LINGUIST List 10.287

Mon Feb 22 1999

Qs: Semantic change, Word order in Russian

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  1. manaster, Semantic changes
  2. Mathias Schulze, Word order in Russian

Message 1: Semantic changes

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 18:52:25 -0500 (EST)
From: manaster <>
Subject: Semantic changes

Does anybody know of a language in which we find the
following path of semantic evolution:


I would appreciate any relevant data. Actually
just the second step SPINAL CORD > BRAIN would
be very welcome.

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Message 2: Word order in Russian

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 15:26:01 +0000
From: Mathias Schulze <>
Subject: Word order in Russian

Word order in Russian

Many languages allow the scrambling of syntagmatic constituents within a
sentence, but in many of these languages, adjectival modifiers cannot be
separated from the noun phrase they modify. In a grammar book for learners
of Russian, I have come across these two examples:

T'azholaja dl'a nejo natshinalas' zhizn'.
(difficult for her started life)
Nev'erojatnyj podn'als'a shum.
(unbelievable rose noise)

a) Are these two sentences acceptable to Russian native-speakers?
b) Am I right in thinking that the two sentence-initial adjectives are
indeed noun modifiers?
c) If these adjectives are noun modifiers what determines that they can be
separated from the modified phrase?
d) Are there other examples of this phenomenon in Russian? 
e) Are there similar examples in other languages, e.g. are there languages
in which the determiner could be separated from the noun?

Many thanks for your help. 

Mathias Schulze
Lecturer in German

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