Russian Linguistics

http://link.springer.com/journal/11185

List of Papers (Total 27)

The honorific third person plural in Slavic

Although much has been written about polite forms of address in Slavic, the grammatical expression of respect for a person that does not take part in the conversation has hitherto received little to no attention. Yet this type of honorific reference is widely found in the Slavic languages, especially in dialects and substandard varieties. In the present article I shall...

Comments on birchbark documents found in the twenty-first century

This article presents a general overview and highlights some specific features of the birchbark texts that are included in the twelfth volume of the series Novgorodskie gramoty na bereste. This volume offers full critical editions of all texts found in Novgorod and Staraja Russa between 2001 and 2014. My chief goal is to scrutinize systematically the wealth of new information and...

Mutual intelligibility between West and South Slavic languages

In the present study we tested the level of mutual intelligibility between three West Slavic (Czech, Slovak and Polish) and three South Slavic languages (Croatian, Slovene and Bulgarian). Three different methods were used: a word translation task, a cloze test and a picture task. The results show that in most cases, a division between West and South Slavic languages does exist...

The typology of Slavic aspect: a review of the East-West Theory of Slavic aspect

Until recently, differences between the verbal aspectual systems of the individual Slavic languages have not received much attention and data was often interpreted to hold for all Slavic languages. Only in the past decades has this situation changed and to date a number of studies comparing two or more Slavic languages have seen the light of day. Independently from each other...

The oldest traces of Semitic (Hebrew and Syriac) in early Rus’: two inscriptions in the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod

In the present article, we argue that two eleventh-century phrases inscribed many times on the walls of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (коуни рони and парехъ мари) are of Semitic provenance. We will provide the linguistic arguments which support the claim of a Hebrew source for коуни рони and a Syriac one for парехъ мари. In addition, we offer a reconstruction of the...

Sociolinguistic variation in Novgorod birchbark documents: the case of no. 907 and other letters

In this paper it is argued that the variation between local and supradialectal grammatical features in birchbark letter no. 907 from Novgorod is not accidental, but sociolinguistically motivated from a communicative point of view. In addition, other birchbark documents are discussed—in particular nos. 23 and 755 from Novgorod—which may reveal similar sociolinguistic awareness on...

Prefix variation as a challenge to Russian aspectual pairs: are завязнуть and увязнуть ‘get stuck’ the same or different?

Two key issues in Russian linguistics are the traditional assumptions that (a) the aspect system presents ‘pairs’ of verbs that are perfective vs. imperfective, and that (b) since the lexical meanings of the two verbs that form a pair are identical, the affix that marks aspect has no semantic content. In relation to prefixed perfectives, this approach can be called the Empty...

Iconicity, economy and frequency: the paratactic conditional perfective present construction in Russian

In this paper a semantic analysis is provided of the paratactic conditional perfective present construction (PCPPC) in Russian. This is a conditional construction without a conditional conjunction (subordinator) which contains a perfective present or perfective future tense in the protasis. It is investigated whether, and how, this paratactic conditional construction differs from...

Don’t shoot the messenger. A pragmaphilological approach to birchbark letter no. 497 from Novgorod

The article analyses the communicative function and linguistic form of Novgorod birchbark letter no. 497 (N497) within a pragmaphilological framework. By applying a function-to-form mapping and taking into account the graphic representation of the text, I propose a new reading, in which the messenger plays a central role in the communication chain and in which the spoken word...

The role of prominence scales for the disambiguation of grammatical functions in Russian

Recent studies on Norwegian, German, and English show that the ordering of constituents in transitive sentences depends on their animacy, definiteness, pronominalization and length. It has further been suggested that these properties can be used to predict grammatical functions of NPs. We examine whether these properties play the same role in Russian, a language with a rather...

On direct speech and referential perspective in birchbark letters no. 5 from Tver’ and no. 286 from Novgorod

This article analyses within a pragmaphilological framework the communicative function and linguistic form of birchbark letters no. 5 from Tver’ (Tv5) and no. 286 from Novgorod (N286), both dating back to the 14th century. In the case of Tv5, we propose that the letter can best be understood if we assume two instances of direct speech without any markers of reportedness. With...

Two reflexive markers in Slavic

The paper deals with lexical types of the reflexive marker in Slavic. On the one hand, this exponent shows up in a range of expressions associated with diverse interpretations. On the other hand, the properties within the various types are not homogeneous across the Slavic languages. The challenge consists in finding a unified analysis for the constructions and their varying...

Complex verbs between syntax and morphology in Bulgarian

This paper develops a theory of Bulgarian sentence and verb complex structure based on lexicalist minimalist assumptions, Bierwisch’s theory of Verb Cluster Formation (VCF), and the Two-level Theory of Meaning which distinguishes grammatically determined meaning from extralinguistically determined meaning. It is argued that both ще and да are modal particles marking specific...

Velmezova, E.: Les lois du sens: la sémantique marriste (Slavica Helvetica, 77), Bern, etc. Peter Lang, 2007, 392 pp.

The discussion of Velmezova’s epistemological analysis of Marrism focuses on four questions: what did Marr say, where did his views come from, why did they gain acceptance, and do Velmezova’s findings affect Marr’s place in the history of linguistics?Velmezova treats Marrism as the application to language of the historical approach to the human sciences that dominated 1920s...

The competing roles of SV(O) and VS(O) word orders in Xoždenie igumena Daniila

Though both Early East Slavic (EES) and Modern Russian have a relatively free word order, the distribution and function of word order in EES is quite distinct from Modern Russian. This paper is a study of word order within a single EES text, Xoždenie igumena Daniila, which is split into two major subdivisions: travel guide and narrative. In the travel guide, existential, stance...