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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

John Taylor


The purpose of this research is to analyze Nabokov’s metalanguage and phonaesthesia as well as the rendering dynamics of Nabokov’s bilingual style. In this research, I incorporate three methods of analysis: philological, formalist, and comparative. In chapter one, I describe Leo Spitzer’s—a renowned linguist, philologist, and a literary critic—philological approach combined with historical analysis based on the example of lexemes conundrum and quandary. During the research, I also implement his method on the Russian lexeme калиберда/kaliberda, which likely possesses the same semantic correlation to the above verbal units. In chapters two, I provide the overview on the development of translation theory as a serious discipline and present its major taxonomizers in translation methods. In chapter three, I present Vladimir Nabokov’s aesthetics of rendering, literal translation, and its role in the discourse of translation theory. In chapter four, I analyze Nabokov’s phonaesthesia—alliteration, assonance, and consonance—and Nabokov’s usage of braided alliterative patterns in his poems and prose in Dar and The Gift. In addition, I analyze Russianisms, lexemes related closely to the Russian cultural context, and their translation in The Gift. I include my observations and conclusions on the analysis of metalanguage and phonaesthesia of Nabokov’s prose in Dar and The Gift in the last subchapter. In Dar and The Gift, Nabokov braids alliterative patterns within lexemes and structurally enabling the metalanguage with energy and deepening its contextual frames.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nabokov,Vladimir Vladimirovich,1899-1977.Dar.English
Nabokov,Vladimir Vladimirovich,1899-1977--Criticism and interpretation
Sound symbolism


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2013 Natalia Vasilyeva