Slot:       29C-7          Dec. 29, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.                                                

Panel:     Particles and Clitics

Chair:     Cindi Martin, University of Maryland, College Park


Title:       Russian eshche as a Pragmatically Obligatory Particle

Author:   Alexei Shmelev, Moscow Pedagogical State University; Irina Borisovna Levontina, Institute of Russian Language, Russian Academy of Science

In the paper, we put emphasis on the use of the particle eshche in combination with a verb in future tense when eshche is pragmatically obligatory. The Russian translation of Terminator’s expression I’ll be back! should say Ja eshche vernus’, with a particle being added. On the other hand, the expression Ja vernus’ does not fail to be both natural and idiomatic. Here emerges the question as to why the Russian text requires a particle in this case.

The conclusion that follows is that the Russian language is sensitive to some context parameter, which specifies how the speaker points to some future event. It would be useful to answer such questions as:

1.        When is eshche optional?

2.        When eshche cannot be used?

3.        What is the meaning alteration due to the use of eshche in the utterances related to future events?

4.        What are the reasons for wrong usage or pragmatic ambiguity of utterances which lack obligatory eshche?

One should distinguish the meaning of eshche under analysis from other meanings of eshche in future contexts, and in particular from the following ones: the additive stressed eshche in the meaning of ‘once again’ or ‘some more’(Ja priedu k vam eshche!); the additive unstressed eshche (Ja eshche poishchu v drugom meste); the continual eshche meaning ‘for some time’ (Ja eshche zdes’ pobudu). These types of usage of eshche manifest its different meanings, which can be also realized in other tenses while the meaning of eshche under consideration is realized exclusively in the context of future.

The particle in question means, “it is not true that the situation is irreversible”; it introduces an implication that there is a different, contrary hypothesis on how the events will unfold, implies that the event described is not going to happen just after the moment of speech (that is why the sentence My eshche pogovorim ob etom is used to change the subject) and means that at the moment of speech the situation is developing in such a way that it is impossible to make any predictions and forecasts: the speaker admits that the addressee has some grounds to think that it is going to happen “no longer” or “no more”, but warns that the latter should not make a final conclusion yet. The meaning of ‘it is too early to make any conclusions yet’ determines two pragmatic contexts for eshche in the meaning considered: ‘a day before the fair’ (Ty eshche pozhaleesh’) and ‘everything was not lost, don’t get upset yet’(Vse eshche budet xorosho, vse eshche naladitsja).

On the basis of the explication suggested, if a person has to forgo something and comforts her/himself that this is not final and in some indefinite future the situation may, eshche is obligatory or almost obligatory. On the other hand, there are contexts that make the use of eshche impossible(e.g., eshche cannot be used if the utterance stipulates the terms under which the situation will take place).


Title:       Particle Combinations in Colloquial Russian

Author:   Svetlana McCoy-Rusanova, Rutgers University

This paper addresses the problem of the interpretation of utterances containing a free combination of the following particles: дa, и, именно, как раз, -то, же, ведь, etc. One existing approach to colloquial Russian particles, the so-called descriptive approach, sets its goal to identify their multiple, context-dependent functions (Vasilyeva 1972, Minchenkov 2001, etc.) The goal of the other approach, the so-called unifying approach,  is to isolate the unique, context-independent meaning that the particle contributes to the utterance (Parrott 1997, McCoy 2001, etc.).

This paper follows the unifying approach and integrates the frameworks of Vallduví &Vilkuna 1998, Yokoyama 1986, and Vallduví 1992. In short, the paper will defend the view that each of the freely combined particles (as opposed to a fixed combination), contributes a distinct meaning to the overall meaning of the utterance.

For example, the sentence in (1), without particles, is a simple statement (He helped me). The particle -то, as a marker of thematic contrast, contributes the following additional meaning: it evokes a set of contextually-relevant propositions and marks the information as known to the hearer but not currently activated in the discourse. The particle и, being a marker of rhematic contrast, marks the second contrasting element within the proposition. The function of the particle именно is the unambiguous identification of the referent, which adds yet another semantic layer to the sentence.


(1)    (Именно) он(-то) мне (и) помог.


This analysis provides a way to understand the interaction of discourse particles and constitutes a step towards their formal description.



McCoy, S. (2001). Colloquial Russian particles –TO, ŽE, and VED′ as set-generating (“contrastive”) markers: A unifying analysis. Ph.D. dissertation, BU.

Minchenkov, A. G. (2001) Russian particles in English translation. St.Petersburg: Ximera.

Parrott, L. (1997). Discourse organization and inference: The usage of the Russian particles zhe and ved’. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard.

Vallduví, E.& M. Vilkuna. (1998). On rheme and contrast. Syntax and Semantics 29: 79-108.

Vallduví, E. (1992). The informational component. NY: Garland.

Vasilyeva, A. N. (1972). Particles in colloquial Russian: Manual for English-speaking students of Russian. Moscow: Progress.

Yokoyama, O. T. (1986). Discourse and word order. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


Title:       The Prosody of 2P: An OT Approach to Czech Clitics

Author:   Charles Mills, Knox College

In the traditional view, prosodically deficient expressions comprise a primitive class which must be listed as such in the lexicon. More recently, however, Fried (1999) and Junghanns (2002) have proposed that Czech clitics be partitioned into two classes--those that are inherent, and those that are derived.  In this paper, I go one step further and reunify the two in the other direction, claiming that clitics per se--as a distinct prosodic entity--do not exist, showing how residual clitic effects can be achieved through independent means. The advantages to such an analysis are clear: on the one hand, ad hoc features such as [+/-stress] are purged from the lexicon where they play no other role; on the other hand, the analysis is unified, albeit at the expense of the conventional notion of clitic.  Since a refutation of the currently accepted view is of interest, I repeat two arguments here. 
The strongest evidence in favor of inherent clisis comes from the clitic's need for a host. Clitics with a host are well formed (1a-b), those without one are not (1c). 
         (1) a. Jana si sedla. 
                  'J. sat down.' 
              b. Sedla si. 
              c. * Si sedla. 
Explaining clitic placement in terms of a formal deficiency, however, misses the generalization that the sentence-initial position is filled in Czech whether clitics are present or not. In (2a), for example, Jana occupies the topic position, and V undergoes preposing in (2b), with no clitics in sight. But if such movement takes place independently, then it cannot be to satisfy clitics' need for a host, which--in this light--is merely epiphenomenal. 
         (2) a. Jana ma knihu. 
                         'J. has a book.' 
         b. Ma Jana knihu? 
A second indication that the inherent view may not be correct comes from the status of stress itself. Stress is automatically assigned to the left edge of the word in Czech (3a), and as such does not play a distinctive role, as it can for example in Russian (4a-b) (' indicates stress on the following syllable). But if stress is not distinctive, then it cannot be listed in the lexicon. In other words, the lexical entry of clitics cannot make reference to prosody and the inherent view is ruled out. 
         (3) Czech 
         a. 'zamek 
         b. * za'mek 
         (4) Russian 
         a. 'zamok 
         b. za'mok 
Looking further afield, we find that stress is suppressed in nonclitic expressions in 2P, as well. The fact that other expressions surface unstressed in one and the same environment suggests that we are dealing with a positionally conditioned phenomenon. 
         (5) a. 'To je 'pes. 
               b. 'Je to 'pes. 
The remainder of the paper is devoted to an OT analysis of this emergent 'prosody of 2P'. 
Fried, Miriam. "Inherent vs. derived clisis: evidence from Czech proclitics." Journal of Linguistics 35 (1999): 43-64. 
Junghanns, Uwe. "Kitische Elemente in Tschechischen: eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme." Linguistische Beitrage zur Slavistik IX. Ed. Th. Daiber.      

      Munich: Sagner, 2002. 117-150.