The Category of Person in Poetry of Lesia Ukrainka

© The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 40(1), 2020, pp. 19-36

The Category of Person in Poetry of Lesia Ukrainka

Darchuk Natalia

Article first published online: December 01, 2020 

Additional information

 Author Information: 

Darchuk Natalia, Doctor of Philology, professor, professor of Department of Ukrainian Lan¬guage and Applied Linguistic in Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Correspondence:

Darchuk, N. The Category of Person in Poetry of Lesia Ukrainka [Text] // Linhvistychni Studiyi / Linguistic Studies : collection of scientific papers / Vasyl' Stus 
Donetsk National University; Ed. by Anatoliy Zahnitko. Vinnytsia : Vasyl' Stus DonNU, 2020. Vol. 40(1). Pp. 19-36. ISBN 966-7277-88-7


Publication History:

Volume first published online: December 01, 2020
Article received: July 01, 2020, accepted: August 01, 2020 and first published online: December 01, 2020


У статті праналізовано категорію особи у прижиттєвій творчості Лесі Українки на основі корпусу текстів української мови. Розглянуто засоби вираження семантики займенни¬ків як чинники ідіостилю поетеси. Наведено фрагмент створеного ідеографічного словника, наповненого дієслівною лексикою з частотними характеристиками поетичного стилю Лесі Українки.

Keywords: addressee, originator, egocentrism, pronoun, ideographic dictionary, category of a person, text corpus, predicate, frequency.



Natalia Darchuk

          Department of Ukrainian Language and Applied Linguistic, Taras Shevchenko National Uni­versity of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine.


          Background: The category of a person plays an exceptionally important role in the language of poetry; it is the category of a person by the nature of the use of its grammatical person that: 1) dis­tinguishes between such art forms as poetry and epics; 2) forms different types of lyrics with dif­ferent uses of grammatical persons; 3) highlightsthe poet’s style by originality in the use of per­sonality forms; 4) plays a significant role in the formation of meaning and the overall composition of lyrical poems.

          Purpose: research of the category of a person in the lifetime works of Lesia Ukrainka on the basis of her text corpus Ukrainian posted at

Results: Based on the material of the collections of the lifetime edition (the total text length is 55,638 word usages), the Frequency Dictionary comprising 5,515 words was compiled, and quanti­tative data on the use of personal pronouns were obtained, the most frequent of which appeared to be I, thou, we, you, which, together with the context, became the source material. All 142 verses and poems have been analyzed by type of text (egotic, appealing, mixed and those using pronouns he, she, it, they). Studies have shown that the majority of texts (78.1% of 142) are the texts of mixed type, which is the evidence of increased intratextual communicativeness. The plot organization of lyrical texts with the allocation of plot schemes with "I" and "thou" centerswas also analyzed. The content of the poetic category of a person is determinedby a factor such as a predicate to pro­nouns. From the contexts of Lesia Ukrainka's corpus, the predicates to the pronoun I (484 contexts, of which 409 are expressed by verbs) and to the pronoun thou (208 contexts and 153 verbs) were selected separately.The most characteristic for both pronouns in the predicative position are the verbs of the mental sphere (15.7% / 19.1%). Such predicates for the words I thouindicate a focus on learning of the world. In the second place for both pronouns is occupied by thewilldomain (14.7% / 7.6%), the verbs of which are more frequent in combination with the pronoun I. The third place is heldby verbs of the existential spheredomain for the pronoun I (8.6%): to be (23), which usually plays the role of a connective verb, and interpersonal relations (7%) for the pronoun thou. It is proved that the abstract-conceptual semantics of personalization, i.e. direct participants of the speech act of the subject and the object, is realized almost equally in the syntagmatic combinability with the semantics of predicates. The semantics of predicates are evidence of the priorities of Lesia Ukrainka's poetic personality. The study of the category of a person in the poetry of Lesia Ukrainka allows us to draw conclusions about the peculiarities of usinga grammatical person in lyrical poetry in comparison with its common use. It can be argued that there are complex connections that exist between the content of the lyrical I and the ways of its expression. On the one hand, I is always present in the text, but on the other hand, the formal ways of expressing I are limitless. They play a significant role in the indi­vidual poetics and idiosyncrasy of the writer. The nature of connections between I and predi­cates has its own individual features in the poetic system of Lesia Ukrainka (the connection between the direc­tion of the poet's worldview and the formal structure of the category of a person; there is an "asym­metry", which is a disproportion between the content and expression of the category of a per­son).

Discussion: Consideration of the functioning aspects of the category of a person in Lesia Ukrainka’s lyrics testifies to the complex relationship between the content of the lyrical I, thou, and the ways of their expression. The excessive number of first-person forms is connected with the author's position regarding the world, with her worldview. The prospects for further research are, firstly, to continue the analysis of pronouns in connection with the issue of co-reference, and second­ly, to analyze the other grammatical categories based on the material of Lesia Ukrainka's text corpus in order to clarify the features of her idiostyle.

Keywords: addressee, originator, egocentrism, pronoun, ideographic dictionary, category of a person, text corpus, predicate, frequency.


Natalia Darchuk, Doctor of Philology, professor, professor of Department of Ukrainian Lan­guage and Applied Linguistic in Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Her areas of research interests include applied linguistics and computational linguistics.




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