Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Russian Grammar (But Were Afraid to Ask)
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Slavica Publishers
Table of Contents
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This book is a collection of almost all of my individual columns that were published in the AATSEEL Newsletter between 1998 and 2010 in answer to readers’ questions. The columns were substantially revised for this publication. Most of the questions are of such a nature that they are not covered in either traditional...
Part 1 - Verbs: Thorny Issues
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It is not an exception, just a verb of a different type. In the history of the Russian language, actually even before there was a Russian language, that is in the Proto-‐‑Slavic period, there was a process known as “monophtongization of diphthongs”. The diphthongs...
Part 2 - Nouns: A Few Issues with Case
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There is a fourth noun that might be added to this group: цветок / (цветки) / цветы, which unlike the first three does not qualify as suppletive, that is having different roots for different forms. The problem in the oblique cases is related to the so-‐‑called “counting form...
Part 3 - Numerals: Count on Some Difficulties
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Indeed, for a few nouns we have two forms of genitive: the regular genitive and the “paucal” genitive that is used after the numerals 2, 3, and 4. What we find here with these numerals and call “genitive singular” is actually a remnant of the dual number (which survives in some Slavic languages, e. g. Slovenian). As...
Part 4 - Adjectives: Problems with Comparatives
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As for the definitions, both textbooks (B. Rifkin. Грамматика в контексте, McGraw-‐‑Hill, 1996 and O. Kagan, F. Miller. В пути, Prentice Hall, 1996) are correct. This reminds me of an old Russian-‐‑Jewish joke where the rabbi pro-‐‑ claims that two people having an argument are both right (and if you think that’s...
Part 5 - Prepositions: Tricky Choices
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When speaking of how much time someone was doing something, when the verb is imperfective and the emphasis is on the process, no preposition is used. Perfective verbs with the prefixes ПО-‐‑ meaning ‘short duration’ and ПРО-‐‑ meaning...
Part 6 - Adverbs: Disambiguating Synonyms
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Yes, тут is definitely more colloquial, as expressions of the type тут как тут suggest (there is no counterpart *здесь как здесь in any variation). But this is only one of the differences. And there is a good reason why тут is more colloquial than здесь, аs we will see later. There is also a semantic distinction: тут can mean ‘the...
Part 7 - Some Syntactic Problems
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The problem here is that these similar looking questions actually evoke different concepts. When we ask Что это? in a classroom setting, we expect the students to name a familiar object in a foreign tongue. When the same question is asked in a conversation between...
Appendix: Searching the Internet
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The publication of the column began before various language tools and resources became available on the Internet. As a result, the examples in the earlier columns were collected the old-fashioned way: through extensive reading with a pencil in hand. Later on, the Internet proved to be of great help not only for providing examples...
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Publication Year: 2011