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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Northern Russian Pragmatic Particle DAK in the Dialect of Varzuga (Kola Peninsula): An information structuring device in informal spontaneous speech Add Dissertation
Author: Margje Post Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Semantics; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): Russian
Director(s): Tamara Lönngren

Abstract: The Northern Russian pragmatic particle 'dak' presents a good case of how
particles are used to structure information in informal language. It
exemplifies that connectives can mark relations to concepts lacking a
concrete linguistic form.

The research presented here is based on a sound corpus of the dialect of
Varzuga, an old Russian Pomor settlement on the White Sea coast. For the
first time, prosodic analysis and recent theories on information structure
and pragmatic particles were applied to describe a Russian dialectal particle.

'Dak' can be described as a procedural marker, signalling how the
information implied in the expression it is attached to relates to other
accessible information. The particle is used in many different contexts and
positions in the utterance, but it was found to always contribute to an
utterance with the same core meaning.

'Dak' signals an asymmetric relation between two information units, x and
y, and that y is based on x. Examples of x and y are cause and consequence,
condition and event and a dialect word and its explanation. X and y are
often set up against alternatives. The specific content of the implied
relation is determined by the context. X and y should not be understood as
linguistic expressions, but as mental units, since they seldom both have a
linguistic expression. 'Dak' is always prosodically attached to the
linguistic representation of x or y, or to both, and takes a fixed position
relative to these expressions.

'Dak' is compared to other particles used in the dialect, like 'da',
'tak', '-to' and 'ved’', which all give a slightly different
contribution to an utterance.

The thesis also contains a general description of the village of Varzuga
and of its endangered dialect, and some sample texts. Sound files can be
downloaded from the author’s website (