Verbalization Of Self-Organized Simultaneity In “Finnegans Wake” By James Joyce


The article uses the linguistic-synergetic approach to explore dissipation of Slavonic insertions in “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce. From this perspective Joyce’s deflected word forms with embedded Slavonic lexemes are studied for the first time. This study advances the concept of self-organized simultaneity to explore Joyce’s resonating verbalization within the Slavonic fractal dimension. From this study’s findings, Joyce creates self-organized simultaneity by hybridization and polyphony. His multiplying deflected word forms, filled with the lexemes from a considerable variety of languages, are interactive, since they are capable of dissipating meaning through ramification of fractal dimensions. Verbalization of self-organized simultaneity enhances an allusive effect which eventually spins out of Joyce’s control due to the formation of a turbulent, dynamic environment in which self-organized simultaneity operates. Slavonic lexemes are involved in this process by building a Slavonic fractal dimension. The results of this study extend insights of current research with regard to Joyce’s mechanisms of self-organized simultaneity. This study claims that self-organized simultaneity, empowered by deflected word forms, allows Joyce to innovate literary text by simultaneity of multi-language underlying meaning. Practical applications include other languages whose participation in self-organized simultaneity can be explored in a similar way.

Keywords: Verbalizationself-organized simultaneityhybridizationdissipationfractal dimension


Verbalization in “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce (Joyce, 1992) remains understudied, regardless of inventory efforts made by the Wakean glossaries (Sandulescu, 2013; Sandulescu, 2014). Alongside with quite few explorations of Joyce’s innovative verbalization abroad (Attridge, 2000), the post-Soviet scholars from Ukraine (Fomenko, 2017), Belarus (Lameko, 2014), and Russia (Sergayeva, 2015; Silantyeva, 2017) have contributed to the linguistic study of Joyce’s verbalization within the framework of interdisciplinary research. In these studies at issue is the claim that Joyce’s hybrid word-making creates not only unusual word forms but also enhances interactional properties of Joyce’s text itself. The study of Joyce’s deflected word forms that integrate Slavonic verbalization can elucidate the overall mechanisms of hybridization in “Finnegans Wake”.

Problem Statement

Current research on Joyce’s hybridization in “Finnegans Wake” continues to be unsystematic. Some Joycean scholars focus on the role of Irish verbalization that creates continuous underlying meaning throughout this text (Sandulescu, 2014), whereas others attempt at identifying the fundamentals of Joyce’s multi-language simultaneity (O’Neill, 2013). Although it is well recognized that Joyce’s hybridization creates a turbulent textual environment in which the English literary language loses its dominant position and dynamic stability in “Finnegans Wake”, the overall mechanisms of this process that can be applied to any inserted language are still poorly investigated. However, the study of hybridization in “Finnegans Wake” can explain how Joyce transforms the language associations borrowed from Laurence Sterne into multi-language networked insertions.

Grounded in the principle of self-similarity (Mandelbrot, 1983), it is possible to view Joyce’s hybridization in “Finnegans Wake” in terms of an emergent parameter of order which self-organized simultaneity conceptualizes. It is relevant to find out to what degree verbalization of self-organized simultaneity that involves Slavonic lexemes reveals Joyce’s mechanisms of hybridization throughout this work of fiction.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the present study:

RQ1. How are the Slavonic lexemes involved in self-organized simultaneity of “Finnegans Wake”?

RQ2. What mechanisms observed in hybridization with Slavonic lexemes can be traced in hybridization that involves other languages?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative, contextually-based study was to address the gap in current research related to verbalization of self-organized simultaneity in Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake”.

Specifically, the Slavonic lexemes were extracted from Joyce’s deflected word forms. Going beyond the inventory of Slavonic lexemes in the studied text, we focused on their inferred meaning in order to make the explicit the boundaries of the Slavonic fractal dimension presented in this text. By doing this, it was possible to identify the mechanisms of self-organized simultaneity that Joyce used consistently throughout “Finnegans Wake”.

Research Methods

Previous research revealed multi-language verbalization in “Finnegans Wake” (Attridge, 2000; Sandulescu, 2013; Sandulescu, 2014; Fomenko, 2017; Silantyeva, 2017). Typically, research on Joyce’s verbalization follows the examination of his word-making patterns (Silantyeva, 2017), the exploration of his associative networks (Lameko, 2014), and the inventory of borrowed lexemes from other languages (Sandulescu, 2013; Sandulescu, 2014).

Following in the footsteps of previous research whose claim is that Joyce radically transformed Rabelais’ and Carroll’s portmanteau words, this study develops a linguistic-synergetic approach to textual self-organized simultaneity. It utilizes Mandelbrot’s idea of self-similar fractals (Mandelbrot, 1983).

The use of textually-based cluster analysis of Slavonic insertions in Joyce’s deflected word forms helps identify how resonant verbalization activates a larger amount of knowledge than it would be in the absence of a deflected word form. First, Slavonic insertions are extracted from deflected word forms. Second, networked allusions to Slavonic culture are identified. Third, the Slavonic fractal dimension is inferred from the interactional networked allusions. Finally, the role of Slavonic insertions within the framework of the whole text’s self-organized simultaneity is interpreted.


Formation of self-organized simultaneity

Joyce considers his self-organized simultaneity to be similar to Ernest Rutherford’s dissipation of natural alpha particles. He describes this similarity using, together with others, deflected word forms that contain the Slavonic lexemes: “The abnihilization of the etymby the grisning of the grosning of the grinder of the grunderthe first lord of Hurtrefordexpolodotonates through Parsuralia with an ivanmorinthorrorumblefragoromboassityamidwhiches general uttermost confussion are perceivable moletonsscaping with mulicules” (Joyce, 1992, p. 353.22-29).

Joyce verbalizes self-organized simultaneity by means of the extended subject “the abnihilization of theetymbythegrisningofthegrosningofthegrinderofthegrunderthefirstlord of Hurtreford” whose fragmentation is traced by a serial preposition “of” which is of high frequency in Joyce’s other texts. Joyce thinks in terms of etym whose verbalization dissipates into Rutherford’s atom in a deflected word form “Hurtreford”. Thefirstdeflectedwordform“abnihilization” is created by putting together the Latin “ab nihilo” (out of nothing), the Greek “nihil” (owes nothing), and the English abstract noun “annihilation”. Hence, Joyce formulates etym’s zeroing by emphasizing the meaning of “nothing”.

Based on something similar to etym’s zeroing that “abnihilization” verbalizes, Joyce goes further to discover interrelatedness verbalized “bythegrisningofthegrosningofthegrinderofthegrunder”. In this sequence, only the third notional word “grinder” is registered by dictionaries, whereas all the rest (“grisning”, “grosning”, and “grunder”) are deflected word forms. Joyceis allusiveto Rutherford’s collision of alpha particles. The functional analogue of Rutherford’s nucleus may be expressed by three alliterated consonants in all four words. Hence, the verbalized collision is transmitted in the presence of the emergent parameter of order by alliterated “gr” and “n”, alongside with a twin replacement “s” in “grisningofthegrosning”with “d” in “grinderofthegrunder”. Hence, the collision is verbalized by a consequent acoustic change – the alliterations “gr” and “n” are retained for the sake of self-identity of these four words. Moreover, Joyce initiates the chaotic movement by the paired replacement of “n” with “d”, as well as the transfer of the front vowel to the back vowel in each pair. Ontheonehand, Joyce supports self-organized simultaneity by the parameter of order, which is the alliteration and repetitions of the preposition “of”. On the other hand, self-similarity gets fragmented, pointing to something like that but still different. Both pairs have isotropic properties, as they are invariant in all directions. The difference within each pair lies not only in replacement of the front vowel with the back one (i – o, u) but also in the occurrences of the back vowel in foreign words, the transcription of shortened Russian word “groza” (thunderstorm) in “grosning” and umlautless German noun “Grűnder” in “grunder”. Theomissionofthevowelmutationis ascribed to the patterned shift of the front vowels to the back ones without intermediate states.

The mechanism of self-organized simultaneity

Self-organized similarity is governed by dissipation that networks allusive verbalization. Following the above mentioned example, the alliteration pattern “gr” dissipates into other words, such as the Russian lexeme “grom” in “gromgremmit” (it thunders) (Joyce, 1992, p. 23.6-7) and “groza” in “Grozarktic”(Joyce, 1992, p. 339.21), thus embedding them in multi-language imitations of thunder whose total number of letters is allusive to “One Thousand and One Nights”. Thedissipationcontinuesin “ gr ib gr ob gr ab” (Joyce, 1992, p. 332.15), which combines alliterated “gr” and “b” inthe Slavonic lexemes “grib” (a mushroom in Slovenian), “grob” (a coffin in Polish and Slovenian) and “grabit” (meaning “to rob” in Slovenian). Bydoingthis, JoyceinducesanallusiontothepoembyVladimir Mayakovsky “A good attitude to horses” which contains a consequence of such Russian words as “grib”, “grab”, “grob”, and “grub” (mushroom, rob, coffin, and rude).

Furthermore, the mechanism of self-organized simultaneity indicates not only hypertrophied flashing of one through multiple else but subordination of all that is observed, thought and remembered for the purpose of artistic revelation. For this, Joyce resorts to allusive verbalization, as he does in “grosning”, engaging the name of Ivan the Terrible in the process of etym zeroing. The dissipation of “grisning” into “grosning” makes the reader return to the deflected word form “grisning” with a view of isolating the incorporated truncated noun “grist” in relatedness to “grinder”, the word that immediately follows “grosning”. This can be patterned to the choice of close synonyms found in “fromswerveofshoretobendofbay” (Joyce, 1992, p. 3.1) whose lexemes “swerve” and “bend” are redundant. The Russian insertions “groza” and “Grozny” in “grosning” facilitateto trace the Russian verb “gryznut’” (bite in parts) in “grisning”. ThisRussianverbdissipates the cultural (Slavonic) allusion to Ivan the Terrible who had “bitten” Western Siberia, the lands of the Don Army, and some others. Simultaneously, “grosning” inserts the French word “gros” that can indicate the scale of expansion.

Based on the assumption of Joyce’s self-reflection on his own word-making method, organized simultaneity involves the fractionized attachable (“the grisning of the grosning”) which is allusive (“the grinder of the grunder”) to the Tower of Babel. Since Joyce himself indicates the fragmentation operation, it can be applied for the standard word “grinder”. Supported by the alliteration of three consonants, self-organized simultaneity puts this formally undistorted word into the turbulent state. “Grinder” breaks up into the English lexeme “grin”, the German “er”, and the English “rind”. Under the pressure of self-organized simultaneity, the standard word, which shares the alliterative pattern with three deflected word forms, by analogyacquires fragmentation properties as well. The “grinder” insertions augment meaning via the allusion to the cruel reign of Ivan the Terrible (“grosning”). When using the code of changing the root vowel in “the grisning of the grosning”, it is possible to insert the vowel “o” in “«grunder” to restore the lexeme “ground” (Biblical Hebrew аdamah, Adam, and the human atom). Moreover, the deflected word form “Hurtreford” incorporates the name of Rutherford networking his scientific achievement (“lord”), God (“lord”), hurt, and recirculation (the prefix re-).

From this in can be inferred that Rutherford’s pioneering disintegration of an element is similar to Joyce’s artificial disintegration of a traditional word form. This Joyce verbalizes in the form of “expolodotonates». The deflected verbalizationof the English verb “explode” dissipates “polo”, a game in which players on horseback drive a ball by long-handled wooden mallets to score a goal. Moving the back vowel to the front row in accordance with the recirculation pattern, it is possible to restore the verb “expel”. The inferred meaning is: something explosion-like is pushed as in polo played on horseback. Simultaneously, Joyce activates an allusion to Marco Polo.The remaining part “lodotonates” can be allusive to something that detonates a lode.

Patterned redundancy to eliminate traditional narrativity

Joyce employs redundancy to transfer verbalization inserted in deflected word forms to a variety of fractal dimensions that substitute traditional narrative in “Finnegans Wake”. Verbalization of self-organized simultaneity makes the deflected word form so non-equilibrium that it can be possible only when acoustic repetitions are turbulent.

For example, “ivanmorinthorrorumble” mentionsIvantheTerribledissipates into “ grosn ing” by means of back translation. Fragmenting “ivanmorinthorrorumble”, it is possible to identify the Russian verb “morit’” (starve, exterminate), the Russian word “or” (noise), the name of Thor, and the English words“horror”and “rumble”. In this case, self-organized simultaneity dissipates something like that into such fractal dimensions as power, mythology, and artistic creativity (allusive to the expansion of lands by Ivan the Terrible and Rutherford’s concept of nucleus). It is likely that Einstein’s theory of relativity is involved as well.

In a similar vein, Joyce uses patterned redundancy to transform “How Buckley killed the Russian general”. “ Burkeley ’sShow’saructiongetherall” (Joyce, 1992, p. 346.11-12] transforms Buckley’s name into the name of the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, leaving from the Russian general the distorted “ructiongetherall”, which in turn incorporates the English words “eruption”, “gather”, and “all”. Similar examples are: “How Buccleugh shockedthe rosinggirnirilles » (Joyce, 1992, p. 346.17-18), “tillbutagain budly shootsthonrisinggerminal” (Joyce, 1992, p. 354.34-35) or “ Buckilybuckily , blodestainedboyne”(Joyce, 1992, p. 341.5-6) (the allusion to the famous battle of the Boyne). Predicting the murder of the Russian general, Joyce plays with homophones “general” (a military rank) and “general” (related to most of people, events or places) with a view to dissipating the power into a Nobody, as Odysseus called himself when the cyclopPolythemus asked his name: “tobecomeyourson-to-be, gentlemenstealer, generalman , seelord, gosseand bosse , hunguestand horasa” (Joyce, 1992, p. 325.15-17).

Verbalizationofself-organizedsimultaneityby means of hybridization createstextual polyphony. Forexample, in “pontedvodavalls” (Joyce, 1992, p. 580.1) the deflected word form “vodavalls” comprises the transcribed Russian word “voda” (water) and the distorted French lexeme “valse”which further dissipates into the German word “Walzer”. “TheTaleofBygoneYears” (itismadeallusivebyverbalization “Nestor”) mentions the ancient name of the Black Sea which was Pontos. InGreekmythology, Pontuswasasea-god. Joycedissipatesthewaters ofanysearesorting to the general old Greek name of the sea.

Verbalization of self-organized simultaneity by a deflected word form enhances disequilibrium which can eventually move out of Joyce’s control. Toillustratethepoint: “In steam of kavo s now arbat os above our hearths doth hum” (Joyce, 1992, p. 512.21-22).The Slavonic fractal dimension is formed by the lexeme “kava” in Ukrainian, Belorussian, Slovenian and Serbian languages, the Lithuanian lexeme “arbata” (tea), and the allusion to Moscow’s Arbat Street. The lexeme “kava” is likely to be selected by its similar sounding with the river Kava in the Tverskaya region (Joyce continues compiling a list of the rivers on Slavonic territories). It is well known that Peter the Great learned the habit of drinking coffee when he stayed in Holland. But it is the deflected word form “arbatos” that brings about an interesting allusion. In Moscow there used to be Pechkin’s café whose name can be traced via the English lexemes “steam” and “hearth”. The English lexeme “hum” shows a reference to the public place. Pechkin’s café in Moscow was among favorite haunts attended by artistic people in the 19th century. The Russian poet AfanasyFet used to say that Pechkin’s café used to emit love for science and art.


The findings from this study are important in several ways. First, Joyce’s self-organized simultaneity is construed as resonant verbalization of a fractal dimension. This finding shows that Joyce utilizes the same mechanism of hybridization regardless of a language involved in distorting the English word-form. Second, hybridization of deflected word forms, including the Slavonic insertions, dissipates underlying meaning that is further directed to the fractal dimensions, enhancing disequilibrium of a literary text. Third, of self-organized simultaneity whose properties are hybridization and polyphony is Joyce’s innovation responsible for disrupting the hegemony of one literary language in a work of fiction. Fourth, multiplying deflected word-form, which are markers of Joyce’s word formation, self-organized simultaneity exhausts itself, since allusions reach a hypertrophied scale.

With these understandings of Joyce’s self-organized simultaneity, future research may focus on the co-evolution of verbalization of self-organized simultaneity in “Finnegans Wake” by Joyce and “The Masks” by Andrei Bely with a view to revealing innovative practices of each writer in their epoch’s word-building practices.


Copyright information

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

About this article

Cite this paper as:

Click here to view the available options for cite this article.


Future Academy

First Online




Online ISSN