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Fundamentals in the Structure and History of Russian

A Usage-Based Approach

David K. Hart, Grant H. Lundberg

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: Slavica Publishers

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-x

How do human languages work? How is it possible for anyone, let alone a two-­year old child, to learn and ultimately master the virtually limitless intricacies of a language? Beyond vocabulary and grammar rules, what is it specifically that native speakers know that allows them to speak so fluently and effortlessly? ...

Part I: Russian Sounds

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Introduction to Part I

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pp. 3-4

Why do foreigners have accents? For example, why do Russians learning English often mix up w and v when they speak English, or why do Japanese speakers sometimes have a hard time with the English letters r and l? English-speaking learners of Russian also usually speak Russian with an accent. ...

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Chapter 1. The Russian Sound System

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pp. 5-20

Oddly enough, we begin our discussion of the sounds of Russian by examining some of the sounds of English and how they are represented in writing. English is famous—or infamous—for the inconsistencies of its spelling of words. For example, live (the verb) and live (the adjective, as in “Live from New York!”) are pronounced differently. ...

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Chapter 2. Alternations

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pp. 21-54

Earlier we discussed a way to represent sounds by written symbols using phonetic transcription: one sound—one symbol. We also defined the sounds of Russian using articulatory features. Anyone who has studied Russian knows that one of its fundamental characteristics is that the pronunciation of words may differ when conjugated or declined in the various cases. ...

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Chapter 3. Usage and Cognition

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pp. 55-64

Consider this picture from a Russian book by N. M. Beten’kova that teaches grade-­school children how to spell. Why would the spelling of the word for ‘river’ be a problem for Russian children? ...

Part II: Russian Morphology and Morphophonemics

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Introduction to Part II

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pp. 67-68

It’s one thing to speak Russian well, another to understand how Russian is put together and how to make sense of the manifold irregularities that plague both native speakers and learners of Russian. Anyone with an expertise in Russian should have at least a basic idea of how to account for its inflectional irregularities, alternations in derivation, spelling conventions, ...

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Chapter 4. Morphology of Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives

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pp. 69-92

Russian words are composed of units of sound. A morpheme (морфéма) is a sequence of sounds (or the absence of sound) that has some kind of lexical meaning. For example, in the word председáтель, we can see several morphemes: the prefix пред‑ meaning ‘in front of,’ the root сед-­ ‘to sit,’ and the suffix -­атель ‘an agent.’ ...

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Chapter 5. Inflectional Morphology: Verbs

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pp. 93-108

Like the Russian nominal and adjectival inflectional system, many of the complexities of the verbal system can be understood by using morphology as a descriptive device. In this chapter we will first review the facts of verbal inflection as expressed by normal orthography. ...

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Chapter 6. Morphophonemics and Derivational Morphology

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pp. 109-150

We have observed that an ending might have several variants. We were able to account for most of these variants by means of rules. For example, we can account for the alternation in writing of the gen sg masc endings -а/-я by reference to a spelling rule which specifies that after soft consonants the morpheme { a} is written as -я (see 4.3 (8)). ...

Part III: Historical Sound Changes

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Chapter 7. Explanation through Historical Phonology

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pp. 153-194

Up to now we have been describing modern Russian, and in particular, many of the alternations in sound and endings that can make learning Russian complex. We have postponed asking “why” questions in favor of asking “what” and “how” is Russian put together. In this chapter we will address the why questions. ...

References

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pp. 195-196


E-ISBN-13: 9780893578961
E-ISBN-10: 0893578967
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573966
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573965

Publication Year: 2013

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Subject Headings

  • Russian language -- Morphophonemics.
  • Russian language -- Morphology.
  • Russian language -- Phonology.
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