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This paper surveys relative clause constructions in West Circassian (Adyghe) and Kabardian.
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.
In this book you can find descriptions of the most popular authentic Rassian games and recomendations how to use them in RSL classes.
This book is for RSL teachers and foreign students interested in Russian games.
The role of access to a learner corpus has proved to increase efficiency of L2 acquisition for learners as well as teaching efficiency for EFL instructors. This paper presents a computer tool for a learner corpus designed at the School of Linguistics of the Higher School of Economics for both categories of users. REALEC, Russian Error-Annotated Learner English Corpus, set up at the School of Linguistics, is the first collection of English texts written by Russian students learning English available in the open access. All errors made by Russian students in their academic writing in English are pointed out to them with special tags by expert annotators (EFL instructors, as a rule). The annotation process is controlled by the research team responsible for consistency in tagging, as well as for the development of the learner corpus. One of the directions of the development is to look at the lexical features used in student essays. Our approach in this research was to find such lexical features in the essays scored highly by experts which will be significantly different from those features in the essays scored with the lowest grades.
The morphology of aspect in many East Caucasian languages is usually described in terms of two aspectual stems. One stem, called ‘perfective’, derives perfective forms, including perfective past (i.e. aorist), perfective converb, perfective participle and other forms. The other stem, called ‘imperfective’, derives imperfective forms, including e.g. imperfective past (i.e. imperfect) and imperfective present, imperfective converb, imperfective participle and some others. Some of the imperfective- vs. perfective-based forms may be formally identical in terms of inflection (e.g. aorist and imperfect may be produced by the same suffix), but this is a matter of variation. In addition to the forms with clear aspectual semantics (e.g. aorist vs. imperfect), there is a number of forms that are not obvious in their aspectual quality. Thus, the prohibitive, expressed morphologically, is consistently derived from the imperfective stem. Imperative and infinitive, on the other hand, may be derived from both stems, thus distinguishing between perfective and imperfective, as in Dargwa (including Mehweb), or from separate secondary stems, as in Archi.
The parallels between East Caucasian languages are not absolute. The study of intra-family variation may focus on two different issues – the distribution of the forms lacking a clear aspectual meaning between the two stems (e.g. where do the prohibitive and the imperative or various types of special converbs go) or on the formal correlation between the perfective and the imperfective stem. It is the latter issue that I consider below. I study the mutual relation between the two stems, the ways in which they are formally different, and whether and to what extent one of them may be considered the primary one and the other derived. I will address this issue in three languages belonging to three different branches of the family: Archi (Lezgic), Mehweb (Dargwa) and Khinalug (Khinalug). My main conclusion is that, notwithstanding a plethora of patterns that differs across and within languages, the general tendency is that the imperfective stem is, in various ways, the marked member of the opposition, either straightforwardly derived from the perfective stem (Khinalug) or being structurally marked in the sense of Croft (2002).
I use the same parameters to arrive at conclusions comparable across the three languages, including:
The languages considered in the paper show different degrees of such asymmetry, from clearly asymmetrical Archi through Mehweb whose system seems to be perfectly symmetrical but where the imperfective stem is somewhat more marked to Khinalug where the imperfective stem is almost unequivocally derived from the perfective stem. The data comes from descriptions, including (Kibrik 1977) (also the dictionary (Chumakina et al. 2008) for Archi; (Kibrik et al. 1972) for Khinalug, and (Magometov 1982, Daniel in preparation) for Mehweb.
Sections 2, 3 and 4 treat Archi, Mehweb and Khinalug, respectively. Section 5 is a comparison of the three languages across the relevant parameters. Section 6 is a summary of the results.
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).
Review of the edited volume Boye, K. & P. Kehayov (eds.). 2016. Complementizer Semantics in European Languages. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. Retrieved 22 Nov. 2017, from https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/455040
In this paper we introduce RusDraCor — an open corpus of Russian drama for digital literary & linguistic research. The corpus (rus.dracor.org) contains plays from the middle of XVIII to the first third of XX century provided with structural (plus some semantic) markup and metadata. Texts are encoded in the XML-based standard TEI, widely used in building corpora for the humanities. We describe the contents and annotation layers of our corpus, provide some details on its development and enrichment, and finally describe three research cases. Each case demonstrates the use of RusDraCor to answer specific questions about composition, structural features and historical evolution of Russian drama.
This paper summarizes the contribution to linguistics by Andrey A. Zaliznyak (1935–2017), the renowned Russian linguist who studied Russian morphology, Old Russian, Slavic accentology and also was the key figure in teaching linguistics to university students in the USSR and in Russia.
This paper discusses a method to detect statistically significant linguistic differences between corpora while factoring in possible variability within the very corpora to be compared. Specifically, we compare two small corpora of dialects of Even, Bystraja and Lamunkhin Even, in an attempt to identify morphemes that are more frequent in either of the corpora. To investigate whether this difference might be due to an over-representation of a speaker who happens to be an outlier in terms of using a particular morpheme, we use DP, a measurement of evenness of the distribution of a specific linguistic feature across subcorpora of the same corpus.
The special fascination of linguistics is the possibility to combine skills which are usually considered to belong to different academic domains. Linguistics belongs to the humanities, since it is about a central property of human beings. Linguistics demands formal methods, because languages are structured. Linguistics needs observation, because languages are a property of human behavior. Linguistics invites one to travel, because languages are found all over the world.
For us, field research is one of the most important parts of doing linguistics. Both of us started taking part in linguistic expeditions – this is how field trips are called in Russian – as very young students. Since that time, we have made field trips almost every year, and during the last five years several times a year. Our field sites are in Daghestan, North-Eastern Caucasus, south of Russia. Dagestan is the home of dozens of peoples speaking very distinct languages (mostly belonging to the East Caucasian alias Nakh-Daghestanian language family, with the level of
internal divergence comparable to that of Indo-European). Traditionally, people live high in the mountains. Now more and more villagers are involved in downward migration – down to the towns and new settlements, down to the lowlands and the plains that open onto the Caspian Sea – and they lose their native languages in this descent. With more than forty languages in the area of 50,000 square km. (less if limited to the original mountain and foothill area),
Daghestan is the place of the highest language density in Russia.
The chapter demonstrates how quantitative corpus methods used in linguistics research may help to rank different realizations of the same phenomena: the use of dative subjects in predicative and adjective constructions. The core idea of the research is to study the distribution of dative subject constructions with predicative and adjective forms that potentially can be used in such constructions, i.e., the tendency of the construction to be used in explication or omitting the dative subject. While usually the predicates are classified on the basis of whether they can potentially be used with a dative subject, the author studied the trends for explicit use of the dative (or prepositional beneficiary arguments) among the “dative subject predicates.” The chapter shows that the frequency rates of the real use of dative subjects can be very different with different predicates. Finally, data from the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries are compared and hierarchical clustering used to reveal diachronic trends.
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.
We created the first large-scale database of signs annotated according to various parameters of iconicity. The signs represent concrete concepts in seven semantic fields in nineteen sign languages; 1542 signs in total. Each sign was annotated with respect to the type of form-image association, the presence of iconic location and movement, personification, and with respect to whether the sign depicts a salient part of the concept. We also created a website: https://sl-iconicity.shinyapps.io/iconicity patterns/ with several visualization tools to represent the data from the database. It is possible to visualize iconic properties of separate concepts or iconic properties of semantic fields on the map of the world, and to build graphs representing iconic patterns for selected semantic fields. A preliminary analysis of the data shows that iconicity patterns vary across semantic fields and across languages. The database and the website can be used to further study a variety of theoretical questions related to iconicity in sign languages.
We consider the pilot project of the corpus of the 19th century to be a linguistic tool which will enable investigation of an unchartered field of research, “microdiachronic” changes. Microdiachrony will outline new linguistic objectives by means of comparing two language norms that are separated by the span of several centuries. The present study embraces three perspectives that are important to us in that they determine the possible future directions for research.
The first is the immense complexity of the mutual influence between the Russian and French languages of that time, which calls for more in-depth professional investigation.
The second perspective deals with the constructions that possess compound and non-compositional semantics; their semantic complexity stands out only when it strikes our eye, as readers or as linguists, by its incomplete compliance with the contemporary norm. In fact, the phrases ja (tebe) govorju, govorju ja, as well as the verbs of speech which have been long and thoroughly studied by linguists sound so habitual that it takes a special instrument to expose their non-triviality.
And finally, the third perspective consists in the semantic trajectory of the micro-changes of our construction, which also proves to be motivated (as well as the construction’s meaning itself). As a matter of fact, it is quite predictable that a construction with an initially very generic discourse meaning should narrow down the scope of its usage. It “freezes” in the two conspicuous discourse-significant and encompassing constructions – that of self-citation and of categorical incentive, and it undergoes different changes in their contexts. But such direction of development points to the widespread transition from the general modal meaning of intensity towards developing “intersubjective” meanings of the locutionary (speaker-oriented) modality – the transition that is thought to be characteristic of the grammaticalization of pre-modal meanings in general (cf. Bybee et al. 1994: 210-212, van der Auwera, Plungian 1998).
This essay questions whether digital literary studies can still be meaningfully regarded as part of literary studies. This heretical question is motivated by a praxeological view of a research project for the network analysis of dramatic texts, in particular by reflecting on the project’s underlying ›epistemic thing‹, which in this case consists of specifically-formatted structural data (and not the actual primary texts themselves). What does this corpus of structural data, which was extracted from 465 plays spanning the period from 1730 to 1930, have to do with the ›epistemic things‹ of literary studies? We explore this question by providing insight into our analyses, which describe the structural evolution of the ›plays‹, try to locate ›small world‹ properties in our corpus, and develop new metrics for plot analysis. The results show not only how digital methods can supplement or enrich literary studies; they also raise questions about how digital the field of literary studies already is, since its research objects are increasingly available in digital forms.
The domain of modality is structurally diverse and may be described in multiple ways (for example, see Perkins, 1983; Wierzbicka, 1987; Hengeveld, 1988/2004; Sweetser, 1990; Bondarko, 1990; Bybee et al., 1994; van der Auwera and Plungian, 1998; Palmer, 2001; Hansen, 2004; Nuyts, 2006; Khrakovsky, 2007). The article reports on the Russian part of a larger survey of Slavic modal words and elucidates the role of formal and semantic context of modal words in a new way. The availability of large corpus data paves the way for study of the empirical reliability of existing classifications originally proposed by philosophers. An important property of the modal words is that they are largely ambiguous, developing new modal meanings both diachronically and from the synchronic point of view.
This paper is a quantitative research on the evolution of dramatic texts since the 1740s to the first quarter of the 20th century. Using our TEI-encoded corpus of plays, we analyze the changes in length and linguistic composition of stage directions. These changes, in our view, reflect the general ‘epification’ of drama – a process that later culminates with the emergence of Brecht’s ‘epic theatre’.
The volume presents several papers on Mehweb, a one-village language spoken in the central part of Daghestan, a republic of the Russian Federation.