The paper considers semantics–syntax interface in the domain of Russian psych-verbs denoting emotional states. It attempts to demonstrate that syntactic properties of psych-verbs are semantically motivated. Psych-verbs are usually assigned two thematic roles – Experiencer and Stimulus. While Experiencer in Russian psych-verbs denoting state is usually coded as nominative or dative, Stimulus lacks a standard syntactic expression. The paper puts forward a hypothesis that variation in syntactic expression is semantically motivated. It is explained by the absence of a holistic role in place of Stimulus. The types of emotional stimuli vary greatly in different emotion clusters (anger, joy, sadness, pride, fear etc.) and these ontological differences receive semantic and syntactic reflection. In different emotion clusters and depending on syntactic expression, the role of Stimulus can be semantically flavored by other thematic roles, such as Patient (for certain verbs of anger), Adressee (for certain verbs of joy), Place or Theme (for certain verbs of sadness), Instrument or Part (for verbs of pride) and others. The choice of syntactic expression is often triggered by this additional thematic role. The types of additional roles are determined by the whole event structure, namely, the type of stimulus, wishes of the experience, the type of feeling, behavioral and speech manifestations of emotion. If a verb allows different kinds of syntactic expression of stimulus, each government pattern is associated with its own additional thematic role.
This paper considers some cases of word families interference on the basis of form and semantics, as in Russian words ultimately related to Proto-Slavic verbs *mesti, *męsti and *męti. The interference is shown to have started as early as in the Proto-Slavic period. Also, several conclusions are drawn regarding the direction and conditions of these instances of interference in word families in the history of the Russian language, necessitating some amendments to the existing etymological versions of specific words.
This paper examines the inscription on a white-stone cross, a superb example of carving technique and epigraphic calligraphy, placed on the western wall of the Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod under Archbishop Aleksiy (1359–1388). The attention of researchers has been drawn in particular to question of dating (the date in the inscription itself has not survived) and an enigmatic phrase, for which several interpretations have been proposed. This paper puts forward a new one, OBŠČAGO LĚTA, arguing that this expression is an equivalent of the Latin annus communis ‘common year’ as opposed both to the “bissextile year” (of the solar cycle) and “embolismatic year” (of the lunar cycle). The expression OBŠČEE LĚTO, unique in Old Russian written sources, is thereby an interesting fact — hitherto unregistered by lexicographers —of the history of Russian language; it also enlarges our knowledge of the chronological erudition of the fourteenthcentury Novgorodians.
The article focuses on the ordering of arguments in Russian. The central class of phenomena is represented by verbs having a clausal complement that has a fixed position with respect to other arguments and the matrix verb. I mostly analyze verbs like "ščitat’" ‘consider’, "rassmatrivat’ kak" ‘regard as’, "trebovat’" ‘request, require’, which require the clausal complement to be situated after the nominal object, but not before it. I seek to find the reasons for this restriction, which is in general not characteristic of Russian syntax. The conclusion is that it results from several factors: the syntactic weight of complement clauses, looseness of syntactic link with the head, compared to nominal arguments, and so on. The data of other Russian constructions (e. g., coordinate structures) also show that clausal constituents tend to be situated after nominal ones.
This study describes the use of the nominative object in infinitive clauses in Old Russian and Old Novgorod dialect. There are two competing constructions in this position: nominative object with infinitive and standard (accusative) object. The main goal of the paper is to analyze the choice between nominative and accusative case in these constructions. Nominative objects in infinitival clauses are considered in terms of differential object marking (DOM). The author compares nominative objects with unmarked objects in the Uralic languages. The most significant for the selection of case in this construction are word order and information structure.
The article analyzes the genre of request letters to newspapers in the Soviet Union and in emigration. As the data show, the manner of realization of the illocutionary purpose and the choice of the topic discussed in the letter are determined by several factors, such as the socio-cultural context of the communication, the level of knowledge of the literary language and the social status of the author, as well as other factors. The pattern of description of the genre adopted in the article includes five parameters: 1) illocutionary purpose; 2) text structure; 3) topic; 4) properties of author and addressee; 5) linguistic properties. It is demonstrated that the language mechanisms used in request letters to newspapers differ in several respects from those occurring in requests in other spheres of communication. For instance, the imperative verb form, which is frequent in oral requests, occurs very rarely in request letters. At the same time, the genre under analysis is realized differently in the Soviet Union and in emigration. Keywords: request letter, letters to newspapers, speech genres, speech act, illocutionary purpose, text structure, properties of author and addressee, topic, linguistic properties of letters, mass communication.
The paper considers the use of infinitives and subjunctive forms as modal patterns of indirect speech attested in Russian Chronicles of the XI—XVI centuries. In early texts, an infinitive in a subordinate clause describes either a speech act that must be put into practice or a situation destined to happen. Subjunctive forms are used only in citations containing requests. The illocutionary power of reported speech is regularly marked with an illocutionary verb. In later chronicles, infinitive clauses and subjunctive forms begin to alternate in modal patterns of indirect speech containing official orders. However, the modal patterns are not yet attested as a substitute of imperative mood in subordinate clauses.
Though the Russian infinitive is a non-finite form, it is frequently used independently, with or without the subjunctive particle by. This paper is an attempt to answer the question whether independent infinitival constructions should be considered as a result of insubordination (the term by Nicholas Evans). Basing on the data from Russian National Corpus, two semantic types of infinitival constructions are isolated. One may be referred to as evaluative infinitive (Emu by ostat'sja odnomu ‘It’s better if he stays alone’). The second construction may be called counterfactual non-evaluative infinitive (Ne minovat' by emu tjur'my, no pomogli rodstvenniki ‘He had all chances to go to prison, but his relatives helped him out’). Comparing these constructions with infinitival conditional clauses shows that the evaluative infinitive is a result of insubordination of the protasis of conditional clause, while the semantics of the non-evaluative counterfactual infinitive is a simple sum of the meanings of the infinitive and subjunctive categories.
The article focuses on Old Church Slavonic constructions хотѣти / имѣти + inf
The paper deals with the semantics of Old Church Slavonic constructions хотѣти / имѣти + inf
The paper discusses various classifications of Russian illocutionary sentence types in a cross-linguistic perspective. The common practice is to distinguish among three basic Russian sentence types: assertives, interrogatives, and imperatives. On this view, exclamatives and optatives belong to assertives. However, some classifications suggest to single out either exclamatives or optatives from the three basic types. Cross-linguistically, the three types are also wide-spread and frequent. They are characterized with a number of grammatical and intonational features. However, minor sentence types (e.g., exclamatives, optatives, imprecatives, non-finite structures) can also be differentiated on the basis of their special formal properties. Looking at Russian in a cross-linguistic perspective, the paper argues for that both exclamatives and optatives are formally distinct from the three basic types and, therefore, constitute two separate minor sentence types.
The paper examines the Russian construction Num + classifier + Ngen formed specifically with the numeral classifier shtuka (Num shtuk Ngen); this classifier occurs more frequently than other classifiers (chelovek, dush, edinic). I argue that the classifier shtuka undergoes a process of semantic bleaching: it occurs in the context of approximation (despite the literal meaning of the word shtuka ‘a single thing’) and animate nouns appear in this construction in colloquial speech. The paper focuses on the usage of the counting construction with the classifier shtuka with animate nouns in spoken Russian. Some restrictions on the usage of the numeral classifier shtuka with animate nouns are revealed. There is also substantial evidence in favor of a gradated semantic hierarchy of animate nouns.
This article considers the Russian marginal copula construction stat’ +byt’ (become to be) + nonverbal predicate and its normative variant without the copula byt’. These constructions were used in the 18th century language where they both were thought as normative, and they are still used today in web communications although possibly without a diachronic succession. We try to figure out the underlying factors that contribute to the choice of the construction and claim that they are different for the language of today and the 18th century. That leads us to the conclusion that the semantic contribution of the copula verb in the 21st century language of the internet communication is not the same as it was in the 18th century.