Piskunov, Fortunat

Piskunov, Fortunat [Піскунов, Фортунат], b and d ? Ukrainian lexicographer and ethnographer of the second half of the 19th century. He compiled the 8,000-word Ukrainian-Russian Slovnytsia ukraïns'koï (abo iuhovo-rus'koï) movy (Dictionary of the Ukrainian [or South Rus'] Language, 1873), and its revised, 15,000-word second edition, Slovnyk zhyvoï narodneï, pis'mennoï i aktovoï movy rus'kykh iuhivshchan Rossiis'koï i Avstriis'ko-Vengers'koï tsesariï (Dictionary of the Current Folk, Literary, and Chancery Language of the Ruthenian Southerners of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, 1882), much of it taken from Mykola Zakrevsky’s 1861 dictionary of ‘Little Russian’ idioms. The lexicon was printed in a Cyrillic phonetic orthography but in the order of the letters in the Latin alphabet (ie, a, b, c, d, e, je, f, g [in the Latin grapheme], h, x, etc) and consisted of many archaisms, little-used dialectal words, garbled loanwords, and even Piskunov’s neologisms (eg, bylynarbotanist’, vsedijma ‘history’, hojnyksurgeon’, hnita ‘print’). Many of the definitions were incorrect. In their time the two editions of the dictionary were sharply criticized and rejected by Borys Hrinchenko and Kalenyk Sheikovsky, and today they have only a historical value. Piskunov also published Chaika (The Seagull, 1876), an album of Ukrainian folk songs, dumas, tales, fables, and poems (including several of his own); a collection of articles about Taras Shevchenko (1878); and a posthumous edition of Yakiv Kukharenko’s works (1880).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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