Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$33618

Still Needed:

$41382

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Summary Details


Query:   Russian Syntax
Author:  Jameela Ann Lares
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   Thanks to the many who replied to my query on Russian syntax: Vadim B.
Kassevitch, Tilman Berger, Waruno Mahdi, Karen Davis, Keith Goeringer,
Joel M. Hoffman, Dina Belyayeva, Michael Betsch, Don Dyer, Marina
Yaguello, Daniel E. Collins, Sergey Avrutin, Richard Robin, Vera
Schmiedtova, Vladimir Selegey, and Yurij Lotoshko. Don Dyer and Edward
Finegan also sent longer texts to me by mail and attachment.

The report was virtually unanimous that Russian 1) is pretty much SVO, but
that being said, 2) it allows many syntactical variations to express tone
and register, 3) it is also governed by left/right theme/rheme
considerations. As Karen Davis put it, "Russian, being highly inflected,
allows many different word orders with no chance of confusing S with O."
Waruno Mahdi points out that when the inflections for nominative and
accustive case are identical and could lead to ambiguity, then the basic
SVO rule serves as a constraint.

Some exceptions to SVO: Per Joel M. Hoffman: VS also common, as for
example with unaccusative verbs and indefinite subjects. Per Vladimir
Selegey, although Russian has SVO order in neutral contexts, it is
possible to change the order to emphasize the Object.

Bibliography:

Premysl Adamec, *Porjadok slov v sovremennom russkom literaturnom jazyke*,
renowned work on Russian word order.

John Baylin's dissertation (Cornell, 1995? or 1996?).

Comrie, *The World's Major Languages* and *The Slavonic Languages*,
for overviews of the syntax.

*Russkaia* grammatika (Moscow, 1970; known as _Grammatica-70_ to Russian
linguists) has discussions of sentences as structural patterns or models;
and see vol. 2: Sintaksis, ed. Shvedova et al. (Moscow, 1982), paragraphs
2128-2145, especially paragraph 2143.

Jameela Lares
Department of English
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

LL Issue: 9.249
Date Posted: 19-Feb-1998
Original Query: Read original query


Back

Sums main page