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Ekaterina V. Rakhilina
The paper examines the properties of heavy as a perceptual concept, based on evidence from 11 languages. We demonstrate that the semantics of this concept is heterogeneous; lexemes of this field can be used in situations of at least three types: Lifting, Shifting and Weighing. These situations are either lexicalised as separate words or they converge in a single lexeme in various combinations following certain strategies. We also argue that different metaphorical extensions correspond to different situation types; this allows us to use analysis of metaphoric shifts as an additional instrument to establish the semantic structure of direct meanings.
Questionnaires constitute a crucial tool in linguistic typology and language description. By nature, a Questionnaire is both an instrument and a result of typological work: its purpose is to help the study of a particular phenomenon cross-linguistically or in a particular language, but the creation of a Questionnaire is in its turn based on the analysis of cross-linguistic data.
We attempt to alleviate linguist’s work by constructing lexical Questionnaires automatically prior to any manual analysis. A convenient Questionnaire format for revealing fine-grained semantic distinctions includes pairings of words with diagnostic contexts that trigger different lexicalizations across languages. Our method to construct this type of a Questionnaire relies on distributional vector representations of words and phrases which serve as input to a clustering algorithm. As an output, our system produces a compact prototype Questionnaire for cross-linguistic exploration of contextual equivalents of lexical items, with groups of three homogeneous contexts illustrating each usage. We provide examples of automatically generated Questionnaires based on 100 frequent adjectives of Russian, including veselyj ‘funny’, ploxoj ‘bad’, dobryj ‘kind’, bystryj ‘quick’, ogromnyj ‘huge’, krasnyj ‘red’, byvšij ‘former’ etc. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the Questionnaires confirms the viability of our method.
This paper surveys relative clause constructions in West Circassian (Adyghe) and Kabardian.
The paper presents a methodology for an automatic construction of a lexical typological questionnaire based on the data from a monolingual Russian National Corpus. Using the domains ‘sharp’, ‘straight’, ‘thick’, and ‘smooth’ as a test dataset, we elaborate an algorithm that constructs a list of collocations for the corresponding Russian adjectives, computes vector representation for every collocation, clusters the vector space into semantically homogenous groups and extracts three central elements from every cluster. We compare the resulting questionnaires with the manually prepared ones, conclude that the suggested methodology demonstrates a high quality and can be implemented in the process of a lexical typological research.
Relying upon the data from the Russian National Corpus, the paper studies Russian wh-exclamatives with and without predicates. Firstly, it makes a list of wh-exclamatives with each of the following eight wh-words: do čego, kak, kakoj, kakov, naskol’ko, skol’, skol’ko, čto za. Secondly, on the basis of the corpus frequencies of the established wh-exclamatives, it shows that those wh-exclamatives that involve NPs predominantly occur without predicates, whereas those wh-exclamatives that do not involve NPs predominantly occur with predicates. Thirdly, the paper reveals that without-predicates wh-exclamatives are mostly Nominative marked and their most frequent type, kakoj-exclamatives, involves either a scalar adjective or a scalar noun, if an NP lacks an adjective. Last but not least, the paper demonstrates which wh-constructions function only as exclamatives, that is, which of them are E-only in terms of Portner and Zanuttini (2003).
The paper traces the level of bilingualism in several highland villages of Daghestan (Northeast Caucasus) through the 20th century. We show that historically, men were more multilingual than women, but this was not true to the same extent for all languages. Highlanders’ repertoires suggest a correlation between the social function of the second language and the degree to which its command was gendered. We also explore the dynamics of multilingualism from the generation born at the end of the 19th century to the generation born in the 1990s. We show that during the 20th century local L2s were gradually displaced by Russian, and Daghestanian multilingualism lost its gendered character. We argue that these changes were caused by the introduction of Soviet schooling.
The paper focuses on a two aspectual morphemes in Moksha Mordvin (< Mordvin < Finno-Ugric). The first of them, the Frequentative, has four phonologically conditioned allomorphs, -ənd-, -n’ə-, -s’ə-, and -kšn’ə-. These affixes used to be sepa-rate morphemes in Proto-Finno-Ugric, but ended up as having the same meaning and being complementarily distributed. A remnant of a more archaic stage of lan-guage evolution is the Avertive marker, -əkšn’ə-, only different from one of the Fre-quentative allomorphs by one phoneme, which can hardly be a coincidence. A dia-chronic hypothesis about how iterative-avertive polyfunctionality could have arisen is suggested.
Lemmatisation, which is one of the most important stages of text preprocessing, consists in grouping the inflected forms of a word together so they can be analysed as a single item. This task is often considered solved for most modern languages irregardless of their morphological type, but the situation is dramatically different for ancient languages. Rich inflectional system and high level of orthographic variation common to these languages together with lack of resources make lemmatising historical data a challenging task. It becomes more and more important as manuscripts are being extensively digitized now, but still remains poorly covered in literature. In this work, I compare a rule-based and a neural network based approach to lemmatisation in case of Early Irish data.
The article compares the qualities ‘sharp’ and 'blunt' in 20 languages. We show that they tend to be unequal, with bluntness being negatively defined through sharpness. The two main oppositions in the domain are 1) the type of sharp object, and 2) the sense through which the quality is primarily experienced. The first opposition divides objects into bladed (knives etc) and pointed (needles etc), the second deals with touch vs. vision and translates to function (sharp/blunt instruments etc) vs. shape (pointed/rounded features etc).
We also find that these oppositions determine the semantic shifts that a word of sharpness or bluntness can have, and that the metaphoric patterns are consistent across languages.
Narrative competence is an essential part of language proficiency. Research of narrative competence has both a theoretical and empirical value. Our study aims to assess narrative competence of adult L2 Russian learners and to investigate the relationship between their narrative competence and their language proficiency. For assessment, we used the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives adapted for the Russian language. We also designed a scale for assessing microstructure in Russian narratives. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The results show that macrostructural narrative subcompetence of L2 Russian learners does not depend on their language proficiency (except for an ability to produce structurally shorter episodes at higher level) and microstructural narrative subcompetence of L2 Russian learners depends on their language proficiency only in some ways. Our study contributes to the theory of narrative competence in L2 acquisition.
A standard typological description of grammatical markers is based on 200 – 400 genetically remote languages. This is a forced restriction, since the number of human languages is much greater. A lot of valuable information is missed out and discovered typological features look overgenerelized and less precise than they should be if the data from all languages could be considered. However, in spite of restrictions, samples of grammatical typology still stand in stark contrast to the average number of languages which can be covered by a standard study in the frame-based lexical typology approach. Lexical typology is time-consuming so the language sample is considerably fewer than in the regular typological research. The main goal of the paper is to present a dictionary-based typological analysis of a semantic domain for a sample of 78 genetically different languages. The semantic domain chosen for the present study is OLD – it is comparatively small, mostly represented with direct meanings, its structure has been described both theoretically and in bilingual dictionaries.
This paper describes the range of patterns used for the expression of ‘other’ in East Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) languages, an indigenous language family of the Eastern Caucasus mainly spoken in the Republics of Daghestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia (Russian Federation), as well as in northern regions of Azerbaijan and eastern parts of Georgia.
Vossian Antonomasia is a prolific stylistic device, in use since antiquity. It can compress the introduction or description of a person or another named entity into a terse, poignant formulation and can best be explained by an example: When Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen is described as "the Mozart of chess", it is Vossian Antonomasia we are dealing with. The pattern is simple: A source (Mozart) is used to describe a target (Magnus Carlsen), the transfer of meaning is reached via a modifier ("of chess"). This phenomenon has been discussed before (as 'metaphorical antonomasia' or, with special focus on the source object, as 'paragons'), but no corpus-based approach has been undertaken as yet to explore its breadth and variety. We are looking into a full-text newspaper corpus (The New York Times, 1987–2007) and describe a new method for the automatic extraction of Vossian Antonomasia based on Wikidata entities. Our analysis offers new insights into the occurrence of popular paragons and their distribution.
This chapter presents an overview of the Northwest Caucasian (West Caucasian, Abkhaz-Adyghe) family.
The paper introduces a valuable tool for EFL instructors to select the direction for creating custom-made learning materials, namely, using a learner corpus with errors annotated by experts for the purpose of administering to the target group of learners a custom-made test which has been automatically generated from the sentences with student errors. The paper describes the stages in test-making and the statistics from automatically generated tests administered to students of the School of Linguistics (HSE).
In polysynthetic West Caucasian languages, the morphological verbal complex amounts to a clause, with all kinds of participants cross-referenced by affixes. Relativization is performed by introducing a relative affix in the cross-reference slot which corresponds to the relativized participant. However, these languages display several cross-linguistically rare features of relativization. Firstly, while under the view of the verbal complex as a clause this affix appears to be a relative pronoun, it is an unusual relative pronoun because it remains in situ. Secondly, relative affixes may appear several times in the same clause. Thirdly, relative pronouns are not expected to occur in languages with prenominal relative clauses. Fourthly, in the Circassian branch, relative pronouns are identical to reflexive pronouns. These features are explained by considering relative prefixes to be resumptive pronouns. This interpretation finds a parallel in the neighboring East Caucasian languages, where reflexive pronouns also show resumptive usages. Finally, since in some West Caucasian languages the relative affix is a morpheme with a dedicated relative function but still shows properties of a resumptive pronoun, our data suggest that the distinction between relative pronouns and resumptive pronouns may not be so clear as is usually assumed.
The article deals with different aspects of language interaction in agroup of neighboring languages in the Akhvakh district of Daghestan, in particular Karata, Tukita, Tad-Magitl’ and Tlibisho (this zone later referred to as Karata cluster). The villages of the Karata cluster are all located within a short walk-ing distanceof 30–120 min from each other, in all four villages different languages are spoken: Karata, Tukita, Akhvakh and Bagvalal respectively.Qualitative and quantitative data was collected during a fieldtrip in March 2018 as part of a long-term project focussing on neighbor multilingualism in highland Daghestan. The research employed the method of retrospective family interviews. Respondents were interviewed about their language reper-toire and the repertoire of their close relatives that they remembered, which enabled the researchers to conclude which languages were used in the interaction between neighboring villages before the Russi-fication and which languages are used today.We found out that interaction between neighboring villages employed and still employs Avar, that is, the lingua franca model is the common strategy in the Karata cluster. Today more than 90% of the popu-lation of the four villages concerned have command of Avar, which is different from many other areas of highland Daghestan. In other parts of Daghestan the most common model for neighbor interaction was the use of a language of one of the neighbors (asymmetrical bilingualism). Symmetrical bilingualism (when both sides have command of each other’s languages) and lingua franca were less common.Whereas the level of Avar language is high, the level of active multilingualism in the languages of Karata cluster remains low. Passive knowledge of the neighboring languages is more wide-spread. We also found out that passive knowledge is asymmetrical forseveral reasons, which are discussed in the article. A suggestion is put forward that the level of understanding of neighboring languages is not only dependent on the genetic affinity of the languages but also on the direction of socio-economic contact.Similar to other regions of Daghestan, the command of Russian has grown in Karata, however, unlike in many other places, Avar as a lingua franca has not yet been displaced by Russian.