioned types of occasionalisms. The second and fifth groups have also sub-groups. The second group of occasionalisms includes: phonetic occasionalisms which represent sound effect of a human voice/steps etc.; phonetic occasionalisms which represent sound effect of nature (birds, animals, rain, thunder etc.); phonetic occasionalisms which represent sound effect of different machines and mechanism (clockwork, car etc.). The fifth group includes: graphic occasionalisms; quasi-nomination; juxtaposition; combinations of different types.

Discussion: Ukrainian poetical discourse is characterized by functioning of different types of occasionalisms which have place on all language levels – from phonetic to syntactic. Lexical nonce words and phonetic occasionalisms are the most active stylistic units in Ukrainian poetry. In our future researches we will describe correlations of lexical and phonetic nonce words in belletristic literature.

Keywords: occasionalism, phonetic occasionalism, classification of phonetic occasionalisms, criterion of occasionality, Ukrainian poetical discourse. 


Yuliia Hryshko is Master of Philology, postgraduate student of Ukrainian Language Department at Poltava V. G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University, speciality – Philology (Linguistics). Her area of research interests include: text linguistics, phonetics, stylistics, psycholinguistics, pedagogics, Ukrainian folk-lore, Old Slavonic mythology.

Correspondence: yuliia_hryshko@ukr.net.


Юлія Гришко

УДК 81’38’42




Виділено основні аспекти сучасних досліджень у галузі оказіоналістики. Проаналізовано класифікації оказіоналізмів, які пропонують Н. Бабенко, О. Ликов, О. Стишов, Л. Павленко, В. Ізотов. Укладено розширену класифікацію фонетичних оказіоналізмів, яка є суттєвим доповненням до загальної класифікації. Схарактеризовано кожний тип індивідуально-авторських одиниць на прикладах вокально-консонантних новотворів українських поетів М. Семенка, Ґ. Шкурупія, Б.-І. Антонича, Ю. Шпола, В. Неборака, Ю. Андруховича, О. Ірванця, І. Римарука, Ю. Позаяка, С. Жадана та ін.

Ключові слова: оказіоналізм, фонетичний оказіоналізм, класифікація фонетичних оказіоналізмів, критерій оказіональності, український поетичний дискурс.


The linguistics of the last decades is characterized by an activation of researches in the fields of neology, neography and nonce word studies. In connection with this, there is an urgent need to establish a terminological and conceptual apparatus, devoid of any ambiguity of interpretation, as well as the development of clear definition of the category “occasionality”. On the basis of the review of modern linguistic studies devoted to the processes of the individually author’s nomination, scientific works can be grouped in accordance with the aspects of the solved problems:

1) the substantiation of the term “nonce word” (“occasionalism”), the differentiation between the terms “nonce word”, “neologism”, “potential word” (scientific articles by O. Turchak, Zh. Koloiz, V. Hladka, K. Nykytchenko, O. Kosovych, N. Belova, V. Zerula);

2) functioning of occasionalisms in political, advertising texts and mass-media (works by N. Yemchura, T. Krutko, L. Kravchuk, Yu. Kaluzhynska, L. Diadechko, O. Siredzhuuk, O. Styshov, P. Nissile);

3) nonce-words in the fairy-tale genre and fantasy (researches by I. Denysova, I. Aleksandruk, A. Zubryk, D.-E. Vladu);

4) problems of translation of occasional units (works by O. Turchak, A. Zubryk, D. Mymrina, A. Vaseeva);

5) children’s occasional word-building (articles by K. Krutii, O. Kosovych, I. Denysovets, O. Mokliak);

6) lexical occasionalisms in poetry (scientific works by H. Vokalchuk, I. Loshchynova, I. Brailko, L. Pavlenko).

The second and sixth aspect groups have the highest level of scientific elaboration. The least investigated is the sound organization of belletristic communication texts. So, the connotative semantic-pragmatic parameters of Ukrainian poetic language were researched by L. Ukrainets. The problem of phonetic occasionalisms (hereinafter – OPh.U, Ph.NW) using in poetic discourse still remains unrepresentative in linguistic results by Ukrainian and foreign researchers.

The purpose of the article is to determine the place of phonetic occasionalisms in the general classification of author’s innovations, to classify vocal-consonant occasional units.

The material for our research is Ukrainian poetical discourse of 20th – 21st centuries.

The scientific usage of the concept of “occasionalism” begins since the end of the 19th century, when in 1880 the work by German linguist G. Paul “Principles of the History of Language” was published (Paul). In 1926 the term “occasional” was used by R. Shor in the work “Language and Society” (Shor). However, strengthening the position of the definition “occasionalism” is associated with the name N. Feldman, who in 1957 (in the article “Nonce Words and Lexicography”) initiated the study of occasional vocabulary from the point of view of theory (Feldman).

Problems of nonce words classification are actively investigated from the end of the 20th century. To date, there are several groups of occasionalisms. Thus, N. Babenko distinguished 5 types of occasional units:

1) phonetic occasionalisms;

2) lexical occasionalisms;

3) grammatical occasionalisms;

4) semantic occasionalisms;

5) occasional word-combinations (Babenko).

Some researchers distinguish graphoderivatives (Izotov 83), or graphosementisms (Vokalschuk 26), occasionalisms focused on graphic (Styshov 49). H. Vokalchuk adds quasinomination and neoborrowing (Vokalchyk 26). L. Pavlenko and A. Lykov extend the classification by juxtapositions (Pavlenko 38; Lykov 11).

The Slavonic linguist E. Zemskaya among the causes of occasionalisms’ rise calls the non-normative use of derivational models, which is associated with an insufficient level of language learning (for example, children’s occasional word formation) or conversely, with an extremely high level of language proficiency and the desire to language renovation (for example, writers) (Zemskaya 59). Individually author’s innovations become the most complete design of the latent language resources, enriching the “arsenal” of expressive means (Brailko 61).

Occasionalisms in poetical communication are formed by a non-productive model (Hanych 165), which promotes to the amplification of the expressiveness of a word innovation (that has an inherent character); that is, occasional units are expressive in themselves due to the peculiarities of the internal word-building structure (Hladka 24). Based on the existing derivative potential of the language, poets expand the sphere of effect of word-building schemes and models (Brailko 61). However, OPh.U are a completely separate kind of author’s innovations, because they not only neutralize the linguistic norm, but also often formed on the pattern of author’s model, which does not even exist in the language.

Modern Ukrainian poetical discourse has absorbed the most diverse types of occasional units, since masters of artistic word tend to “non-stereotype” reproduction of the surrounding world (Brailko 57).

We propose our own classification of Ph.NW, in which we pay special attention to the understudied component – OPh.U.

On the basis of a linguistic analysis of 1500 pages of Ukrainian poetry discourse the Ph.NW were selected by the continuous sampling method. By classifying these sound individually author’s new poetical discoveries, we were guided by 3 criteria:

1) the degree of deviation from usage;

2) the presence of assonances and alliterations;

3) cooperation with other levels of language.

Based on these criteria and on the above described classifications, the OPh.U are divided into 6 main groups, some of which are subdivided into subgroups:

1. Actual phonetic occasionalisms, or direct phonetic occasionalisms.

2. OPh.U at the level of sound-reproducing and sound-imitation (onomatopoeia) have 3 varieties:

2.1. OPh.U for the representation of human actions (voice, steps, etc.);

2.2. OPh.U, which simulate the sounds of wildlife (voices of animals, birds, natural phenomena);

2.3. OPh.U, which form the acoustic impression of the movement of machines and mechanisms (like clockwork, car, etc.).

3. OPh.U, connected with the change of the inner form of the word.

4. O.Ph.U of an allusion type.

5. OPh.U on the base of alliterations and assonances.

6. Complex occasional graphic-phonetic formations, including:

6.1. Occasionalisms focused on graphic form;

6.2. Quasinomination;

6.3. Juxtaposition;

6.4. Combining several types of above-mentioned OPh.U.

Let’s consider each type of Ph.NW on examples, selected from the Ukrainian poetical discourse.

1. Actual, or direct OPh.U, is a type of occasional novelties that has a zero interpretation outside the context. This type is fully optimized for the effect of acoustic and articulatory properties of sounds (Hryshko 254–255). That is, the author creates a kind of poetic play with sound (Kachurovskyi 186). For example, as completely occasional poem “Lialia” (“Baby”) by G. Shkurupii, in which the artist most actively uses Ukrainian consonant sound [l] and vowels [i], [a] that create a positively marked aesthetic modality (Ukrainets 195) exactly thanks to acoustic and articulatory characteristics of these sounds:


льоль льоль

лієллі лієллі <…>

ае еа ео лєллі <…>

лілє люліт лілят лінґ <…>


льоль льоль

мойреюль анц ой

канц канц (Shkurupii).

2. OPh.U on the base of sound-imitation and sound-reproducing are different from the traditional (which often used in fiction and easily recognizable outside the context). For example, with the help of sound-reproducing, M. Semenko in his poetical work “Virsh” (“The Poem”) simulates the noise of tires, and Yu. Shpol in the poem “Sumom smerekovykh sniv…” (“By the Sadness of Fir Dreams…”)the tick of the clock:


дмухкало пирхкало


шипіло шумно за машиною <…> (Semenko 149);

<…> І нудно, нудно нудотою

Нидінням зодягнених неділь…


Діль! Неділь!

Дірлім-бом-бом, дірлім бом-бом! <…>

Чвірк! – чичітка-чітко-чітка

є у дзвона бом: -

 - Бім-бом. Бім-бом-бом. Бім… бо<…> (Shpol 72).

B.-I. Antonych in the poem “Popid namy, popid namy…” (“Under Us, Under Us…”) combines the sound-reproduction of human voice and human steps:

<…> Попід нами, попід нами


жовто іде

шр, шр, шр,


шр, шр, шр.

Ту, том, де, вперед

все, все, шр, шр <…>.

Стаєм, шепочем, свищем

с, с, с <…> (Antonych 251252).

B.-I. Antonychch perfect simulates in his poetical works the sounds of nature, such as the noise of water, which in connection with alliteration sh [∫], increases the lexeme shum (noise):

Шумить і шамотить шумка шума,

шум прибирає, як весною повінь <…>

Шпарка шурнула шурубура шуму <…> (Antonych 67).

3. OPh.U, connected with the transformation of the word inner form, are based on intentional substitution by the author of the normatively expected phonemes. For example:

<…> Я зупиняю механізм. Я касу замикаю.

Микаю-за. Ка-ю-ми-за <…> (Andrukhovych, “Ekzotychni Ptakhy i Roslyny” 6).

There is also a model of direct author’s occasional metathesis in this poem.

Another example of a OPh.U of this type intensifies the effect on the addressee owing to the alternation of regulatory for this context Ukrainian voiced sounds d [d], zh [ʒ], b [b] with their unvoiced correlates. This creates the effect of specific articulatory stylization like in German language:

<…> отин трупач,

тфох шофніріф,

ропітникіф <…> (Andrukhovych, “Moia Ostannia Terytoriia” 28).

4. OPh.U of an allusion type are similar to folk genres (charms, glossolalias, meditations, folk ritual songs, etc.):

<…> шабадабада шабадабада      

шаба даба да (Irvanets 69).

The frequent for this type of PhNW in the Ukrainian poetical discourse are a repetition lada, dana that have ancient history of mythical poetical creativity. After all, lada is an appeal to the Old Slavonic goddess of world harmony, beauty and love Lada. This appeal is common in the Ukrainian calendar-ritual poetry of the spring cycle (Voitovych 271). Dana is a goddess of water and rivers, and an appeal to her is also inherent in Ukrainian ritual (Voitovych 125):

<…>тра-ля-ля, леле, дана-дана!.. (Andrukhovych, “Moia Ostannia Terytoriia” 21);

<…> І зоря таємну має владу.

Ляда. Чоколяда. Коляда (Andrukhovych, “Moia ostannia terytoriia” 32).

In the poem by Yu. Andrukhovych, there is also the appeal to Koliada, which is not accidental: Koliada is an Old Slavic god, who begins a new agricultural year (Voitovych 240). As you can see, OPh.U can acquire sacral semantics.

5. OPh.U based on alliterations and assonances often combines with direct OPh.U and OPh.U at the level of sound-reproducing and onomatopoeia, duplicating their vocal-consonant structure and acting as an important constructive means (Koptilov 214). The usual repetition of homogeneous sounds is relatively neutral, but related to other elements of emotionally colored speech, in the system it becomes an element of the strengthening of this emotionality (Timofeev 33):


вибирає любо

проповідує любе

і кохає Лі Бо

лю бо лю


бо <…>



юрбу <…> (Neborak 309)

6. Complex graphic-phonetic occasional formations in the Ukrainian poetical discourse are like basis for the construction of logogriphs, meso-poems, pseudosegmentations, poetry-conglomerates, etc. (“Literaturoznavchyi Slovnyk-Dovidnyk”).

For example, poetical works by V. Neborak is marked by the functioning of a large number of complex graphic-phonetic occasional units. Thus, in the poem “Bubon” (“Tambourine”) poet with a pragmatic aim to influence on addressee simulates the mood of protest, first of all using the intensification of the labial consonant [b] and labialized vowel [u]:

<…> БУ дифірамБАм БУ таБУ

Вам зуби вставить БУБАБУ <…>

БУ смерті і безсмертю БУ

і БУ і БА і БУБАБУ (Neborak 304)

Phonetic accentuated occasionalisms, which are components of the logogriph, are active in the poem “Vona Pidnimaietsia Yak Holova…” (“It Goes Up Like A Head…”), in which the author gradual makes short the phrase “Ya litaiucha holova” (“I am a flying head”):

<…> Бруківку темну свято полоще

і в небеса Ренесансу гряде






АО А О (Neborak 306).

Such a logogriph, however, without graph-accented occasionalism, is in the creative work by Yu Pozaiak. The author builds a poem on the gradual shorting of refrain phrases “Prykhodte do mene zavtra! Ya rozkazhu vam pravdu!” (“Come to me tomorrow! I will tell you a truth!”). The poet shorted these phrases at the end of the work to direct Ph.NW:

Приходьте до мене завтра!

Я розкажу вам правду!

Приходьте до мене автра

Я розкажу вам равду!

Пи одьте о мее авра

Я оза жу ам аву!

Пи о те о мее ава

Я ао жу а ау!

И о е о ее аа!

Я оа у а ау! (Pozaiak)

The quasinominations and juxtapositions are spreading linguistic units in the Ukrainian poetical discourse. For example, O. Irvanets in his poem “Proshchalnyi Romans” (“Parting Romance”) combines quasinomination with pseudosegmentation :

 «Навіщо ти кидаєш милу,


Це ж, може, остання любов,

Тожнекидайїї!..» (Irvanets 21)

I. Rymaruk in his poetical work “Hlosolaliia” (“Glossolalia”) uses only quasinomination as a Ph.O:

<…> даремна хода тверда не тут

освітить межу заповітну


істинновамкажу <…> (Rymaruk 206).

The modern “Internet-poet” Ze Ja creates the original compound by combining graph-accented occasionalism and quasinomination:

<…> Все-таки перегляну КАВИ-НЕ-ВЖИВАННЯ

І додаватиму трохи

Сонця в напій <…> (Ze Ja 32).

The most frequent component of juxtapositions is a semantically marked lexeme мама (mamma) that (combining with its part of juxtaposition) forms a special stylistic effect thanks to assonances of Ukrainian vowel [a]. From the point of view of Ukrainian phonetic semantics, vowel [a] has a positive associative meaning for Ukrainian native speakers (Ukrainets 73). For example, there are assonances [a] in the structure of juxtapositions in the poems by S. Zhadan (there are 3 Ukrainian vowels [a] among 4 vowels of juxtaposition), O. Irvanets (all 5 vowels of juxtaposition are represented by [a]), and Yu. Andrukhovych (there are 5 Ukrainian vowels [a] among 5 vowels of juxtaposition, too):

мама/кока з тобою листя цибулі

мокрі волокна бавовни овочів і морів <…>

мама/кока якщо ти дихаєш зябрами ти ковтаєш

воду ніби вино і чорний хліб немов наживку <…>

воском лежать небеса воском і шоколадом

любов мама/кока дорожча аніж виправдання <…> (Zhadan 109);

<…> Є одна Україна-ненька,

Але є ще й Панама-мама. <…>

І нарколога, і наркомана –

Всіх нас криє мама-Панама. <…> (Irvanets 60);

<…> по сей бік багама-мама

по той бік пальми гаїті <…> (Andrukhovych, Ekzotychni Ptakhy i Roslyny” 81).

Thus, occasional nonce words in Ukrainian poetical discourse are a productive mean of phono-stylistics. While they exercise a pragmatic function, enhances emotional expression. The highest level of context including have phonetic occasionalisms. There are six types of vowel and consonant novelties in Ukrainian poetical communication. Within the context of one poetic work include at least two types of nonce words. Certain types of O.Ph.U are based on lexical and grammatical individual-author’s units. Our research is not limited to the obtained results and it is oriented on further detailing of phonetic occasionalisms’ classification, as well as on the description of the interaction of occasional units at phonetic language level (as the base one) with units at other levels, in particular lexical.



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List of Sources

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List of Abbreviations

OPh.U –occasional phonetic unit

Ph.NW – phonetic nonce word

Надійшла до редакції 18 березня 2018 року.