Are There Analytical Adjectives in Russian?

Evidence from a Corpus Study and Experimental Data

Keywords: Analytical adjectives, Modern Russian


In the scholarly literature there has been a discussion on whether modern Russian is developing more analytical tendencies, with special attention to new nominal compounds such as VIP-zal 'VIP lounge', veb- stranica ‘web page’. Traditionally, such units are described in terms of “analytical adjectives”, which covers all nominal non-inflectional units related to a head noun (Panov 1960, 1971). The data analyzed in this article suggest that what has previously been described as “analytical adjectives” constitutes at least three different patterns: 1) nominal [N[N]] compounds that roughly represent two groups: type (a) where the first component (modifier) should be a loan word (units like internet, veb, top, etc., the head noun of such compounds can be of Russian origin); type (b) where the second component (head noun) tends to be a loan word, whereas the modifier can be of Russian origin (this type is characteristic of names and titles like Gorbačev-fond ‘The Gorbachev foundation’) 2) appositions that mostly include abbreviations and names of styles and can be used both pre-positionally and post-positionally to the head noun (units like VIP); 3) a contracted pattern (potential stump compounds, or blends, like internacional-sem’ja from the inflectional adjective internacional’nyj ‘international’ and the noun semja ‘family’). The third pattern was productive in Soviet discourse (cf. zapčasti from zap[asnyje] ‘replacement’ časti ‘parts’) and seems to be regaining productivity. The presence of these three patterns affects not only the system of Russian word-formation but also the Russian grammatical system in general, since it evokes various intermediate cases between adjectives and compounding elements. We present a very general overview of the aforementioned patterns based on the data from a corpus study, an Internet study and a linguistic experiment.

How to Cite
Sokolova, Svetlana, and Bjørg Helene Edberg. 2019. “Are There Analytical Adjectives in Russian?”. Poljarnyj Vestnik 22 (December):57–82.
Articles (peer reviewed)