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Article

Стилистически маркированные глаголы в русском языке: совать-сунуть

The paper deals with the morphosyntactic and stylistic properties of the Russian verb SUNUT’ and argues for their semantic motivation. SUNUT’ is usually considered as one of “putting verbs” (denoting change of location), but it has some peculiarities in its syntax, derivational patterns, semantics and stylistics. Unlike other verbs of this taxonomic class, SUNUT’ profiles the way the object is transferred to the Goal location, but not the location itself. It implies that after the object is rapidly moved by the human hand, the hand is quickly removed from the final location of the object. The idea of incompleteness which arises due to the component of high speed is responsible for low-register uses of SUNUT’.

It is shown that the component of low register disappears in the context of some prefixes, like PRO- which change the semantic profile of the lexical item. However, ZA- or POD- derivatives inherit the original stylistic register of SUNUT’ and enrich it with additional implicatures emerged from their meaning (‘putting far away’ --> ‘without enough control’ + low register; ‘putting under’ --> ‘secretly’ + low register). 

Low register is also inherited by two reflexive derivatives of SUNUT’: SUNUT’SJA & SOVAT’SJA. The results of the corpus study (based on the data of Russian National Corpus, www.ruscorpora.ru) presented in the paper demonstrate that previously the reflexive and non-reflexive forms of SUNUT’ were not stylistically marked and occurred  in neutral surroundings. No earlier than in the XIX century the reflexive forms SUNUT’SJA & SOVAT’SJA denoted impatient motion of a human being in different directions. In most cases that was motion  forward form the initial position. Interestingly, the forms were also used in contexts of polite request, which prove they were not marked stylistically. The gradual effect of lowering of the register took place within the interval of one century; it represents a clear case of semantic shift affecting these derivatives.

The non-reflexive verb SUNUT’ displays an unusual semantic development: along with ‘putting’, in Modern Russian, it can denote ‘giving’, ‘showing’ and ‘hitting’. The final part of the paper argues that the corresponding shifts (no matter how unusual they look) are motivated by regular syntactic patterns of SUNUT’. The most complicated is the shift from ‘putting’ to ‘hitting’. The verb undergoes radical syntactic reinterpretation and becomes intransitive.

However, the mechanism of this shift is fully transparent as it is shown in the article.