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of L'viv Polytechnic National University

"Problems of Ukrainian Terminology"

№ 765

Kunch Z. On the problems of translation of Theophanous Prokopovych's rhetorical terms into Ukrainian // Website of TC STTS: Herald of L'viv Polynechnic National University "Problems of Ukrainian Terminology". – 2013. – # 765.


The article are presented in the authors' edition

Zoryana Kunch

L'viv Polytechnic National University




© Kunch Z., 2013


У статті проаналізовано труднощі й проблеми перекладу українською мовою з латинської риторичних термінів, вжитих і пояснених у трактаті «Про риторичне мистецтво» Теофана Прокоповича (1707 р.), з огляду на сучасні тенденції впорядкування науково-технічної термінології. На основі проведеного дослідження, а також розгляду сучасних тенденцій в українському науковому стилі зроблено висновок щодо схожості багатьох явищ і процесів у науковій мові XVIII ст. і в сучасних умовах.

Ключові слова: українська мова, риторика, Теофан Прокопович, термінологія, риторичний термін, переклад, транслітерація.


The article analyzes the difficulties and problems underlying the translation into Ukrainian of Latin rhetorical terms, used and explained in a treatise “On the rhetorical art” by Theophanous Prokopovych (1707), taking into account modern tendencies in scientific and technical terminology organizing. Based on the conducted research and the review of current tendencies in the Ukrainian scientific style a conclusion has been made concerning the similarity of numerous phenomena and processes in the scientific language of the XVIII century and nowadays.

Keywords: Ukrainian language, rhetoric, Theophanes Prokopovych, terminology, rhetorical terms, translation, transliteration.


The problem of systematization of terminological systems is today one of the most relevant in the terminology. Terminology inaccuracy is an extremely negative notion, so the aim of this article is to study the problem of translation from Latin into Ukrainian of the rhetorical terminology used in the treatise "On the rhetorical art" by Theophanous Prokopovych. The topicality of this study is determined by the fact that a significant part of the work by Theophanous Prokopovych in the Ukrainian translation has not been published until recently, especially it concerns the chapters of the book "On the verbal expression", which provides the interpretation of rhetorical (stylistic) figures and tropes, and thus proposes interpretation of a large number of rhetorical terms. Furthermore, the significance of research is the outline of possible ways of translation of ​​terminological units into Ukrainian from other languages. It will indicate the potential ways to avoid the invasion of foreign language borrowings into current terminological systems that is typical especially in the economic, computer, financial and terminological systems of some other fields.

In 1981 a three-volume edition of the philosophical works by the renowned educator was published. It includes the translation of a significant part of his work "On the rhetorical art", and several chapters of this treatise were not translated from Latin, or because of certain censorship considerations were not published (e. g., chapter "On the sacred eloquence"). Only in 2012 the book "Theophanous Prokopovych. Philosophical works. Selected" (Kyiv: "Dnepr", 2012. – 615 p.) was published. It can be considered the fourth volume of the previous edition because it includes the works or fragments, which are missing in the three-volume edition. In particular, it has the translation from Latin of certain chapters of the fourth book "On the verbal expression", the tenth book "On memory and deliverance" and all chapters of the ninth book "On the sacred eloquence" done ​​by the author of this article.

Translating terminology into another language is a very demanding and difficult task, because it requires not only the knowledge of the language, but also understanding of the basic principles of terminology study and formation of terms. A term - is not just a word that has a specific lexical meaning, a term is a unit of a particular terminological system, and its structural and semantic features must meet certain criteria of this terminological system organization. In addition, rhetorical terminological system of the beginning of the XVIII century, when Theophanous Prokopovych wrote his treatise and the current one differ both in content and structure, which complicated the task. Finally, in Prokopovych’s time the concept “term” did not exist at all, therefore he would use lexemes at random in the function of term. So the objective of this article is to analyze in details the defined problems and possible ways of their solution taking into account the modern theory of the term.

The difficulties in the translating of Theophanous Prokopovych’s rhetorical terminology were coursed, firstly, by the fact that the modern rhetoric lacks many of the concepts explained in his treatise "On the rhetorical art." For example, despite the fact that the "textbook by Theophanous Prokopovych is a striking example of the shift from baroque to classicism style" [ПФП, p. 163], the medieval rhetorician in the chapters of the fourth book "On the verbal expression" provides a thorough classification of rhetorical figures and tropes. According to the tradition, which dates back to Cicero, figures are divided into three classes according to three objectives of a speaker (to teach, entertain and appeal: instructive figures, decorating figures and figures that aim at touching the soul. The classes of figures are listed in the manual by Theophanous Prokopovych together with detailed explanations; a theory is supported by examples, as it is in school textbooks. A trope is defined by the author as the transference of the direct meaning of the word or expression in order to achieve ascetic effect. All tropes are divided into two groups: verbal and semantic. Verbal tropes include metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, antonomasia, onomatopoeia, katachresis, metalepsis. Semantic tropes or tropes of thoughts are an allegory, irony, paraphrase, hyperbaton, hyperbole. A full list of tropes is very long, it is provided with a thorough explanation of each trope, the analysis of all its varieties and numerous examples.

Among the rhetorical notions defined by Prokopovych those which are used in the modern rhetoric and stylistics constitute only the third part (for example epithet, metaphor, antithesis, inversion, anaphora etc). Translation of such terms is not a problem, as corresponding names have already become common in rhetorical science. However, there is sometimes a problem, as the author writing in Latin doesn’t use generally accepted nomination for the definition of a particular concept. For example, the figure of repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of several parts of text that is defined in modern stylistic by the term epiphora T. Prokopovych called antistrophe or conversion. Given that the term epiphora is of an ancient Greek origin, we can assume that the term existed at the time of T. Prokopovych, but the writer doesn’t use it maybe following a different tradition (it is known that he relied on contemporary Western models) or considering lexemes antistrophe and conversion more appropriate, more accurate.

The similar situation can occur in modern terminological systems. Researchers sometimes tend to borrow foreign language term despite the fact that the relevant terminological system already has an established lexeme for nomination of this concept: екземпляр – примірник, сюрвей-рипортаварійний сертифікат, екаутант фінансист-бухгалтер, консалтинг – консультування, аутсорсинг субпідряд etc. We believe that in the current conditions, scientists should be more responsible in choosing the nomination as a term, because the terminology study has already developed the basic approaches to term creation and littering of our language with excessive number of unnecessary borrowings is undesirable and harmful.

Often the author of the treatise "On the rhetorical art" is trying to explain a little-known term (often of Greek origin) using Latin words or several synonyms that are more common to the current students. Thus, the term of Greek origin анакладис Prokopovych interprets as commutatio (переміна, перетворення), and only then the author of the translation from Latin of "Poetics" by M. Dovhalevskyi defines this concept as inverted word order (переставлення слів) [РС, p. 16]. Since none of these nominations remained in Ukrainian rhetorical terminology, we consider it is also necessary to provide several possible optional terms in the translation of the treatise (анакладис, переміна, перетворення). Another example: T. Prokopovych provides interpretation of the term пропарергасія that comes from the Ancient Greek προπαρ - front, before and έργασία - work. By this term he means a rhetorical figure that "expresses an opinion about what the speaker intends to say." The scientist gives an example: "If I want to ask an enemy or a friend to be a witness, first I should take into account the following: "I think you know that the praise of the enemy is more valuable than the friend’s praise as friends often praise you because they love you and are attached to you, whereas enemies are forced to praise you only by the truth" [2, p. 88]. Such a term has not been found in any of the later works. Therefore it is considered more appropriate to use in the translation two Ukrainian equivalents of the Greek term - підготовка, or забезпечення.

Of course, synonymy is a phenomenon that is not very desirable in terminology, because it undermines the system. Most terminologists are inclined to think that the parallel use of two or more synonyms-doublets is a temporary phenomenon, "the prospect of choosing a single form after testing the options in the scientific use" [2, с. 88]. And we believe that a parallel use of the terms-synonyms has grounds for long existence. This primarily is due to the functional principles of the use of synonyms in speech - variety of presentation, avoidance of monotony and repetition. Synonymy is closely connected with the language culture. Even purely scientific text, specific and unambiguous can not be overloaded with the same words, so taking into consideration the linguistic culture the authors seek to use doublet form. In addition, our findings confirm the fact that some terms-doublets have not appeared in the language today, but have been operating in it for a long time and do not become passive vocabulary.

For many rhetorical concepts provided in the translation of the treatise by T. Prokopovych, we could not find analogues in the researchers of later periods and in modern rhetoric. So these terms we tried to translate using Ukrainian lexemes, as closely as possible to capture the essence of the signified concept. We noticed that the same methodology was followed also by T. Prokopovych: obscure Greek words he interpreted using Latin equivalents as his textbook was written in Latin. In most cases this applies to the concepts borrowed from Byzantine scholars and marked as Greek terms. For their better understanding or interpretation T. Prokopovych tried to find Latin words. Thus, the scientist explains the essence of rhetorical figure, "which means that the speaker before saying something sharp, psychologically prepares the audience. For example: "Although I feel that I will speak about it with disappointment, still I will say ...". He names this concept using a Greek term продіортоза (from the Ancient Greek προ - advance and διορθώσις - putting in order, fixing), following its predecessors - Byzantine scholars [РС, p. 217]. A Greek origin term апорія (from the Ancient Greek Ἀπορία - obstruction, hopelessness) T. Prokopovych interprets by the Latin nomination дубітація (Latin dubitatio - doubt). It is a "rhetorical figure that expresses a doubt as to where to start and where to finish, which should be added about the importance of the matter" [РС, p. 26]. The term протропа (from the Ancient Greek προστροπή – request, prayer) Prokopovych interprets by a Latin lexeme адгортація as "a rhetorical figure, which means active and persistent use of incentive arguments expressed in reference to a person, interrogative words and incentive particles: «Ну ж! Дійте! Виконуйте вже, о громадяни!» [РС, p. 223]. A term of the Ancient Greek origin гомеоза T. Prokopovych provides along with its Latin equivalent симілітудо, treating it as "decorating by similarity" [РС, p. 55]. In the translation of these terms, we use corresponding Ukrainian lexemes: виправлення, сумнів, заохочення and уподібнення.

In quantitative terms, about the same number of rhetorical means explained by Prokopovych is not used in modern rhetoric, but these concepts were known and interpreted by the scholars of different historical periods. This is, for example, the terms анадиплосис (Prokopovych) - акромонограма (Kwiatkowski) - анадиплоза (Horbach) епанортозис (Prokopovych) - епанортоза (Dombrowski), епанод (Prokopovych Horbach), ара or ексекрація (Prokopovych Dovhalevskyy), діерезис or дистрибуція (Prokopovych, Dombrowski) and others. The same method of translation was applied to these nominations: we found the Ukrainian equivalent and provided it along with the transliterated terms.

In his treatise "On the rhetorical art" we have also come across a term, the meaning of which does not correspond in author writing in Latin and in contemporary rhetoric. For example, T. Prokopovych proposes interpretation of a term діоризм or афоризм or корекція (in translation we use виправлення). These lexemes he defines as a figure "when we correct word or opinion so as to make it double: either denying the same as we said, or adding more clearly: «громадянине, якщо громадянином можна назвати і т. д.», «з усією уважністю чи краще побожністю…» [РС, p. 169]. As you can see, the term aphorism in its modern interpretation ("short exact expression which in a concise, convenient for remembering form contains deep idea and became set, proverbial expression" [РС, p. 32]) signifies a completely different concept. So translating into Ukrainian the work by T. Prokopovych, we had to use a Ukrainian lexeme виправлення, which clearly demonstrates the essence of the signified concept, and immediately shows the difference in the interpretation of these two concepts.

Another important problem that arises in the way of organizing terminological system and definitely was faced by the translator of the rhetorical work by T. Prokopovych is confusion in spelling of foreign origin words in the Ukrainian language, which a well known linguist Irina Fahrion called "the Achilles heel of our spelling" [3, p. 94]. The lack of standardized spelling rules of loan words transliteration in Ukrainian is not due to linguistic but socio-political factors. It has generated a number of problems regarding spelling scientific terms of the Greek and Latin origin, particularly associated with the transliteration of Greek letters «η», «θ», « β »and others. This matter is viewed in detail in our article [1]. It is clear that when the issue concerned established terms in the Ukrainian language, we used the currently existed norm even when it contradicted the principles of phonetic transliteration of the Ancient Greek borrowings. For example, we use the term риторика (instead of expected реторика), анаколуф (instead of анаколут), апокриф (instead of апокрит), апофеоз (instead of апотеоз) and others. The problem is complicated in cases when T. Prokopovych uses the Ancient Greek lexeme, which is not used in the modern Ukrainian language. Then the interpreter proposes the variant of translation precisely following the basic principles of transliteration of Greek origin words, based on the phonetic principle of spelling, that is the Ancient Greek θ is rendered by Ukrainian «t», β - by "b", η - by "e": аналепсис (gr. ἀναλήψιζ), епанортозис (gr. ἐπανορθώσιζ), етологія (gr. ἤθοζ), епіфонема (gr. ζπιφώνημα) and others.

So, working on the translation of the treatise by T. Prokopovych "On the rhetorical art", we have faced several challenges related to the rendering of rhetorical terms into the Ukrainian language. First, since at the time of T. Prokopovych there were no such concepts as "term" or "terminology", the author, of course, did not pay too much attention to the fact that one concept in science correspond to only one nomination, which has to render the meaning of the nominated concept as closely as possible. Therefore, T. Prokopovych often uses several names for the same concept applying terms that are not used by other scientists of different historical periods. However, the researcher realized the importance of the fact that a term has to correspond exactly to the essence of the signified notion, that the meaning of a lexeme used as a term had to cover all peculiarities of the concept, which is named, and the best way to solve this problem is to use specific nominations which have a clear internal shape and are easy to perceive for speakers. Therefore, almost every term of the Greek origin Prokopovych provides with the Latin equivalent. This experience is worth following today when terminology systems, especially those of the newest scientific disciplines, are overloaded with foreign language lexemes, which not only cause difficulties in perception, but also litter our speech with phonetic and grammatical structures which are not typical for the Ukrainian language.

Another problem of rhetoric terminology system organizing is spelling. The complexity of its solution is based on the fact that this problem stems not only from the drawbacks of our spelling, but is hidden in the depths of the history of the Ukrainian theory of rhetoric. Of course, in translating of the scientific work by T. Prokopovych we comply with current standards, therefore we use, for example a term риторика, and certainly we feel the urgent need to return to organizing the rules of transliteration of foreign lexis in the Ukrainian language. The results of our observations can be recommended to the orthographic commission for further improvement of the Ukrainian spelling.


РС – Куньч Зоряна. Риторичний словник / Зоряна Куньч. – К. : Рідна мова, 1997. – 341 с. ПФП – Прокопович Т. Філософські праці. Вибране / Теофан Прокопович. – К. : Дніпро, 2012. – 615 с. ПФТ – Прокопович Ф. Філософські твори в трьох томах. – Т. 1. Про риторичне мистецтво. Різні сентенції / Феофан Прокопович. – К. : Наук. думка, 1979. – 511 с.


1. Куньч З. До питання утвердження терміна «реторика» в українській науці / Зоряна Куньч. – Вісник Нац. ун-ту «Львівська політехніка. Серія «Проблеми української термінології». – 2012. –№ 733. – С. 200–205. 2. Масенко Л. Мова і суспільство: Постколоніальний вимір / Лариса Масенко. – К., 2004. – 164 с. 3. Фаріон І. Правопис – корсет мови? Український правопис як культурно-політичний вибір / Ірина Фаріон. – Л. : Свічадо, 2004. – 120 с.



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