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Practice as the medium for standards fluctuations


Goal of research

The focus of the 2020 project included the zones of variation of the lexical and grammatical expressions of the writer’s and speaker’s intentions: speech usage was considered as an environment that provokes and accumulates changes that affect the fluctuations of the speech standard, the formation of new speech trends, which over time transform the existing language rules (in the broad sense ).

The aim of the study was to outline and comprehensively analyze the dynamics of the lexicon and grammar in their interaction, to find the reasons that motivate speech shifts and systematic deviations from the conservative prescriptive norms and descriptive norms of the past. Non-standard speech was considered against the background of normative texts. Linguistic changes and patterns of language development were considered against a wide typological context.

The research tasks included:

  • replenishing the collections of non-standard linguistic corpora;

  • optimizing the annotation and meta-annotation (information about informants) for the needs of different users;

  • the analysis of the annotation results to assess the consistency of the annotators' actions, the conceptualization of strategies and annotation tactics, taking into account the perspective of automatic tagging;

  • defining the scope of syntactic and lexical tags (markers of deviation from the standard);

  • development of algorithms for automatic search for morphological errors;

  • collection of corpus material of heritage and English resources for recording typologically relevant parameters in the analysis of Russian language data associated with deviations from the established speech norms;

  • interpretation of non-standard lexical and grammatical phenomena according to the data of the Corpus of Russian educational texts (language of the students mastering the academic register of the Russian language) and Russian Learner Corpus (speeches of foreigners and speakers of the inherited language in a foreign language environment).

Methodology and Empirical base of research

The main body of work in 2020 concentrated on the behavior of discursive formulas in synchrony diachrony, understanding of the functioning of deictic components (reflexive pronouns in the typological aspect, with the involvement of Evenk data, Russian marker of uncertainty and defamiliarisation), stylometric analysis of poetic translations by B.L. Pasternak as an example of incorporating the colloquial elements of usage in the early 20th century into the Shakespearean Russian-speaking corpus, a distributive analysis of semantic changes in official vocabulary (on the example of Russian conjunction to est’ ‘that is’), errors in verb constructions in narratives generated by bilingual children with German dominant language, interference of native Russian and L2 English in a punctuation based on essay texts.

Results of research

During the implementation of the 2020 project for the REALEC resource (English Academic Corpus), the following results were obtained:

  • technical analysis of the components of the corpus, as a result of which duplicate texts were identified (work continues to eliminate them), metadata were analyzed (missing metadata were requested) and formatted uniformly;

  • the work of unifying error annotation methods used for the expert annotation of the corpus has entered its final stages;

  • the structure of the database for corpus texts has been improved;

  • a technical task was set to create an administration system for obtaining and organizing the results of an automated assessment of the complexity of the text.

For RLC (Russian Academic Corpus):

  • collection of texts generated by 100 speakers with 12 different dominant languages, with a total of 150,000 tokens. All texts are meta-tagged, classified according to meta-annotation.

  • A quantitative analysis of vocabulary in texts generated by native speakers and students of Russian language at different levels of Russian language proficiency was carried out. In particular, distributive constructions, constructions with phase verbs, constructions with light verbs were considered.

  • Specific errors in factual constructions with the meaning of doubt in the speech of those studying RCT have been investigated.

  • A detailed analysis of the productive and reproductive discourse of foreign students at the TRFL-1 level was carried out.

  • Analysis of strategies in the usage of the lexicon and specific forms in narratives of bilingual children of senior preschool and school ages.

On the Corpus of Russian educational texts:

  • the system of error annotation has been improved: tags have been clarified, inaccurate and irrelevant tags have been removed, the necessary tags are entered.

  • The instructions for marking up texts have been improved. The markup of 750 texts has been verified.

  • 80 texts are marked up, for a total of approximately 45,000 words.

  • Loaded into the corpus: 190 texts with the total number of approximately 113,000 words.

On the basis of the data collected and processed within the framework of this project, we provided a description and explanation of the reasons for frequency failures in the field of syntactic coordination and government in modern Russian. We analyzed the specifics of non-standard form of semi-predicative structures (with the participation of non-finite verb forms), changes in the construction grammar (including the morphological component of filling in the construction slots), microsyntax, formulaic word usage, the use of discourse markers.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The resources that have been created meet the following practical criteria for the humanities and pedagogy:

  • comparison of lexical and grammatical models from non-standard texts with those diachronically functioning in Russian (using the data from the Russian National Corpus)

  • comparison of standard and non-standard lexical and grammatical models with those functioning in a typological perspective (using the data from foreign language and bilingual corpora, as well as Russian dialect collections)

  • identification of lexical and grammatical features of the text, due to genre, thematic, and register peculiarities

  • identifying the specifics of failures in the speech of native speakers and L2 speakers

  • the formation of collections illustrating systematic errors in exercises, and tests for courses in the study of Russian as a native and non-native language, literary editing, speech culture, translation into Russian, general linguistics

  • identification of typical and atypical failures in the development of speech correcting projects in line with speech therapy and speech pathology.


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