Basic Tendencies of Adjectival Accentological Development in Contemporary Russian

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The present doctoral thesis is a study of the problem of "variation" in relation to word stress in Russian adjectives, in both their short and long forms. The stress variation in adjectival forms is investigated from various viewpoints, the main of which is the revelation of the basic processes of stress reorganisation in these groups of words and the establishment of main tendencies of adjectival stress development in contemporary Russian. The dissertation may be divided into two parts. In the first part (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4), the variation among Russian adjectives is examined as to how it is currently reflected in the latest authoritative dictionaries and in the special literature on the subject. The second part (Chapter 6) is devoted to the study of stress variation in Russian adjectives as it is expressed in a sociolinguistic survey carried out on 143 Russian speakers in Moscow. Then the results of the both investigations are compared and the final conclusions are drawn.

One of the central tasks of the present dissertation was the development of scientifically-grounded normative recommendations for adjectives with unstable stress. Therefore a special chapter (Chapter 5) is devoted to the basic theses concerning the complex problem of the "norm", namely to those of them which were later on applied to the interpretation of the linguistic material. The dissertation draws attention to the frequent non-coincidence between the codified norm reflected in the latest authoritative orthoepic dictionary and usage, to the unsatisfactory reflection of usage in this dictionary. Within the author's theoretical framework some proposals on changed codification in one third of the lexemes examined in the informant survey were put forward. The relationship between the different stages of variation among adjectival variants and the labels these variants are assigned in handbooks were ascertained. Some modifications in the system of chronological, normative and/or stylistic labels in normative dictionaries were proposed.

The sociolinguistic aspect of the dissertation presumed a comparison of the results in two educational and two age groups. The differences in stress usage between the two age and the two educational groups prove to be statistically insignificant. However, the survey shows that the dependence between age/educational characteristic and use in speech of an old/new variant has no uniform character for all lexemes.

The thesis identifies a number of complex and multidirectional tendencies in the stress of the short and long forms among adjectives with vacillating stress. These tendencies are examined in two steps. Firstly, the tendencies characteristic of, respectively, the short forms and the long forms of adjectives are investigated. Secondly, the main processes of the stress system reorganisation observed both in the short forms and in the long forms are revealed. The basic tendency of adjectival accentological development in contemporary Russian is the tendency to grammaticalisation of stress, under which is understood the development of a differentiating role of stress in Russian and the formation of a principle of grammatical or semantic expediency in the language.


  • Julia Larsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History and Archaeology


  • Ryska (språk och litteratur), Russian language and literature, semantisation, grammaticalisation, pragmatic factor, explicit norm, language norm, Russian, stress variant, variation, accentology, Stress, accentuation, Grammar, semantics, semiotics, syntax, Grammatik, semantik, semiotik
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Mar 26
  • Central and Eastern European Studies
Print ISBNs91-970201-7-6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-03-26 Time: 10:15 Place: Hörsal 128, Stora Algatan 4 External reviewer(s) Name: Nesset, Tore Title: Førsteamanuensis Affiliation: Universitetet i Tromsø ---