Docent Valentyna Savchyn, universitetet i Lviv, gästforskare vid SlaBaFiNeTy: "Power and Dictionary: Lexicography in Soviet Ukraine"

The presentation will focus on the Ukrainian lexicographical practice under Soviet totalitarian regime. The key assumption to be verified is that under certain historical, political and social conditions, dictionaries are deprived of their function of being a reliable and objective source of information. They become instruments in the regime’s hands to lay out linguistic norms of the dominant language and present an ideologically biased picture of the world. Using case studies of three types of dictionaries (translation, terminological and explanatory), I will determine the extent of totalitarian pressure exerted on dictionaries over time. The presentation will examine the relations between Soviet assimilative language policy and lexicography, the issues of censorship and ideological manipulation, repression of dictionaries and lexicographers. The study attests to a complex system of destructive techniques aimed at corrupting and enfeebling the Ukrainian language through dictionaries, as well as using them as a tool to impose a distorted set of values and reinforce the communist ideology and its stereotypes.