Communicative empathy in the sermons of Antonii Radyvylovskyi

UDC 811.161.2’01″16″

Yulia OLESHKO, PhD in Philology, Junior Researcher,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv,
Kyiv, Ukraine

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4154-101X


The paper deals with empathy as a category of communicative linguistics. Generally speaking, empathy is an interpersonal phenomenon that determines the ability to project one’s personality onto the object of contemplation and thus fully understand it. Verbal empathy is defined as the speaker’s identification, which may vary in degree, with a person/thing that participates in the event. Linguistic empathy is a phenomenon that goes beyond grammar. The speaker’s identification with a certain position is represented in the utterance through the unconscious/automatic choice of one of the normatively correct options, which convey a pragmatically different attitude. Such related to empathy concepts as point of view/viewpoint/perspective and deictic center are briefly discussed in the paper. They all are similar with what S. Kuno names “camera angle”; their meanings are overlapping, but not identical. The relationship between psychological empathy and linguistic/communicative empathy is defined in different ways: linguistic empathy is designed only to formally identify the speaker with a participant in the event referred to in the utterance, or linguistic empathy inevitably verbalizes the empathy and sympathy of another. When preaching, the priest must understand what his congregation feels (cognitive empathy) and convey these experiences accordingly (communicative empathy), and while conveying, mentally relate to the parishioners (affective empathy). In the sermons of the Baroque homilet of the 17th century Antonii Radyvylovskyi, perhaps the most important expression of the speaker’s empathy towards his interlocutor-listener is the Old Ukrainian language. Other markers of communicative empathy, such as translation, interpretation, localization, folklore element use, have been identified in the sermons of Antonii Radyvylovskyi. Undoubtedly, among his listeners there were people of various backgrounds, educations and types of activity, since not only the brothers of the monastery were present during the service, but also “ordinary people” who came to pray to the Pechersk miracle workers. Therefore, the author strives to compose sermons that would appreciate the first and understand the second. These sermons were to be accessible and popular.

Keywords: communicative empathy, point of view, preaching discourse, Antonii Radyvylovskyi, Old Ukrainian literary language of the 17th century.