Rhetorical Platforms and the Development of the Russian Literary Language: Judicial Oratory

How institutional discourses influence culture and language

Georgii Khazagerov
Doctor of Philology, Professor
This article attempts to confirm the hypothesis that large communicative platforms serving as the bases for the forms of polemic rhetoric (deliberative and forensic eloquence in their broad sense) are crucial for the development of literary language and language in general. In this respect, the particular interest lies in the history of the Russian language, sincethe fate of the polemics in Russia was dramatic due to its late emergence and the rapid development in the nineteenth century, the gradual evolution at the beginning of the twentieth century, the totalitarian period, the Khrushchev Thaw, the unbalanced development during the late Soviet period, the post-Soviet era and the active spread of internet platforms.

Anna Bondareva
Ph.D. student, Master of Philology
This article focuses on the Russian judicial oratory, which appeared after the Judicial Reform of 1864 and whose great impact on the language went far beyond the limits of courtroom speeches. Apart from that, the notions of rhetorical platform and rhetorical situation are
analysed along with the idea of language development itself.
Stylistic and Discursive Approach to Courtroom Speeches
Traditionally, in the courses of the history of the Russian language, literary works of a particular author are used as turning point indicators. Some generalized "social processes", which become the direct sources of the vocabulary replenishment are also mentioned. However, the real sources of lexical, syntactic or semantic innovations (the extension of the noetic space of the language and enrichment of its conceptual sphere [Likhachov 1993: 3-9]) are obviously the discourses – the forges of language "immersed in life" [Arutyunova 2002: 136-137]. These discourses are localized within the communicative platforms that stay in different relations with each other but still belong to one discursive sphere of national language.

For example, the legal discourse in post-reform Russia was localized around the institution of jury. Nevertheless, it was closely connected with literary critical discourse. On the one hand, it accumulated the best of literature and literary criticism and, on the other, it was the subject of artistic reflection itself. Such features of literary realism as the description of personality development or social typification can be easily traced in legal speeches. Conversely, in literary works, e.g. in F.M. Dostoevsky's novel The Karamazov Brothers, we can find the portrayal of the jury trial and the courtroom speeches. The periodicals of that time covered the court cases and cited the judicial orators. And, finally, parliamentary discourse, localized within the Duma (1906–1917), revealed its affinity with legal discourse. So this is how legal discourse became
incorporated into the national language and literature.

The given article starts the series of works aimed at defining the role of various rhetorical platforms in the development of the Russian language. This particular paper discusses the legal discourse in post-reform Russia. In this respect, the most interesting work is the Essays on the History of Russian Literary Language: From the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century, the analysis of the publicistic style evolution conducted by the academician V.V. Vinogradov [Vinogradov 1982]. However, our focus will remain not on style but on discourses as they are vibrant phenomena connected with the life of different communities (but not with the abstract life of various "spheres" as viewed in functional stylistics) [Khazagerov 2014: 116-127]. Each of these communities faces the problems of adaptation, survival, evolution, and involution, and these issues lie outside stylistics and functional stylistics with its regulatory approach. Polemic
genres play crucial role in these processes [Khazagerov 2017: 348-360].
Rhetorical View on Monologue and Dialogue in Judicial Oratory
Vinogradov's idea, which has become commonplace, is that the second half of the nineteenth century was connected with the development of opinion journalism and widening of literary language borders. Lexical units initially belonging to different usage spheres started to infiltrate intothe language of literature. It was separation from the old system in respect tonorms and rhetorical schemes. However, the new forms had not yet been created [Vinogradov 1982]. In his another work V.V. Vinogradov highlights the significance of dialogue: "When types of social and cultural speech communication are exquisite and sophisticated, monologue becomes the gates through which new words from foreign languages, dialects, and jargons, new expressions and constructions summoned by the demand for expressive effect enter the language" [Vinogradov
1981]. Here monologue is understood not as the author's monologue speech like in M.M. Bakhtin's interpretation but just as an enlarged utterance in a dialogue. Accusatory and defense speeches belong exactly to this type. Vinogradov himself mentions the forensic oratory further in his work and makes references to the books by A.F. Koni [Koni 1912] and P. Sergeich [Sergeich 1988].

The enlargement of utterance does really matter because as the bright representative of the Russian formalism L.P. Yakubinskiy points out, monologue implies "disposition, an arrangement of speech units" [Yakubinskiy 1923: 144], i.e. rhetorical disposition called into being by polemics.

In the existing language situation, legal discourse was one of the most productive one since courtroom speeches combined the elements of various discourses from literary to popular-scientific and everyday discourse. Within legal discourse there took place the processes that Y.M. Lotman considered the most important for the development of semiosphere – translation from everyday language to legal and vice versa [Lotman 2000]. Similar ideas were expressed in Vinogradov's Essays. It is also worth noting that such an everlasting problem as a choice between lexical borrowing and purism was raised at the beginning of the twentieth century in the context of legal discourse. Opposing the "destruction of the language", V.I. Lenin directly follows P. Sergeich's work already mentioned above [Lenin 1919].

Being a dialogue by its nature, courtroom speech, which anticipates possible objections, has a form of monologue and it enables the author to prepare his speech and plan its structure. Such a combination of dialogue and monologue features is particularly productive from the viewpoint of language development.

Nevertheless, specialized literature hardly pays any attention to the role of legal discourse. Historians of language usually either follow the existing tradition and place interaction between literature and opinion journalism in the forefront [Kovalevskaya 1992] or they represent legal discourseas a derivative from government discourse, which is opposed to the style of cultural figures [Meshcherskiy 1981]. We find this point of view disputable because a lot of famous judicial orators were directly involved in opinion journalism and literary criticism, and it is hardly possible to admit that the form of their works was a pure derivation of the language of "bureaucratic circular notes" [Meshcherskiy 1981]. Here we face yet unsolved problem of low status of legal language. Let us compare this with an unusual suggestion of human rights activist V.F. Abramkin, who proposed to bring legal language and prison slang together
in order to avoid the opacity of the former [Abramkin 2007].

Contemporary researchers approach this issue predominantly from the
point of functional stylistics but this approach does not meet the objectives of
this article.
Rhetorical Platform, Rhetorical Situation and Polemic Culture
Under rhetorical platform we understand an institutionalized rhetorical situation.

The notion rhetorical situation was first introduced by Lloyd Bitzer in 1968 [Bitzer 1968: 1-14] and was actively discussed by Richard E Vatz [Vatz 1973: 154-161], Scott Consigny [Consigny 1974: 175-186], and Keith GrantDavie [Grant-Davie 1997: 264-279]. The matter under dispute concerned the definition of the notion and the components of rhetorical situation. It seems that by the 1990s the interest in this subject had declined andnothing new has been introduced ever since.

Nowadays, we find the following definition in the global network: "The rhetorical situation is the context of a rhetorical event that consists of an issue, an audience, and a set of constraints" [Wikipedia]. This definition reflects the same tendency for the atomization of communicative activity that manifested itself in much more famous theory of speech acts.

As far as we are concerned, we are more interested in lasting processes and their interaction with culture. That is why rhetorical situations that turned into dynamic institutions are so important for us. Accusatory and defense speeches at jury trials can be taken as examples of these institutions. Rhetorical situation that lies in their core has strictly defined context, its own agenda, the specific audience, and regulated conditions. In general, it can be viewed as a frame with variably filled slots.

The significant issue here is theprinciple distinction betweenthe two types of rhetorical speeches: forensic and deliberative, on the one hand, and epideictic, on the other. This distinction dates back to Aristotle [Aristotle 1978]. The first type involves polemics and dialogue, while the secondis a rhetorical monologue of consolidating character, e.g. sermon, propaganda, anniversary speech, etc. This distinction is extremely important for understanding the rhetorical situation itself and the institutions which emerged on the basis of rhetorical situation. The institution of the religious sermon and the parliament occupy different places in the national communicative culture. It is not only a matter of the status – they rely on different cultural mechanisms and have different impact on them. Harmonious relations between polemics and predicatory elements provide cultural stability, while the disruption of this balance poses some risks (this issue has already been analyzed in the previous publications). Thus, every influential communicative platform can be viewed as a significant factor in the development of communication and national language.

The jury system that emerged in Russia after the Reform of 1864 is regarded in this article as a communicative platform. The rhetorical situation of case review with the jury agreeing upon the verdict was new and it established this institution. The Russian experience is particularly interesting because before the nineteenth century, polemic elements were underrepresented in the Russian culture [Averintsev 1996: 319-328], while predicatory elements had been developing since the appearance of the writing system and provided exceptional literary works in the eleventh and the twelfth century [Likhachov 1979].
Polemic Culture and the Development of Literary Language
The notion literary language was introduced by Vilem Mathesius, the member of the Prague Linguistic Circle [Mathesius 2003: 194-209], and it does not coincide completely with the widely spread notion of language standard. Under literary language one understands the polished language that is able to distinguish maximum shades of meaning and stylistic details. This is the key idea of Prague linguists, whose activity was dominated by functionalism. Literary language performs its main function – shades of meaning differentiation – with the help of its supradialectal nature, standardization and codification. The language standard is more focused on establishing the levels of proficiency in foreign or native language [Azimov, Shchukin 2009]. In this case, codified norms serve as a measurement tool and texts are written on their basis. Therefore, the notion literary language includes, apart from standardization, the idea of
language development, its optimization as means of communication. Language standard is not programmed this way. Even though it is rarely mentioned, the Russian linguistic tradition formed under the strong influence of Prague functionalism and has always focused on the history of the Russian literary language. The expression language standard appeared in the vocabulary of the Russian linguists not long ago.

What is typically understood under the development of literary language and the development of language in general?

The concept of development dates back to the nineteenth century when every development was interpreted as a process of changes that lead to some positive outcome or, if compared with human life, to maturity and decline (for example, August Schleicher held this view [Schleicher 1873]). That is why development and inertness were contra-posed and this opposition, in its turn, provoked the vain discussion between innovators and purists. It seems that Prague linguistics put an end to this conflict, having reinterpreted the norm in a teleological way. For them, the main target was the most accurate language. A codified norm was necessary to prevent the shades of meaning and details of style from merging in one word or in one grammatical form.

It is worth mentioning that rather witty functionalist ideas had been forgotten by the beginning of the twenty-first century. Discussions about the limits of word borrowing resumed and no common denominator in the spirit of functionalism was offered. These debates became less frequently supported by logical arguments. The metaphor of language purity and the metaphor of rich language were just two conflicting metaphors behind which stood poorly reasoned ideas of homogeneity and heterogeneity of national culture. The latter was also poorly reasoned but had better validity from the position of Lotman's semiotics.

Nowadays, however, when ideas of ecology are not new to humanities scholars [Haugen 1972], it is obvious that changes can not only be evolutionary but also involutionary. The criteria are simple – survivability, the capacity or incapacity to adapt. Prague functionalism made a step in this direction. This approach makes it possible to analyze processes that take place in language in general, identify risks, raise a question about the need to restore the segments of the communicative environment that are endangered by involutionary processes.

So far we have been discussing only literary language issues but not the issues of language in general. What are the views of contemporary scholars on the development of literature and opinion journalism?

D.S. Likhachov's work titled The Development of Russian Literature from the Eleventh to the Seventeenth Century summarizes knowledge about old Russian literature, [Likhachov 1973]. What did Likhachov understand by the development? One of the answers can be as follows: the strengthening of personal identity, diversity of genres, expansion of literature subject, interest
in secular themes. Generally speaking, it is an acquisition of new conceptual spaces and new genres by literature. And this concept of extensity perfectly complements the idea of intensity proposed by Prague Linguistic Circle.

It is quite obvious that the developed literature (in Likhachov's sense) led to the Golden Age of the Russian classical literature, maintained the written language, increased its survivability and readability (one may recall Likhachov mentioning fictionalization of literature). However, if we address the literature of the 1930s, we may see the opposite situation: the thematic circle narrows, the personal identity becomes weaker, the system of genres becomes less varied and most of them become merged into one another. The readers' interest steadily went down. The bookshelves in the shops were full but it was not something people wanted: it was sometimes either impossible to get books or people had to "hunt" for them. These new processes were, obviously, involutionary and, of course, had nothing to do with the development declared by the

Earlier we made reference to the works by historians of the Russian language. What was their vision of the development? Nearly the same. They saw the development in acquisition of new conceptual spaces, the extension of noetic space of the language, the replenishment of its conceptual basis, in variety of genres and styles and in high accuracy of language in a spirit of Prague linguistics.

The historians of the Russian language always perceived language development as its capacity to overcome borders between written and oral speech, between official and non-official forms. This is exactly what N.М. Karamzin and A.S. Pushkin are praised for. How does this point get on with the aspiration for stylistic order? Being inside one discourse it is possible to describe another. Moreover, one person can easily communicate with the one using a different discourse. The Russian language and literature worked in this direction during the entire nineteenth century. Judicial discourse experienced the same: the legal language of laws collided with the common language of cases. We should also note that V.V. Vinogradov, highlighting the importance of convergence of literary and spoken forms, writes not only about vocabulary but also about
"grammatical alignment" where the influence of polemic genres is the most noticeable. So, under the development of language we understand the development of its semantics (the widening of conceptual space, the enrichment of vocabulary), syntax (multiplication of strategies for unfolding atext), and pragmatics (increase in number of genres).
Contribution of Russian Judicial Orators to the Russian Language
How does the development of the Russian language go when being initiated by polemic platformof judicial oratory?

The most obvious answer is through phraseology, terminology, and idiomatics. The role of Latin proverbs and legal phraseology in national languages is well-known. Their usage goes far beyond the limits of judicial sphere and they are very often being calqued. The illustrative material of the Russian Dictionary of Latin Proverbs shows how they function outside legal discourse [Babichev, Borovskiy 1999]. It should be pointed out that a very slow development of polemics resulted in the appearance of proverbs that reflected legal nihilism and anti-constitutionalism. If we do not take into account proverbs about the Judgment of God, there are hardly any proverbs with apositive image of law courts. Latin proverbs and their calques, foregrounded by legal discourse, served as an important balancer. Even during the Soviet era, when jury courts did not (and could not) exist, the collective memory preserved the phrase Gentlemen of the jury! that was actively used by the satire writers I. Ilf and E. Petrov. Another phrase Everything is clear to the court is used not only as a characteristic of a court case.

Due to the courtroom speeches, not only legal vocabulary gets into everyday language, goes beyond terminology and enriches the national language but colloquial and even dialectal words get into courtroom speeches and if the case is a cause célèbre, they become if not the units of literary language but an easily understood koiné and then get into a literary language.

We can take, as an example, the so-called Multan Case, which took place at the end of the nineteenth century. The group of Udmurt peasants was accused of ritual human sacrifice. The prosecution and the defense used the ethnographic materials which represented the cultural realities of the Udmurt people. N.P. Karabchevskiy included the names of local tribes and gods and even some words from the Udmurt language in his defense speech [Karabchevskiy 2010].

The media that covered the trial adopted those elements. The Russian writer and journalist V.G. Korolenko published a cycle of essays in the Русские ведомости newspaper and the Русское богатство journal [Loginova 2012]. These essays are far from being an unemotional chronicle of the events. On the contrary, they have artistic features and contain Udmurt words and references
to their cultural realities.

Thus, courtroom speeches not only combine various types of vocabulary but also become some sort of a bridge through which words get into national language.

Commonplaces lie deeper than phraseology, which is tightly connected with lexical expression. They can be developed in a semantic or lexical way. For example, jury court became a catalyst for the idea of the environment influencing individuals. F.M. Dostoyevsky who mistrusted jury and barristers responded to this commonplace quite negatively. Nevertheless, the language was enriched by the phrases with the word environment having the meaning equal to that used by judicial orators. For example, ill environment, improvement of the environment, influence of the environment, to be a victim of the environment, ruinous effect of the environment. But there were some variants of lexical representation with a close meaning like surrounding, circumstances, conditions.

At first, these phrases were used in courtroom speeches. Then they were adopted by other discourses. For instance, the expression ill environment allowed to discuss illnesses of society and show that social groups could be nests for immoral behavior anddetrimental habits.

The idea of environment moved into opinion journalism and literature where it became productive for the whole culture. It foregrounded socio-philosophical questions and Russian realist writers tried to answer them in the second part of the nineteenth century.

Even deeper than commonplaces lie topoi or so-called logical topoi. Their influence is well tangible in syntax and, particularly, syntax of speech that reflects the train of speakers thoughts. Courtroom speeches stimulated alternative thinking. It was necessary to elicit the alternatives, deny some of them (or all of them) and find the one which is the most important for making conclusion. For literary text of that time period, alternative thinking was rare. Two variants of Lensky's fate offered by A.S. Pushkin and reflection upon what would have happened if he had not been killed on a duel, were ahead of time. Deterministic approach to literary realism views alternatives as something irrelevant. L.N. Tolstoy, discussing possible scenarios of Napoleon's decisions, used to say that it was as useless as asking questions about what would have
happened if summer had come in the middle of winter. Judicial orators used alternative thinking along with topoi all the time. These elements can be united by the notion of rhetorical anatomy. In this sense judicial eloquence functioned in the way as academic eloquence. They both belong to the type of polemic about what has already happened. Even despite popularity of T.N. Granovsky's lectures, academic eloquence of that time wasn't cited as much as judicial by
opinion journalists. Topoi, connected with the enumeration of variants, called to life certain figures, like rhetorical regression, which was not typical for literary speech. Topos of definition stimulated usage of hypophora– a tool for unfolding the speech [Lanham 1968].

Significant role in judicial rhetoric argumentation belongs to various distinctions. That resulted in the appearance of antithesis both sides of which are quite close to each other semantically. These figures work directly on the development of language (which was in the main focus of Prague linguists) as they enrich language by making it more accurate and polished.
If under development of language we understand the development of its semantics, syntax, and pragmatics, then, the existence of polemic platforms is of crucial importance. In Russian culture polemic appeared relatively lately and it was halted by the expansion of totalitarian propaganda. That is why the development of judicial oratory after the Judicial Reform of 1864 played such a
great role. Jury courts became an important communicative platform, which initiated numerous innovations in semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic. These innovations further infiltrated into national language.
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In the same work author challenges the idea of conservativeness of monologue and cites G.A. Sheliuto: "As it is known, orator's speech in a monologue, which includes all the diversity of dialogic speech, thus, the expression dialogue in monologue does make sense." (Ibid., p. 39) In rhetoric, this dialogue in monologue is called sermocination.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century followers of N.М. Karamzin disputed with followers of A.S. Shishkov and both sides referred to literature or artificially constructed elements. But in the twentieth century the same debate was based on the reference to judicial practice and newspapers' material.
Relatively weak polemic tradition of Ancient Russian (and also of Byzantium) is due to the fact that the heritage of Aristotle (father of rhetoric) was absorbed much worse than the heritage of Plato (critic of rhetoric). Anyhow, at the time, when western universities adopted polemic and developed its form, Byzantine disputants, as Averintsev writes, were still anathemizing each other.
In I.P. Eremin's Lectures and Articles on the History of Early Russian Literature (Leningrad, 1978) it is directly pointed out that in early, Kievan period all kinds ofeloquence belonged solely to epideictic type. However, as early as in the eleventh centurysuch literary masterpiece ofepideictic eloquence as Sermon of Law and Grace by Metropoli-tan Hilarion of Kievwas created
Tests like the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), etc.
Einar Haugen's works are often considered to be an impetus foractive development of linguistic ecology. Haugen's ideas were later complemented by M. Halliday, H. Haarman, P. Mühlhäusler and others.
In Russian proverbs, social institute of law courts is connected with bribery and biased approach of judges. It is totally opposed to the Judgment of God, which is fair and inescapable. A tzar, as a deputy of God, is an advocate of the highest Truth, which is also reflected in Russian proverbs. For example: tzar's judgment is Lord's judgment; where there's tzar there istruth; the heart of tzar is guided by Lord in its judgments, etc. For more examples see: Dictionary of Russian Proverbs (2010), ed. V.M. Mokienko, Moscow (in Russian).
We separate logical topoi of type and variety, and definition from commonplaces thatwe interpret as semantic topoi. See also: Khazagerov G.G. (2017). Topoi from the Viewpoint of Teaching and Practical Application. Vestnik KhGU im. N.F.Katanova, no. 19, pp. 49–54.
Rhetorical regression is a composition device, when orator uses words, which were, at first, very close to each other in the text, distantly and addssome explanations. Somewhat similar to rhetoric regression are figures derived from alternative thinking, e.g. apophasis, dialysis, and digestion. Properly speaking, they can be definednot as figures of speech but as topoi.
Hypophora is a question which orator asks himself and answers by himself. This figure brings catechistical way of textunfolding, which was very popular among authors of rhetoric manuals.
Here we refer to paradiastole, in which synonyms are opposed to each other, and diaphora, in which opposition takes place within one lexical unit (very similar to this one is polyptoton).
*Illustration: https://commons.wikimedia.org