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The Taboo in the System of Speech and Folklore Genres

The research deals with the taboo as a traditional speech genre, which is a prominent part of the contem­porary system of speech genres. The taboo as a speech and partly folklore genre is based on the system of beliefs passed down from generation to generation, and ensures compliance with certain rules of behav­ior, first of all – preventing actions which, according to the traditional world view, can harm the violator. The motivation of the taboo is most often of irra­tional (mythological) character, the prescription sug­gests ways to neutralize the negative consequences of its violation. With the latter two components, the genre has a three­-part structure. The taboo is presented both in traditional culture and in modern discourse, in­cluding children’s discourse. This is a free­-structure genre, but it also includes elements of a cliché. In modern Russian discourse, the taboo is widely represented, which is evidenced by numerous examples from spoken language and fiction. On a number of grounds, the taboo differs from a close to it genre – omen. Syntactic constructions of taboo include, first of all, different types of polypredicative sentences with the semantics of cause, condition, consequence, pur­pose, mononuclear sentences of “generalized seman­tics”. Traditional motivations for the taboo are often metaphorical, archaic, contain demonological vocab­ulary, words with the sems “death”, “disease”, “deprivation”, etc. The source of the content of the taboo is not the subject, but the collective, so the verbaliza­tion of its text is not necessarily carried out by the addresser of a higher status. According to this param­eter, the speech genre of the taboo may be based on speech acts of prohibition or caution.

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