In Old Russian hymns one sporadically observes the letter Э, incorporated in the text of a hymn. The author argues that this letter refl ects some Hebrew phrases referring to the name of God: he establishes connections between the hymnographic Э and some specifi c hebraisms in the Russian Old Testament manuscripts. The article deals both with the origin of the letter Э and its subsequent evolution.
In an eye-tracking study we tested the hypothesis that comprehension is facilitated by a match between the order of the verb and its arguments in a sentence and the order of the actual sensorimotor interaction with these objects (for example, in the phrase put the bag into the box, the order of the arguments cor- responds to the order of motor actions: take the bag, put it into the box) could facilitate comprehension of such constructions. We tested 40 native Russian speakers in a visual world sentence-picture match- ing task. In prepositional constructions, there was no difference between conditions that matched or mis- matched sensorimotor stereotypes, whereas in instrumental constructions, sensorimotor stereotypes facil- itated comprehension.
The paper focuses on the paths of grammaticalization of the verb of speech manaš (‘say’, ‘name’) in Eastern Mari. The converb of this verb (manən) is desemantisized, it loses the syntactic properties of the verb of speech and shifts to the category of subordinators. Successive grammaticalization steps of this marker can be observed in Modern Mari: in some contexts it functions as a quotation marker, while in others as a subordinator. We suggest two paths of grammaticalization of this form on the basis of the given analysis: the fi rst path involves the context of verbs of speech, mental and emotive complementtaking predicates, the second path involves the contexts of causation and potential situation (in complementation), purpose and causal adverbial clauses. The argumentation for this grammaticalization pattern is based on the constraints on subordinate predicate encoding (acceptability of non-fi nite clauses with manən), the choice of pronouns [we focus on the choice of the anaphoric vs. deictic strategy of encoding the textual («original» in [Aikhenvald 2008]) speaker and hearer] and the mood of the verb in the complement clause. We show that in Modern Mari the analyzed form can have the following functions: as a quotation marker, as a subordinator in complement and adverbial clauses, as a discourse marker of hesitation and autocorrection, and as a semantically empty subordinator that is used to express negation with the infi nitive.
The article gives an overview of mistakes made by a peculiar type of speakers – children of emigrants from Russia who grew up in a foreign linguistic environment and inherited their Russian from their parents. English tradition refers to this variety of Russian as heritage Russian. The study is based on the data from the Russian Learner Corpus, which includes texts produced by children of emigrants to the USA. The results show that the mistakes made by this type of speakers are different from those made by both common speakers of Russian and L2 students, and the process of their emergence is of significant linguistic interest.
The paper discusses the main features of Tundra Nenets grammar,which is in many respects quite peculiar from a cross-linguistic perspective. Special attentionis paid to the new book by Irina Nikolaeva «A Grammar of Tundra Nenets» (De Gruyter Mouton, 2014) uncovering a great deal of hitherto virtually unexamined aspects of Tundra Nenets syntax. Careful consideration is given to the weak and strong points of the description as well as its important role in the context of Samoyedic studies.
The paper addresses the phenomenon of double semantic roles (Endpoint — Place, Goal — Cause) which act as two possible realizations of the same semantic valency and which possess distinct morphosyntactic expressions — accusative and prepositional case, respectively. The paper attempts to determine semantic classes of verbs, which are characterized by this type of semantic structure, as well as identify the shifts in interpretation, which occur in each of the two possible morphosyntatic realizations. The study demonstrates that double semantic roles and the ensuing morphosyntactic variation are typical primarily for caused motion verbs of semantically liminal classes, which combine the semantics of caused motion with other components, such as placement, deformation, creation of an image. There are certain semantic peculiarities typical of each of the realizations. For example, the role of Place calls for nouns with the meaning of spaces or large surfaces, but not containers; the role of Endpoint calls for containers or small surfaces. Intentional actions are better combined with the expression of Endpoint; unintentional predicates favor the expression of Place. On the whole, double roles are considerably more frequent in direct senses than in metaphorical ones, possibly because greater semantic fuzziness typical for the former is replaced by higher semantic specificity in the latter, which limits the syntactic expression as well.
The paper presents an overview of the current issues and tendencies in studies of differential argument marking (DAM). This research area is of topical interest in modern descriptive and theoretical linguistics, primarily in the context of the general methodological problem of modeling linguistic variation. Therefore, along with traditional issues such as studies of DAM in specific languages and structural positions, modern research addresses the issues of the universality of mechanisms of DAM, its diachronic emergence and development, statistical analysis and multivariate models in typological and language-specific investigations of DAM.
The Slavonic Bible was translated from Greek revealing textual correlations to the Septuagint. However in the majority of East Slavic manuscripts one can also observe indubitable Hebrew influences: there are numerous Hebraisms missing in the Septuagint while manifesting direct Slavic- Jewish contacts; they are introduced to correct the traditional Slavonic translation of the biblical text. These Hebraisms are based on the collation of the Slavonic Bible both with the Hebrew Torah and with the Aramaic Targums. The treatment of the Divine names (preserved in the Targums in their original, Hebrew form) allows us to demonstrate that borrowings from the Torah could be translated in the Slavonic Bible, whereas borrowings from Targums were reproduced in the Slavonic text in the original (Hebrew) form. The revision of the Slavonic Bible had several stages and was a long process. The author attempts to define a chronological stratification of different data related to this process.
The paper is dedicated to Hebrew phrases referring to God found in some Russian codices of the Pentateuch of the XV-XVII centuries. The author examines the origin of this phenomenon.
The paper discusses the mechanism of loan translation as one of the major instruments of foreign language contact influence on Russian, which has seen a sharp rise at the turn of the 21st century. Particular attention is paid to semantic calquing – a type of loan translation that is more difficult to reveal due to the absence of formal similarities in source and target language structures. Case studies show that direct meaning translation correspondence between a word in the source language and a word in the replica language is a basic criterion to decide whether or not a particular transferred meaning is a case of semantic calquing (polysemy copying). In connection with the discussion of semantic calquing, the paper criticizes the concept of “secondary borrowing”, which is sometimes claimed to be a language contact mechanism distinct from both direct lexical borrowing and loan translation (calquing). The analysis shows that this concept includes essentially different phenomena – instances of polysemy copying (semantic calquing) as well as cases of direct borrowing of lexemes homonymous with previously borrowed loanwords. The paper thus proves that direct borrowing and calquing are the only two language contact mechanisms operating on the lexical level, while the term “secondary borrowing” can only refer to (sometimes random) formal coincidence between a new and an existing loanword
The study examines tense variation in complement and subject clauses subordinate to and co-temporal with matrix past tense verbs in Russian. The semantics of the matrix verb is commonly named as one of the major factors that govern tense choice in complement and subject clauses: verbs of speech are said to exclusively license present tense in embedded clause; existential verbs, on the other hand, are said to block present tense; whereas verbs of perception are said to allow both past and present tense, cf. Vanja skazal, čto Maša xorošo vygljadit ‘Vanya said that Masha looked [pres] great’ vs. Slučalos’, čto Maša vygljadela xorošo ‘It happened (there were times) that Masha looked [past] great’ vs. Vanja videl, čto Maša xorošo vygljadit/vygljadela ‘Vanya saw that Masha looked [pres/past] great’. However, despite a considerable body of research on the topic, a comprehensive investigation of tense distribution across various semantic classes of matrix verbs has not yet been undertaken. This paper presents a corpus-based analysis of tense distribution in complement and subject clauses across five semantic classes of the matrix verb: speech, mental, emotion, perception, and existential. Statistical analysis revealed the following probabilistic hierarchy of licensing past tense: [existential verbs (97%)> verbs of perception + complementizer kak (70%)> verbs of perception + complementizer čto (41%)> mental verbs (9%)> verbs of speech (1%)]. This hierarchy rectifies our notion of tense choice in complement and subject clauses in Russian. It is also notable for its high correspondence with the interclausal bondedness hierarchy maintained in typological studies. The suggested isomorphism of the two hierarchies implies that tense appears to be a probabilistic marker of interclausal bondedness, with the absolute tense encoding closer and the relative looser relations.