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Regular version of the site

Student projects

Documentation of Shughni, Iranian

Participants: Daria Kosheleva, Evgenia Murzinova, Liza Vostokova
Supervisors: Ekaterina Rakhilina, Tatiana Reznikova.

At present, there is no detailed description of Shughni (East Iranian). Available materials are not systematic – there are several sketches composed at different times. All published texts were recorded at the beginning of the 20th century. They need to be revised by a native speaker, with special focus on linguistic changes that occurred since then. The aim of the project is to organize all available data in a systematic way, to convert it to a user-friendly format and to compose a grammar sketch. One of our goals is to create a corpus of Shughni texts. In the future, we plan to build an electronic version of the dictionary provided with examples from the Shughni corpus.


Participant: Dasha Barylnikova
Supervisors: Ekaterina Rakhilina, Olga Lyashevskaya, Tore Nesset, Laura Janda, Francis Tyers

The project envisages compiling an open-access online database of Russian constructions. We rely on the definition of construction proposed by Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor (1988). The database will focus on constructions that are hard to learn in Russian as L2. We will suggest a classification of construction types, annotating each construction and describing its distribution. Additionally, we will compile series of exercises for each construction in order to help L2 learners in mastering the constructions. Our target group includes students that learn Russian as a foreign language.

Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor 1988 - Fillmore, Charles, Paul Kay and Catherine O'Connor (1988). Regularity and Idiomaticity in Grammatical Constructions: The Case of let alone. Language 64: 501–38.

Classifying meanings of locative cases in Lezgi: 
a corpus study

Participants: Alexandra Kozhukhar, Liza Vostokova 
Consultant: Dmitry Ganenkov

Lezgian locatives show a wide range of meanings and functions. Locatives can be used in spatial sense stricto sensu (with a complex network of interrelated meanings), to encode verbal arguments, or metaphorically. The project aims at describing and classifying the meanings of locative forms. The study is based on the corpus of the Standard Lezgi (http://dag-languages.org/LezgianCorpus/search/).

Variation of palatalized~velarized consonants before <e> 
in loanwords (Russian)

Participants: Kristina Bondarenko, Daria Perova, Marina Borodina
Supervisors: Nina Dobrushina, Michael Daniel

The main goal of this project is to create a broad database of stimuli to be used in further sociolinguistic research of variation of palatalized ~ velarized consonants preceding <e> in loanwords. We will next validate the database described above for the purposes of such research by using it to the series of experiments based on different methods.   

Typological atlas of Daghestan

Participants: Alexandra Kozhuhar, Natalia Tyshkevich, Ilya Uchitel
Supervisors: Michael Daniel, George Moroz

The aim of the project is to compile a typological atlas of linguistic features of the languages of Daghestan. The main point to corroborate is that though most languages under consideration are structurally similar, we can capture parameters of microvariation that also shed light on structural similarities. Participants of the project work on one (or more) potentially language-distinctive features, using data from existing descriptions. A special component of the project is choosing and adjusting a solution for dynamic map building and visualization online.

Project RuSkELL: Online Language Learning Tool for Russian Language

Participants: Olga Buivolova, Olga Kultepina, Anna Maloletniaia
Supervisor: Valentina Apresyan

RuSkELL ("Russian + Sketch Engine for Language Learning") is a new online resource addressed to researchers and learners of Russian. The prototype of the resource is English SkELL (https://skell.sketchengine.co.uk/run.cgi/skell). RuSkELL is based on a specially pre-processed corpus and a sketch grammar written in CQL (corpus query language). Its interface allows users to search for language examples with a query word, extract its frequent collocates and show words by similarity. The aim of the project is to adapt the existing SkELL tool to Russian, improve its performance and make it more friendly for Russian users. The existing shortcuts include errors in the output to queries and non-transparent interface. The project will solve them by (a) modifying sketch grammar rules to exclude irrelevant output and (b) partly resolve homonymy for certain Russian grammatical forms providing collocation groups with easy-to-understand Russian labels. In its improved version, RuSkELL is expected to become a reliable and flexible language resource catering to students, teachers, researchers and lexicographers of the Russian language.

Color terms

Participants: Elena Baskakova
Supervisors: Ekaterina Rakhilina, Tatiana Reznikova

This project is a study of the semantic domain of color terms in a lexical typology perspective. Color terms are considered one of the most studied zones in comparing lexical items cross-linguistically. The analysis of this semantic domain however was mostly done through psycholinguistic approach, which is based on visual samples of colors rather than objects that are characterized by this color. We propose the following approach: we will investigate colors from the point of what kind of objects can be characterized with a particular color term. This method enables to highlight certain objects that are described with a specific color terms and, what is even more important, the parameters apart from the spectral properties of an object, responsible for the choice of the color term. The result of  this projects will be presented as color terms system in ten languages and a questionnaire containing a list of minimum situations  (frames) that could be lexically opposed in a language.

Semantic map of Source

Participants: Anastasia Yakovleva, Marat Yakubov
Supervisor: Michael Daniel

The project aims at building a semantic map of Source based on an extensive sample of languages. The main goal of the project is to identify, on the basis of the parallel text data, what meanings in addition to the primary spatial marking of Source are encoded by the same markers in the languages of the world. The database of the primary Source markers (we consider the spatial meanings of the elative, personal elative and retrospective possessor in spatial contexts) is based on the Parallel Bible Corpus (http://paralleltext.info/data). On the second stage we are going to search for secondary meanings of these markers in the same texts. At the third stage, these meanings themselves in the New Testament text are to be annotated, together with the markers that express them in the languages of the sample. Finally, we are going to visualize the results by building a semantic map.

Taman Today

Participants: Marina Borodina
Supervisors: Ekaterina Rakhilina, Tatiana Nikitina.

The aim of this project is to annotate obsolete language constructions in several texts of the nineteenth century and to assess the readability of classical Russian literature for the modern reader via psycholinguistic experiments.

Database of linguistic raras: evidences from Eskimo, Mayan, Northwest Caucasian languages, Philippine, Salish, Wakashan.

Participants: Alexandra Kozhuhar, Natalia Tyshkevich, Liza Vostokova
Supervisor: Yuri Lander

One of the methodological issues of linguistic typology are raras. According to [Harris 2010] raras can be explained through the least probable diachronic processes, i.e. the occurrence of raras is caused externally. However, according to [Mao 1953] “the fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. There is internal contradiction in every single thing, hence its motion and development». In exactly the same way, the reasons for the the linguistic rarity to appear in the language should be considered not as contact or genetic phenomena, but as their own inherent property, explained by extremely contradictory nature of raras. We claim that some linguistic features constitute a pattern, which can be observed beyond the bounds of precise exotic language area, and that cannot arise neither from language contacts, nor from genetic relationship. In our case, the object of study is a set of morphosyntactic parameters, currently described as structural properties of the Philippine type. 
Harris, A. C. (2010) Explaining typologically unusual structures: the role of probability. Cysouw and Wohlgemuth: 91-103.
Дзе-Дун, Мао. "Относительно противоречия."М.: Изд. иностранной лит 2 (1953): 407-469.