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  • Tvoritel’nyj padež v russkom jazyke XVIII veka (Instrumental case in eighteenth-century Russian) by Nikita Mixajlov
  • Nerea Madariaga
Nikita Mixajlov, Tvoritel’nyj padež v russkom jazyke XVIII veka (Instrumental case in eighteenth-century Russian). Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2012. 300pp. [Studia Slavica Upsaliensia, 47.]

This book is a version of the PhD thesis defended by Nikita Mixajlov at the University of Uppsala in December 2012. It is written in Russian but includes a brief English summary at the end of the book (pp. 291–96).

The author offers a very detailed description of the uses and variants of the instrumental case in the 18th-century Russian literary language. As the author states, it is based on the impressive amount of approximately 11,300 examples including an instrumental case, and 2,400 examples of other grammatical cases, from a specific corpus of forty authors belonging to different genres: poetry, drama, literary prose, letters, memoirs, and learned tracts.

The book displays the structure of a dissertation. In chapter 1, the author defines the goals, planning, and methodology of the study, introduces his sources, describes the morphology of the instrumental case in the 18th century, and mentions some problems in classifying the types and subtypes of the instrumental case, mostly from the point of view of its various meanings.

The following three chapters (2 to 4) are entirely dedicated to describing the various uses of the instrumental case in the corpus selected for the study, as well as to reviewing other grammatical variants or alternative structures with the same or similar semantic value as the instrumental case. In order to describe the very high number of examples examined in this thesis, the author mainly follows Mrázek’s (1964) classification: three major syntactic uses give their titles to the three chapters, namely argumental, adverbial, and adnominal uses of the instrumental case in the 18th century. As the author himself states, there are only two respects in which he does not follow Mrázek’s description: (i) unlike Mrázek, he analyses the instrumental case headed by a preposition at the same level as bare instrumental case, and (ii) he [End Page 105] differentiates the instrumental case governed by verbs from the instrumental case governed by the corresponding deverbal nouns.

Chapter 2 deals with argument (the author uses the term “non-adverbial”) uses of the instrumental case. First, predicative instrumental case in the 18th century is examined in structures including designative verbs, copular verbs with the present, past, and infinitive copula byt’ ‘to be’, and with no copula. For designative verbs the author classifies the uses of instrumental according to the meaning of the corresponding verbs (specifically designative verbs, like nazvat’ svoim synom ‘to call (someone) one’s own son’, verbs of transformation like stat’ ljubimcem ‘to become the favorite’, verbs of appearance or result like javit’sja bezdel’nikom ‘to turn out to be a lazy person’; and verbs of frequent state or property like byvat’ dušoj kompanii ‘to be the life and soul of the group’). As in the other chapters and sections, the author also compares the specific predicative use of the instrumental case with its “competitors” or competing variants, the so-called second cases (i.e., the same case encoding a nominal / adjectival secondary predicate and its antecedent in the sentence, be it nominative, accusative, or any oblique case). Next discussed is the instrumental phrase in the function of subject of a passive structure. This is also compared to the alternative resources to express a passive subject, i.e., the prepositions ot ‘from’ + genitive case and čerez ‘through’ + accusative case. The last argument structure analyzed in this chapter is the instrumental phrase in the function of object of a verb, once again in comparison with alternative expressions, such as the accusative and dative object cases. In this section, the instrumental case is described mainly according to the semantics of each group of verbs that requires an instrumental object, such as verbs expressing possession, governing or ruling, or that something is moved, and others.

Chapter 3 examines adverbial uses of the instrumental case, classified according to the semantics of the instrumental phrase, and includes the following sections: instrumental...


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