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.
This paper is a first step towards a corpus-based description of the semantics of Russian pronouns in intensional contexts. Having justified the use of corpus in (formal) semantic research, I delineate a particular issue within the topic: whether a given pronoun is interpreted de se or de re in counteridentity contexts.
A counteridentity context is a clause within the scope of a counterfactual (clause or adverbial) that affects the identity of a real individual, e.g. if I were you, were I you, etc. If a pronoun such as I, my or the Russian reflexive possessive svoj is used in such a context, two options are theoretically possible: either it picks out the speaker’s real self (de re), or it refers to the identity assumed by the speaker in the contrary-to-fact situations introduced by the counterfactual (de se).
Using data from the GICR corpus (approx. 20 billion tokens), I show that for the Russian first-person singular pronoun ja and its corresponding possessive moj, de se reference is possible but de re interpretation is more frequent. The opposite holds for the reflexive sebja, whereas svoj is interpreted de se with no exception. Special attention is paid to situations where more than one referential strategy is possible. The paper concludes with a couple of observations relevant for the future formal accounts of de se reference.
The impact of second language (L2) on first language (L1), known as L2 transfer, has been suggested as a fundamental driving force of L1 attrition. The goal of this study was to test the differential attrition of verb aspect and tense in L1 (Russian) under the influence of L2 (German) grammatical properties. We also investigated whether the age of bilingualism onset and the amount of exposure to L1 modulate this L2 transfer effect.
We tested sentence processing in 30 adult Russian monolingual participants and 30 L1 attritors – Russian-German bilingual speakers – with early versus late bilingualism onset and with low versus high amounts of exposure to L1. Participants heard grammatically correct sentences, sentences with aspect violations and sentences with tense violations, and were asked to detect errors. The accuracy of participants’ responses was analysed using generalized linear mixed-effects modelling in R.
The L2 transfer effect was found, but was strongly modulated by the amount of L1 exposure: only bilinguals with little exposure to L1 showed greater attrition of L1 aspect compared to L1 tense. Moreover, the age of bilingualism onset proved to be more critical than the L2 transfer effect: an earlier bilingualism onset resulted in greater attrition of both aspect and tense in L1. The study provided new evidence about the differential impact of the grammatical similarity between L1 and L2, the age of bilingualism onset and the amount of L1 exposure on aspect and tense processing in L1 attritors.
Our findings suggest that greater L1 use after immigration helps bilingual speakers to be less susceptible to L2 transfer and prevents attrition of L1-specific grammatical categories. Also, a general decline in processing verbal morphology is more likely to occur in speakers with an early rather than a late onset of bilingualism.
The present study investigates word-order realizations in spoken Russian by bilingual speakers whose first languages are among the autochthonous languages of Russia, namely Daghestanian (Nakh-Daghestanian and Turkic), Siberian (Northern Samoyedic), and Far Eastern (Southern Tungusic) languages. In particular, we focus on the order of head and modifier in genitive constructions realized in spoken Russian by such bilinguals. Whereas in Standard Russian the neutral word order in genitive constructions is N + GEN, the varieties of Russian spoken in Daghestan, Siberia and the Far East often show the opposite order in such constructions, i. e., GEN + N. With the present corpus-based investigation, we aim at determining whether such variations in word order are to be interpreted as the result of syntactic calquing from 106 the speakers’ first languages (all showing GEN + N as the neutral word order in genitive constructions), or rather as a general feature of spoken Russian. To answer this question, we compare the results of the analysis of genitive constructions carried out on corpora of Russian spoken in Daghestan, Siberia and the Far East, as well as on the corpus of spoken Standard Russian of the RNC (Russian National Corpus). To understand what factors could determine the choice of a specific word order, we have analyzed our data not only based on the position of the genitive in such constructions, but also with respect to the semantics of the relation between the head noun and the genitive, the status of the genitive along the animacy scale, and the “weight” of the genitive modifier (i.e., one word vs. two or more words).
This paper re-examines theoretical constructs used in the analysis of Russian word stress employing data from speakers with acquired surface dyslexia, a symptom which is characterized by an impaired lexical access and preserved grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules. Russian stems have been traditionally analysed as lexically accented or unaccented, with a default rule deriving surface stress in the latter. In the present study, we found no differences in the production of accented and unaccented stems. Instead, the analysis of errors revealed that the significant factors determining stress placement include stress neighbourhood and stress position. The speakers produced fewer errors in consistently spelled words, and there was a strong tendency to shift stress to the final syllable in consonant-final words and to the penultimate syllable in vowel-final words. These results indicate that the distributional properties play an important role in stress assignment in both accented and unaccented stem types.