Четверг, 13 июняИнститут «Высшая школа журналистики и массовых коммуникаций» СПбГУ


Ста­ни­слав Гай­да, док­тор фило­ло­ги­че­ских наук, член-кор­ре­спон­дент Поль­ской АН, про­фес­сор Ополь­ско­го уни­вер­си­те­та, лау­ре­ат Нев­ской премии.

Professor Gajda, a promoter of style and unquestioned authority in research on style enjoying international recognition, has been studying various aspects of style for over forty years; one of his first articles was “Notes on the Academic Style” [Gajda 1974]. He writes about style as of “a humanist structure of a text” (an article under this title was published in 1983), and this expression, along with a definition, has become a part of classical linguistic research.

Professor Gajda is the author of numerous publications on various problems, yet if one takes a closer look at his works, one can clearly see that certain subjects, and ’consequently, certain expressions and key words used in his texts are essential. They indicate the principal direction of his research. It is focused on style as such — methodological discussions aiming at developing a theory of style, and practical applications in studying aspects of academic style in particular. This combination of knowledge and self-awareness leads to a natural temptation to check to what extent a model theoretician and experienced practitioner puts ideals into practice in his own texts. His definition of style also invites one to study the Professor’s individual style and to discover the elements in his works which make up the live tissue — the humanist structure.

The objective of this article is the presentation of the most important essentials of the Professor’s style. Because of the multitude of his works, I do not present a quantitative approach here, but just a starting point for further research. An analysis of the Professor’s individual style with a predominance of analyses of actual texts is based on a comparison of the Professor’s text on academic style and his own chapter entitled “The Theory of Style and Stylistics” from Styles of the Modern Polish Language [Gajda 2013a]. It also contains selected most characteristic elements from other leading texts and a comparison of his early comments on style and stylistics and the latest definitions thereof.

Professor Gajda frequently refers to the achievements of the earlier generations and the history of linguistic research, making references to various epochs starting from antiquity, but his articles prove that he is interested in the present state of stylistics, linguistics and the humanities in particular, though not only, as in his works he often points to various research fields, demonstrating good orientation in what is going on in the academic world and what the global trends are. Due to his ability to synthesize as well as his profound knowledge, his texts are at the same time orderly and written with a visionary impetus, disciplined and creative, meeting the criteria of model academic texts, having the ability to diagnose reality and anticipate the directions of its development. He speaks of himself as an inheritor of the monistic view, neo-idealism, neo-Humboldtism, a researcher connected with positivist and structuralist approaches [Gajda 2012: 13].

His works are well embedded in reality, and simultaneously they look at it from a metalinguistic level. Hence, the key words frequently appearing in the titles of his publications: theory, stylistic synthesis, rudiments of stylistic research, stylistic interpretation of a text, evolution of linguistic communication mechanisms, dilemmas of stylistics, linguistic standard, linguistic policy, language culture, theoretical problems of language culture, around synonyms, logical and linguistic types of speaking, modern Polish linguistic situation. Other frequently appearing expressions include the following: term, terminology, genre, text, interpretation, lexis, discourse, code, system, comparative stylistics, integrating stylistics, idiostyle, depth, processes, paradigm (e. g. Kuhn’s paradigm), expression (e. g. ontic expression), crisis, truth, dualism, etc.

A model characteristic of Stanisław Gajda’s academic style is internationalization. It comprises references to research conducted in English, German, French, Dutch, Russian, Czech [Gajda 2013a: 22] and other Slavic languages as well as terminological internationalization. His texts are imbued with various terms, which perfectly illustrates his own statements; he considers terms to be the most characteristic manifestation of academic style [Gajda 2001: 185]. The frequency of using terms does not disturb the clarity of style, as they are precisely defined, explained and related to similar expressions. Naturally, terms are frequently borrowings — Greek or Latin words and expressions (elecutio, genus dicendi, res, verbum, praestigium, logos, etc.). Foreign linguistic elements appear also as interjections in various fragments of texts (lingua franca, gentem lingua facit, replucae litterarum, slavica non leguntur, e pluribus unum, sensus communis). Apart from them, there are also English (linguistic turn, the point of no return, language planning, language management, policy, politics) and German expressions (volksgeist, Ganzheit). Professor Gajda puts emphasis on internationalization as a characteristic phenomenon in contemporary terminological processes [Ibid.: 187], claiming that in academic texts “abstract lexis of foreign origin is preferred” [Ibid.: 188]. It is accompanied by inter- or trans-disciplinary threads recurring in his various texts. Apart from numerous references to linguistic or similar disciplines (such as rhetoric, glottodidactics, translation studies or philosophy, psychology and sociology), in his texts there are also references to more distant disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, etc.

Gajda’s language is colourful, vivid and dynamic1. These sample expressions and fragments may prove it: “cognitive explosion” [Gajda 2013a: 20], “reality cannot be squeezed in the corset of theory, and therefore theories multiply and fight each other”…, “shake up widespread judgements” [Ibid.: 23], “frontline of Polish research”, “attack on modern science ideal”, “the obstacle was and still is possible to be cleared” [Ibid.: 38], “One has to break free from methodological obsessions, the terror of fashionable novelties” [Ibid.: 25], “thunderous declarations”.

Considerable involvement and emotionality can be discerned in the texts, clearly indicating purposeful evaluations: “Emotional components appear in unofficial terms which somehow constitute a reaction towards the ‘coldness’ of official terms, frequently extended, long, and awkward in use” [Gajda 2001: 186]. “A sense of dispersion clashes with a yearning for uniting syntheses” [Gajda 2013a: 65], “the absence of many linguistic syntheses (including the new ones) should be considered shameful…” [Językoznawstwo… 2003: 33], “cacophony of ideas” [Gajda 2013a: 61], “shallow reception of cognitivism”, “Alarming information concerning the ‘misery’ of the Polish language [Gajda 2013b: 72], “pathological growth of so-called collective book publications”, “baggy post-conference volumes”, etc.

The author’s creativity and the vividness of his texts can also be proved by the following expressions: “putting together various perspectives”, “the rise of academic celebrities” [Gajda 2013a: 65], “A concept of masters of suspicion” [Ibid.2013: 16], “disciplines change into conglomerates of research orientations” [Ibid.: 15], “In order to move forward, one has to get to know the existing images. Many of them never die completely… And even though reviews of previous theories often deform them, illuminate their sides, it is not possible to give up looking back to the past (for the sake of the future)” [Ibid.: 23], “the core of style”, “an archipelago of disciplines”, “a piloting discipline”, “a new state organizational and financial corset” [Językoznawstwo… 2003: 36], “philosophers are mentioned among the godfathers of this expression” [Gajda 2013: 64], “Despite the changes in the communication technology, the scholar was and still is a man of letters” [Gajda 1990: 56] — just to present some selected examples.

Gajda’s texts enliven the rhetorical questions, e. g. “Is then modern and future linguistics to be linguistics ‘without boundaries’?” [Językoznawstwo… 2003: 32], also those accumulated in the text: “Can the notions of system and network be useful in the description of linguistic phenomena? Are the processes of style self-organization analogical to those taking place in organisms? Isn’t the human being questioned in them as a reflexive subject of linguistic behaviour?” [Gajda 2013a: 19]. They frequently appear as sub-chapter titles: “A crisis of the humanities?” [Horyzonty… 2012: 141], “What next?” [Ibid.: 148], “Style as…?” [Gaida 2013c: 25], “What is science?” [Ibid.: 62]. The scholar is also familiar with linguistic games: “Stylistics without stylistics” [Ibid.: 19].

One might venture a statement that the questions confirm a strong emotional attitude to the examined phenomena, and their contents once again prove a way of thinking making use of various knowledge areas, integrating them and attempting to reach as deep as possible — to connect distant areas in order to get to the core. Since the author values the importance of metaphors in academic style, one might wonder what style and stylistics mean to him — what conceptual metaphors stand behind them. This is a separate issue, worth discussing. Right now let us simply state that, for Gajda, style is personalized and humanized also in terminological metaphors. This can be proved, for instance, by his mentioning the “difficult comeback of style”, and the necessity to “purify it” [Gaida 2013a: 24]. “Despite the attempts to ‘destroy’ it [style], it lasts, manifesting cognitive usefulness and vitality” [Gaida 2012: 12]. Stylistics is similarly anthropomorphic. Gajda fights for its identity, but is also demanding towards it, since “stylistics cannot evade [difficult answers]” [Gaida 2013a: 19].

Let us have a look at Gajda’s definitions of style in his former and latest works. Already in his publications in the years before the discourse breakthrough he observed that “the style of texts in competence” should be discussed [Gaida 1982: 68]. Style becomes knowledge here, a set of normative and directive beliefs concerning transmitting and receiving, i.e. a humanist structure of a subjective product. <…> Style should be treated as a humanist structure of a text relativized to the individual or social competence of the text’s author [Ibid.: 69]. “The style of [academic] thinking is a way of comprehending reality, a dialectic unity of knowledge (it approaches the academic image of the world here) and activity” [Gaida 1990: 49].

Some years later he develops and specifies his concept, claiming that:

1. Style is connected with human activity, including communication and linguistic activity; the situational and cultural context cannot be separated from style.

2. People, initiating cooperation, bring themselves into it, i.e. the I, though not in the category of separate beings, but rather more or less integrated groups of relations and functions.

3. The centre, the basis of the communicative and non-communicative co(operation) of people are texts as dynamic and open contents-related pragmatic and semiotic entities.

4. Style permeates such text. It is its “soul”, it integrates various dimensions and attributes [Gaida 2013a: 26]. In his latest publications the author writes: “a complex and contents-rich notion of a slightly unclear structure is hidden behind the term ‘style’ ” [Ibid.: 23], “The problem with the term style is that clear oppositions appear in its semantics” [Ibid.: 24].

In A Guide to Polish Stylistics of 1995 Gajda wrote: “In a flood of new and old categories functioning in linguistics and literary studies as well as all other linguistic studies, the terms ‘style’ and ‘stylistics’ have been somehow pushed into the background. Yet, there is a need of a comprehensive encompassing of the knowledge of language and its functioning. It seems that stylistics and its categories may play an important integrating role and broaden our cognition” [Przewodnik… 1995: 27]. The author talks about a search of the depth: “A context is helpful in assimilating the contents of a term, getting into the essence of a term” [Gajda 1990: 54], and he frequently uses such expressions as: “fundamental” aspects, “global” stylistics, etc.

It is typical for him to make references to axiological, ontic, epistemic categories in his texts, e. g. “perhaps it is necessary to look for non-standard ontological and epistemological solutions, not excluding those remote from the ones dictated by common sense” [Gajda 2013a: 25]. According to him, the most important characteristics of academic style are the following: truthfulness, completeness (adequacy), clarity, rationality, logic in generalizations and conclusions [Gajda 2001: 193]. “It becomes necessary to reconstruct the vanishing way of thinking and to bring back the intellectuals who follow ideas (living for ideas, not on ideas), and are characterized by involvement, independence, criticism and courage” [Horyzonty… 2012: 148]. “Europe’s wealth and power, its unique influence on the spiritual growth of the world throughout many centuries, resulted from its diversified character and a fruitful Heraclitan harmony of opposites, which is nowadays degenerating into a barren dialectics of contradictions” [Gajda 2012: 148]. The objective of the humanities “should be the development of not only a society of knowledge but above all, a society of wisdom by developing a humanist intellectual aura” [Ibid.: 149]. “We condemn ourselves to a spiritual void”, “the absence of spiritual life, and accomplishing a mission is striking” [Ibid.: 147], “achieving higher values, not only utilitarian ones” [Gajda 2013b: 73].

His definition of style as a soul, very vivid and easily embedded in one’s memory, almost poetic indeed, may be a proof of the author’s creativity, his linguistic sensitivity, and it confirms his claim concerning the importance of axiological values behind the texts. Such expressions as intellectual aura, style as the text’s “soul”, the spirit of language, ideal, the spirit of time are recurring in his texts. They imply the author’s approach to language and a researcher’s tasks as to supernatural, metaphysical, supreme phenomena — alive and breathing. The aspiration for perfection is accompanied by a holistic, integrating attitude. The author writes about his attitude, claiming that “the ontic and epistemic holism postulated in this programme still remains an ideal. Ideals are created first of all in order to attempt to accomplish them” [Gajda 2012: 216], or: “In order to achieve ideal or almost ideal knowledge, certain values have to be protected” [Gajda 2001: 184]. The accomplishment of the humanities’ mission consists in “making references to a Renaissance, holistic vision of the world” [Ibid. 2001: 146]. He claims that the humanities are responsible for the development of human thinking, and using Barbara Skarga’s definition, he talks of the humanities sensu largo as of “thinking of human thinking” [Horyzonty 2012: 144].

On the basis of this fragmentary analysis of the Professor’s texts, one can see a reflection of his views, greatest concerns and tasks — practising of stylistics, bringing it out of shadow, taking a holistic view at old and new categories analysed against a wide background deriving from various disciplines, integrating knowledge in order to broaden cognition — the key task for a true scholar. The characteristics of the Professor’s style presented here are merely a small part of the wealth of his thoughts included in his works which certainly deserve presentation in the form of a monograph. They are a reflection of intellectual order and therefore they should be — and they frequently already are — included in obligatory reading lists for students of the humanities.

1 Boldfaced fragments in the text made by me. — D. B.

© Brzozowska D., 2015