Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2016, No.6, pp.164-175
UDC: 
81

The discursive construction n v tom, čto and its parallels in other languages: a contrastive corpus study

Dobrovol’skij D. O. 1 (Moscow, Russian Federation), Pöppel L. 2 (Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden)
1 Russian Language Institute named after V. V. Vinogradov Russian Academy of Sciences
2 Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract: 

The present investigation deals with parallel corpus data in Russian, English, German and Swedish. On the basis of an analysis of our findings we attempt to identify operational criteria that can be used to classify discursive constructions. The goal is to find a means for contrasting fixed, idiomatic phrases, on the one hand, and compositional constructions that are close to free word groups, on the other. The research is based on the example of the Russian construction N v tom, čto and its parallels in English, German and Swedish. Parallel corpora are usually used to find ways of translating linguistic structures into other languages, to identify the language-specific features of linguistic units, or to improve their lexicographical description. The present investigation is the first study to employ parallel corpus data to identify different types of Russian discursive constructions, and for that reason it can be viewed as a contribution to the development of the methodology of corpus studies. The pattern N v tom, čto in Russian is represented by the following vatiants delo v tom, čto; problema v tom, čto; beda v tom, čto; sut’ v tom, čto; pravda v tom, čto; ideja v tom, čto, etc. Here we address three of them delo v tom, čto; problema v tom, čto and pravda v tom, čto. Of these three, only delo v tom, čto is lexicalized, i.e. can be regarded as a unit of the Russian lexicon. This is proved by the fact that translations of the expression into other languages primarily involve not its word-for-word correlates, but instead functional equivalents that formally have nothing in common with it. Two other constructions are most frequently translated word-for-word, which suggests that these can be regarded as free word groups. The empirical data were drawn from Sketch Engine and the RNC.

Keywords: 

parallel corpus, discursive units, constructions, fixed expressions, free word groups, Russian, English, German, Swedish

For citation:
Dobrovol’skij D.O., Pöppel L. The discursive construction N v tom, čto and its parallels in other languages: a contrastive corpus study. Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2016, no. 6, pp. 164–175. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15293/2226-3365.1606.13

References: 

1. Apresyan V. Ju. Concessivity: mechanisms of formation and interaction of complex meanings in language. Moscow, Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury Publ., 2015, 288 p.

2. Kopotev М. V., Steksova Т. I. Exception as rule. Bordeline units between grammar and lexicon. Moscow, Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury Publ., 2016, 168 p.

3. Shmelev А. D. Russian language-specific lexical units in parallel corpora: prospects of investigation and “pitfalls”. Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies: Proceedings of the International Conference “Dialogue 2015”. 2014, issue 14 (21), pp. 584–595.

4. Bybee J. L. Language, usage and cognition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press Publ., 2010, 264 p.

5. Bybee J. L. Usage-based theory and exemplar representations of constructions. The Oxford handbook of construction grammar. Eds Hoffmann T., Trousdale G. Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press Publ., 2013, pp. 49–69.

6. Bybee J. L., Hopper P. J. (eds.). Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure. Amsterdam, Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publ., 2001, 492 p.

7. Croft W., Cruse D. A. Cognitive linguistics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press Publ., 2004, 356 p.

8. Delahunty G. P. Contextually determined fixity and flexibility in thing sentence matrixes. Yearbook of Phraseology 2. Berlin, New York, Mouton de Gruyter Publ., 2011, pp. 109–135.

9. Delahunty G. P. An analysis of the thing is thatS sentences. Pragmatics. 2012, vol. 22 (1), pp. 41–78.

10. Dobrovol’skij D., Pöppel L. Entrenched lexical patterns: The Russian construction в том-то и весь N. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2015, vol. 206, pp. 18–23.

11. Dobrovol’skij D., Pöppel L. The discursive construction дело в том, что and its parallels in other languages: A contrastive corpus study. Computational linguistics and intellectual technologies. Papers from the annual international conference “Dialogue 2016”. 2016, issue 15 (22), pp. 126–137.

12. Fillmore Ch. J., Kay P., O’Connor M. C. Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions. The case of let alone. Language. 1988, vol. 64, no. 3, pp. 501–538.

13. Goldberg A. E. Constructions: A Construction Grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press Publ., 1995, 271 p.

14. Goldberg A. E. Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford, Oxford University Press Publ., 2006, 516 p.

15. Günthner S. The die Sache/das Ding ist-Construction in spoken German – an interactional perspective on constructions in use. Construction Grammar II. From construktion to grammar. Tübingen, Stauffenburg Publ., 2008, pp. 157–177.

16. Massam D. Thing is constructions: The thing is, is what’s the right analysis? English Language and Linguistics. 1999, vol. 3, issue 2, pp. 335–352.

17. Stefanowitsch A. Linguistics beyond grammaticality. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. 2007, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 57–71.

18. Stefanowitsch A., Gries S. T. Collostructions: Investigating the interaction between words and constructions. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. 2003, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 209–243.

Date of the publication 26.12.2016