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Linguistic convergence across the languages of Russia

Priority areas of development: humanitarian
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research

The goal of the project is to study convergent processes in language of Russia, notably the contact-induced changes in the domains of phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and syntax.


The following methods were used to achieve this goal. Field research methods were used to collect data on multilingualism in a number villages of the Rutulsky and Akhty districts of the Republic of Dagestan, and in and around the village Kubachi. Russian texts were recorded in numerous villages of the republic of Dagestan. Data on Circassian dialects were collected in the Republic of Adygea and the Krasnodar Krai. Data on the grammar of Rutul was collected in the village of Kubachi in the Republic of Dagestan.

The methods of family retrospective interviews were used to collect information on multilingualism in Dagestanian villages.

Analysis of corpus data was used to study word order in the Dagestanian variety of Russian.

Statistical data analysis methods were used in studies of lexical borrowings in Dagestan, and in the study word order in the Dagestanian variety of Russian

Empirical base of research

The research is based on the databases and linguistic corpora, which were compiled by the participants of the project. In particular, the spoken corpus of Dagestanian Russian was significantly increased, the corpora of Bashkir and Khakass launched. The database of lexical borrowings in Dagestanian languages was opened and intensively used in the research.

Results of research

The research of 2019 was devoted to convergent processes in the languages of Russia. New data was collected, new resources and tools for dealing with language convergence were created, and a number of phenomena in the field of phonetics, vocabulary and grammar were investigated.

The spoken corpora of the Bashkir and Khakas languages which were created as part of the research allow us to study both grammatical and sociolinguistic aspects of the grammar of certain idioms. If we compare the corpora of spoken Russian that were created in the framework of this project to spoken corpora of other Slavic languages, the former distinguish themselves by their excellent search functionality and the quantity of transcribed texts.
Based on the material of one of these corpora, which contains samples of the Russian variant spoken in Dagestan, the construction of incomplete statements an a number of other phenomena characteristic of intonation in Dagestanian Russian were revealed. In a study on word order in the corpus of Dagestanian Russian, it was established that the tendencies observed in Dagestanian Russian can be interpreted as a contact-conditioned intensification of trends that are characteristic of spoken Russian as a whole.

A study of lexical borrowings in Dagestanian languages showed that the degree of lexical influence cannot be fully explained by either the level of bilingualism or geographical proximity. It has been suggested that the intensity of borrowing from the Avar language is due to its status as a local lingua franca. The study of basic vocabulary in Dagestanian rural idioms at this stage remains preparatory in nature: phonetic transcription was partially verified, part of the audio files have been cut, a distance matrix and clustering for collected list from Andic idioms were constructed, and the lists of Lezgic idioms were segmented and aligned.

Thus, in 2019, a number of new resources and tools were created that can be used in the study of language convergence, new methods were applied to the analysis of specific data, and a number of theoretical results were obtained.


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