Your shopping cart is empty.
Log in

Bilingual literary creativity: language shift or code-switching?

G.T.Khukhuni, I.I. Valuitseva

UDC 81`24/.25


Khukhuni Georgy T.,

Doctor of Philology, Professor,

Head of the Theory of Language and English Studies Department

Moscow Region State University


Valuitseva Irina I.,

Doctor of Philology, Professor,

Head of the Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Department

Moscow Region State University



The writing of texts in more than one language by the same author referred to as a literary creation has a long history. It can be both the original composition and a self-translation by the author with a certain degree of revision of the initial text. The purpose of this article is to consider some cases of author’s bilingualism / polylingualism and analyze its varieties. The material for the research includes literary creations of a number of authors who lived in different historical periods (Joseph Flavius, Ulrich von Hutten, Oscar Wilde, Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Sholom Aleichem, etc.). Usually, in cases where the author uses two / more languages, the opposition of a native language / the second (third, etc.) language is observed. There is also a particular issue of treating the possibility of having more than one native language. In general, in such cases we deal with colloquial / modern languages used by corresponding communities as means of communication. However, there are also situations where one member of a bilingual pair is a language of the culture (Latin and new languages at the Renaissance, Yiddish and Hebrew among a number of Jewish authors, etc.). In any case, the question may arise as to how balanced this kind of bilingual creativity is. Using the categories of sociolinguistics, this issue can be formulated as follows: has the writer retained the code-switching (if yes, then what is the relative importance of both languages in his creative activity) and has it not resulted in a language shift, that is, an almost complete transition to one of the members of the bilingual pair.

Keywords: creative activity, text, bilingual, language, balance, language shift, code-switching.



1.         Istoriia grecheskoi literatury. T. 1: Epos, lirika, drama klassicheskogo perioda / pod red. S.I. Sobolevskogo, B.V. Gornunga, Z.G. Grinberga, F.A. Petrovskogo, S.I. Radtsiga. Moscow; Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1946.

2.         Bugaeva N.V. Utrachennye sochineniia Tsitserona: poema “O svoem konsul’stve” // Istoricheskii zhurnal: nauchnye issledovaniia. 2013. No. 6. S. 48–492.

3.         Kellman S.G. Literary translingualism: What and why? // Polilinguality and Transcultural Practices. 2019. Vol. 16. No. 3. P. 337–346.

4.         Quo vadis — k originalu ili ot originala? (Interv’iu s Evgeniem Vitkovskim) // Chaikovskii R.R. Poeticheskii perevod v zerkale mnenii (15 interv’iu). Magadan: Kordis, 1997. S. 21–32. 

5.         Kostomarov V. Mogut li u cheloveka byt’ dva rodnykh iazyka? Bezuslovno…. // TsentrAziia. 2013. 27.  fevralia. URL: (11.09.2021).

6.         Eells E. Wilde’s French Salomé. 72 Automne 2010. Studies in the Theatre of Oscar Wilde. URL: (10.10.2021).

7.         Esslin M. Samuel Beckett. V poiskakh sebia. URL: (09.10.2021).

8.         Semenchenko Yu.I. Zhanrovyi eksperiment v maloi frankoiazychnoi proze S. Becketta: avtoref. dis. … kand. filol. nauk. Rostov n/D, 2021.

9.         Zholkovsky A. Erosiped i drugie vin’etki. Roman Osipovich Iakobson. URL: (12.10.2021).

10.       Interv’iu Iosifa Brodskogo. Dzhon Gled — Iosif Brodskii. URL: (13.10.2021).

11.       Losev A. Angliiskii Brodskii // Chast’ rechi. Al’manakh literatury i iskusstva. Vyp. 1. New York: Serebrianyi vek, 1980. S. 53–60.

12.       Conrad J. Notes on my books. URL: (15.10.2021).

13.       Russell B. Joseph Conrad. URL: (15.10.2021).

14.       Flakke O. Ulrich von Hutten. Biographie. Berlin: Buchverlag Der Morgen, 1983.

15.       Chernin V. Posleslovie perevodchika // Ierusalimskii zhurnal. 2010. No. 35. URL: (16.10.2021).

16.       Agranovskaia M. Idish: etot sladkii iazyk — «mame loshn». URL: (17.10.2021).

17.       Singer I.B. Banquet speech. URL: (17.10.2021).