Derived words with zero suffixes in Russian: participants or situations? Cover Image

Интерпретация имён с нулевыми суффиксами в русском языке: Участник или ситуация?
Derived words with zero suffixes in Russian: participants or situations?

Author(s): Alexander Letuchiy
Subject(s): Language studies, Language and Literature Studies, Theoretical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Morphology, Syntax, Descriptive linguistics, Eastern Slavic Languages
Published by: Институт за български език „Проф. Любомир Андрейчин“, Българска академия на науките
Keywords: nominalization; complex words; prefixation; zero derivation; Russian language
Summary/Abstract: In this paper, I discuss Russian deverbal zero-derived nouns, both prefixed (vyezd ‘departure’) and compound (gvozdodёr ‘tool for pulling out nails’, snegopad ‘snowfall’). It turns out that prefixed nouns mainly denote a situation or its result, while compound nouns may either denote a situation (snegopad) or a participant (agent or a similar instrument-like participant like gvozdodёr). The interpretation depends on the transitivity of the base verb: if it is transitive, the participant interpretation is chosen (gvozdodёr, lesorub ‘lumberjack’, lit. ‘wood-cut’), while with intransitive verbs, the default interpretation is situational (snegopad, ledoxod ‘ice drift’). I explain this possibility by the fact that in complex words, the zero suffix is attached simultaneously with root compounding, and the second root (e.g., -dёr-, -rub-) is not usually a word and does not have a fixed interpretation. By contrast, in words like vyezd the zero suffix is attached to the existent prefixed verb vyexat’ / vyezžat’ ‘drive out’. The properties of the verb are retained under nominalization, including the situational interpretation.

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