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Article

«Ксенопоказатели» по данным параллельных корпусов и современных СМИ: русское якобы

Апресян В. Ю., Шмелев А. Д.

The paper considers the less known aspects in the functioning of Russian lexical “xeno” markers, in particular, of the particle jakoby ‘allegedly, ostensibly’. Traditionally described as expressing the falsity of a proposition contained in somebody’s utterance, in conjunction with a negative assessment of the utterer as aware of its falsity, jakoby displays very different usages in the language of contemporary mass media. Namely, it is frequently used as a mere marker of evidentiality, without an obligatory assessment of the proposition as false or of its source as untruthful. In fact, it can even be used to refer to statements that are treated as true within the very same text, only to indicate that the source of this information is not the writer herself but somebody else (e.g., a different news agency), in what might be termed as “safety” strategy. Besides, jakoby in its mass media usages demonstrates unusual syntactic behaviors, namely shifts in scope, where it is placed before the speech verb rather than before the challenged proposition: jakoby utverzhdat’, chto P ‘jakoby claim that P’ instead of utverzhdat’, chto jakoby P ‘claim that jakoby P’. However, the study of the Russian-English parallel corpus reveals that these usages are not as unusual as they may appear. In Russian translations of English texts jakoby sometimes functions as a translation of the English supposedly, allegedly, ostensibly or other (e.g., verbal) markers of uncertainty, but more frequently occurs with no apparent stimulus in the source, merely to mark indirect quotation. It appears therefore that there is a certain need in the Russian language for a neutral evidentiality marker. It is occasionally filled with jakoby, which in this case displays a tendency for grammaticalization: it expresses that the source of information is other than the speaker herself (but contains no other semantic components), and takes syntactic scope over the speech verb instead of the proposition it challenges.