Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Інститут мовознавства ім. О. Потебні Національної академії наук України; Instytut movoznavstva im. O. Potebni Natsionalnoi akademii nauk Ukrainy). A scientific research institute established in Kyiv in 1930 to co-ordinate all linguistic research in Soviet Ukraine after the liquidation of the various linguistic departments of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (VUAN). It was created to give scholarly legitimacy to the Stalinist policy of linguistic Russification at a time when Ukrainian studies and the social sciences and humanities in general were being muzzled, nationally conscious Ukrainian academics were being persecuted, and strict controls were being imposed on all research and publications. Under the directorship of Naum Kahanovych (1933–7), the institute issued unmitigated attacks on the previous directors and authors of linguistic research, many of whom were repressed, and began publishing terminological bulletins and dictionaries adapted to Russian terminology to supplant those prepared by the abolished Institute of the Ukrainian Scientific Language of the VUAN. From 1934 to 1939 it published 16 issues of the serial Movoznavstvo, made up chiefly of unscholarly, defamatory articles. Upon Kahanovych’s arrest, the new director became Mykhailo Kalynovych (1937–41), who initiated the publication of the irregular Naukovi zapysky: Movoznavstvo (18 vols, 1941, 1946–63), in which some articles were published in Russian. After the Soviet occupation of Galicia, a branch of the institute was created in Lviv in 1940.

During the Second World War, the institute’s staff was evacuated to Ufa (1941–4), where it constituted the language section of a unified Institute of Language and Literature that published two volumes of its own Naukovi zapysky up to 1946. After the war the institute’s Lviv branch became a department of the Institute of Social Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR under the supervision of Ilarion Svientsitsky (1945–56). The institute itself was reinstated and acquired a new director—Leonid Bulakhovsky (1944–61)—under whom its publishing program expanded in the 1950s. Since that time the institute has published the serials Dialektolohichnyi biuleten’ (9 issues, 1949–62) and Leksykohrafichnyi biuleten’ (9 issues, 1951–63); an official bimonthly journal, Movoznavstvo (since 1967); and numerous monographs, textbooks, and collections of articles in the various branches of linguistics, including dialectology, etymology, grammar, lexicology, lexicography, linguistic geography, onomastics, stylistics, and syntax.

In the 1980s three very important multi-volume publications were undertaken by the institute: the four-volume Istoriia ukraїns’koi movy (A History of the Ukrainian Language, 4 volumes, 1978–83), each volume covering a separate structural aspect of the Ukrainian language, such as phonetics, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary and phraseology; the three-volume Atlas ukraïns’koï movy (Atlas of the Ukrainian Language, volume 1, 1984; volume 2, 1988; and volume 3, 2001), based on a vast collection of data pertaining to regional dialects and collected in the 1950s through the 1970s; and the seven-volume Etymolohichnyi slovnyk ukraïns’koï movy (Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language, 6 vols, 1982–2012), the most comprehensive register of origins and semantics of all known words in the Ukrainian language. During much of the period before the end of Soviet rule, the institute also continued to publish a considerable amount of propaganda about the linguistic affinity and interaction of the Ukrainian and Russian languages, mirroring Soviet nationality policy.

From 1962 to 1981 the institute’s director was Ivan Bilodid, under whom a Russian department was created in 1971 to propagate linguistic Russification. From 1981 to 1996 the director was Vitalii Rusanivsky (who between 1997 and 2007 served as an advisor to the institute’s directorate). Since 1996 the institute has been headed by Vitalii Skliarenko, a full member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine since 2003.

In 1991 a new scholarly institution was created—the Institute of the Ukrainian Language of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine—on the basis of the relevant departments of the Institute of Linguistics. The latter, while continuing to study various aspects of the Ukrainian language, specializes in general and comparative linguistics. Since the late 1980s the institute has produced a number of important publications—both collective works and individual monographs—in various fields of linguistics and the Ukrainian language in particular, among them Vasyl Nimchuk, Davniorus’ka spadshchyna v leksytsi ukraїns’koi movy (The Old Rus’ Legacy in the Vocabulary of the Ukrainian Language, 1992); Frazeolohichnyi slovnyk ukraїns’koї movy u dvokh knyhakh (A Phraseological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language, 2 volumes, 1993); Mova totalitarnoho suspil’stva (The Language of the Totalitarian Society, 1995); Vitalii Skliarenko, Praslov’ians’ka aktsentolohiia (An Ancient Slavic Accentology, 1998); Halyna Yavorska, Preskryptyvna lingvistyka iak dyskurs: mova, kul’tura, vlada (The Prescriptive Linguistics: Language, Culture, and Power, 2001); Hryhorii Pivtorak, Pokhodzhennia ukraїntsiv, rosiian, bilorusiv ta їkhnikh mov (The Origins of Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, and Their Languages, 2001); Orest Tkachenko, Ukraїns’ka mova i movne zhyttia svitu (The Ukrainian Language and the Linguistic Life of the World, 2004); Ocherki po sravnitel’noi semasiologii germanskikh, baltiiskikh i slavianskikh iazykov (The Essays on the Comparative Semasiology of the Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic Languages, 2005); Ukraїns’ka mova: entsyklopediia (The Ukrainian Language: Encyclopaedia, 1st ed. 2000, 4th ed. 2013); Istorychna typolohiia slov’ians’kykh mov (A Historical Typology of the Slavic Languages, 2008); Indoievropeis’ka spadshchyna v leksytsi slov’ians’kykh, baltiis’kykh, hermans’kykh i romans’kykh mov (The Indo-European Legacy in the Vocabulary of the Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, and Romance Languages, 2013); Etymolohichnyi slovnyk topominiv Ukraїny (The Etymological Dictionary of Ukraine’s Toponyms, 2014); and Pylyp Selihei, Svitlo i tini naukovoho styliu (The Light and Shadows of the Academic Style, 2016).

As of 2017 the institute consists of 5 departments: general linguistics; Slavic languages; Russian language; Romance, Germanic, and Baltic languages; and the languages of Ukraine. The most recent book about the institute appeared in Kyiv in 2005.

Instytut movoznavstva im. O.O. Potebni NAN Ukraїny – 75. 1930–2005: Materialy do istoriї (Kyiv 2005)
Selihei, P. ‘Ukraїns'ke akademichne movoznavstvo za devianosto rokiv (1918–2008),’ Movoznavstvo, no. 4/5 (2008)
Hnatiuk, H. ‘Deshcho z istoriї Instytutu movoznavstva,’ Movoznavstvo, no. 4/5 (2010)

Serhii Bilenky, Oleksa Horbach

[This article was updated in 2017.]

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