I Send You My Front-Line Greetings! The Speech Etiquette of Soldiers’ Letters

Key words
traditional culture, military letters, letters of soldiers in the Great Patriotic War, speech etiquette
Klara E. Korepova
About the Author
E-mail: korvic@list.ru Tel.: +7 (831) 433-82-4
37, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya str., Nizhny Novgorod, 603000, Russian Federation
DSc in Philology, Professor, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod
Date of publication

This article examines the epistolary heritage of the Great Patriotic War based on unpublished front-line letters and several published collections of them, in all about 500 texts. The letters are heterogeneous and may be divided into two categories, depending on the social status of the writers and their connections to different strata of national culture. The main differences in etiquette are manifested in the quantity of ready-made forms; stereotyped content; and at the speech level — in their degree of formality and use of clichés. The differences also relate to the range of formulas used and the way they function. In the letters by people of book culture, laconism in the use of clichés is characteristic; these writers are able to make use of the entire range of collectively developed etiquette formula and to dispose of them freely, depending on the context. In the correspondence of soldiers, collectively developed forms of etiquette occupy a larger place. Increased use of these forms is due to techniques characteristic of collective creativity. The prose text may be supplemented with epistolary verses common in everyday folk correspondence. Identifying stylistic diversity can aid the study of front-line letters in the context of the entire epistolary tradition insofar as many epistolary formulas were formed before the war or existed at the beginning of the century.


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For citation

Korepova K.E. I Send You My Front-Line Greetings! The Speech Etiquette of Soldiers’ Letters. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 2. Pp. 11–23. In Russian.