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
This study considers the use of the subjunctive in universal conditional concession (UCC) clauses of the type Kto by ni prishel, vsekh puskali (‘Whoever would come was admitted’). In these contexts, the use of the subjunctive cannot be explained by the irrealis component of its semantics, because it can be substituted with the indicative and apparently introduces real situations. A corpus analysis of this type of subordinate clauses suggests that here the subjunctive designates non-referential, habitual situations. The claim is supported by the evidence from the choice of aspect — in indicative UCC clauses, the predicate cannot be perfective whereas the use of the subjunctive removes this constraint.