Department of General Linguistics
 
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RESEARCH:
Research activities

Research activities


Directions

 


General linguistics: history and theory

 
General linguistics has traditionally been the leading field in scientific interests of the Department staff. It is connected to the names of Ivan Alexandrovich Baudouin de Courteney, Lev Vladimirovich Sherba, and of course, to that of Juri Sergeevich Maslov, the great specialist of general, Slavic and German linguistics and the founder of Russian school of aspectology who has headed the department for almost a quarter of a century.
The research interests of the Department members are with the history of linguistics, theoretical grammar and comparative linguistics. The analysis of contemporary linguistic theories is made within the paradigm of comparative linguistics. Actually, the Department has Internet portal dedicated to the history of linguistics.
Among particular sheres of language study the members of the Department are mostly interested in morphemics and morphonology, morphological and syntactic typology, grammatical categories and grammatical semantics, general and comparative aspectology, semantics and pragmatics, theory of discourse and theory of lexicon. The elaboration of some of these theories is made in collaboration with the Institute for Linguistic studies within the Russian Academy of Science.
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Psycho-and neurolinguistics

 
The area of psycho- and neurolinguistic studies is the organization of human speech behaviour, both in norm and pathology. At present an intense research of the structure and organization of mental lexicon is under way. Both the theory of organization of mental lexicon and methods of its experimental verification are being worked on.
The problems of the conception of a word in the individual linguistic competence, the kind of units retained in the memory and procedures of their extraction from memory are areas of current discussion. The research deals with the general rules of outcome and perception of Russian verbs and with ways of representation of verbal lexeme in psycho- and neurolinguistic networks of various categories for Russian language speakers.
Experimental research of reference takes into account pragmatics and syntax. The data are analyzed in generative and connectionist context. In addition to these, experimental studies of oral speech perception are being held. Specifically, the perception of a pseudotext, derived from a natural text, in which all words are pseudowords but prosodic features are natural-like; the perception of monotonized and pseudotexts; the perception of a text in noise, the perception of gap-texts. Besides, the studies of writing and reading processes are carried out, as well as of the discourse making strategies and agrammatic and schizophrenia speech, the speech and language aphasias in children and adults. Principles of first and second language acquisition make an important area of applied studies. The role of cerebral hemispheres in providing speech and cognitive functions remains an issue of major academic interest and discussion for the Department.
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Linguistics of speech

 
The linguistics of speech includes such domains of research as stratification and situational factor influence on the variation of linguistic units in speech, the distinction of oral speech from the written one, the perception of oral speech, the principles of organization of dialogues and small group interaction, theory of discourse, theory of speech genres, and implicit content of speech.
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Prosodic typology

 
This sphere deals with the study of the rhythmic organization of speech and their units (syllables and groups of syllables), and rules of their division, as well as phenomena which accompany rhythmic division (tone, stress, intonation) in various languages (ancient Indian, ancient Greek, Latin, German, Slavic, Baltic languages). Issues of linguistic poetics studied in close connection with the typology of prosodic systems and their evolution also make the subject of the research.
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Comparative poetics

 
The linguistic study of poetic texts, broadly understood, proceeds from the conceptualizing poetic language as a particular system, organized by its own rules, which to some extent may differ from those of the natural language. The subject is primarily oral tradition (the folklore of paleoasian peoples, mid-asian folk tales etc.) or texts containing evidence of oral tradition (the Homer epic literature, ancient Icelandic "Old Edda", ancient English "Beowulf", mid-high German "Song of the Nibelungs", Serbi-Croatian heroic songs, Russian epic and other). The use of oral tradition texts (sociolinguistic aspect) and their semantics (historical and mythological aspect context).
The typology and evolution of poetic systems are studied through comparison with the typology and history of the corresponding languages. This branch of research is mainly oriented towards the ideas of M. Perri and A. B. Lord schools ("the theory of formulas") and the Russian followers of V. M. Zhirmunsky, B. N. Putilova and M. I. Steblin-Kamensky.

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Baltic studies

 
Linguists of this department study the Baltic languages, their cultural and historical ties between the Baltic countries and Russia, as well as applied issues of Baltic languages philology. They also work on text books for practical language acquisition. Among specific directions of their work are the study of the history of national conscience growth as well as the role of St.-Petersburg in the formation of Lithuanian and Latvian intelligentia, local-history and ethnolinguistic expeditions to the places where settles from Latvia and Lithuania live in Russia (Leningrad region, Siberia), the study of Latgal literature (with close collaboration with Lidia Lejkum, an associate professor ffrom the Latvian University), search and publishing of the materials on baltistics in the libraries and archives in St. Petersburg, preparation to the republication of the works of Russian classic scientists of Balti linguistics, standardization of the terminology of Baltic philology in Russian language, the work on big Lithuanian-Russian dictionary. The study of different aspects of Baltic linguistics is connected with individual scientific interests of the members of the department: the material of the Baltic languages in the reconstruction of indoeuropean prosody (L. G. Herzenberg), the question of Baltic-Slavonic linguistic relations, Baltic hydronomy in Russia (Y. V. Otkupschikov), Lithuanian word formation and etymology (V. P. Kazanskene), morphologic accentology of Lithuanian language (A. V. Andronov), the study of ancient Lithuanian texts using methods of corps linguistics (E. Andronova), the prosodic structure of Lithuanian, its specific nature in the light of the regional linguistics (A. D. Daugavet), experimental phonetics of Latvian.
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Balkan studies

 
The Balkan studies is one of the most important research areas with the Department. A. V. Desnitskaya, an outstanding linguist, the Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the founder of Soviet Albanian studies has initiated the Balkan studies in Saint-Petersburg. Yuri S. Maslov, the distinguished Head of the Department, has also concerned himself with some Balkan linguistic issues, namely, the Bulgarian language. At present its Desnitskayas and Maslovs followers who are engaged in Balkan research, working at the sections of Albanian, Byzantine and Modern Greek philology.
It is worth mentioning here that Leningrad and Saint-Petersburg linguists have devoted themselves to both the problems of Balkan linguistics, specifically, phonetic, grammatical and lexical convergence borne out by the long-term mutual development of Albanian, Greek, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Rumanian on the Balkan Peninsula, as well as the languages themselves, mainly, Albanian and Greek.
Saint-Petersburg scholars focus their attention on the following research areas: comparative phonetics of Balkan languages (L. N. Kaminskaya, A. L. Lukina), comparative grammar of Balkan languages (A. Y. Rusakov, A. B. Borisova), the history of Albanian (A. Y. Rusakov, I. I. Voronina, A. V. Zhugra), spoken Albanian (I. I. Voronina), Albanian dialects, including dialects of diasporas (I. I. Voronina), the history and dialects of Modern Greek (F. A. Eloeva, M. L. Kisilier), Albanian and Balkan ethnography (A. A. Novik), Greek metrics (A. A. Borisova), Turkic borrowings in Balkan languages (A. H. Girfanova).
The members of the Department contribute regularly to the Minor dialectology atlas of Balkan languages, supervised by A. N. Sobolev, which is, apparently, the most prominent project of the decade concerning Balkan languages.
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Grants

 
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2001-2003, Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), HBB-042 "Modern Tendencies in Philology and Organization of Education". Supervisor  L. A. Verbitskaya

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2000-2002, Support of Leading Schools of Thought, "Saint-Petersburg School of Comparative and Historical Linguistics". Supervisors  L. A. Verbitskaya, N. N. Kazansky

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2000-2002, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 00-04-00338a "Experimental Research in the Field of Vocabulary and Morphological Processes of Russian-speaking Adults and Children: Rules or Analogies?". Supervisor  T. V. Chernigovskaya

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2000-2002, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, 00-15-98855 "Saint-Petersburg School of Psyholinguistics". Supervisor T. V. Chernigovskaya

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2001-2002, Federal Purpose Programme "The Russian Language". Supervisor L. A. Verbitskaya

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2002-2004, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 02-04-00087 "Enclave Languages in the Balkan Sprachbund". Supervisor  Y. A. Kleiner

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2002-2003, Ministry of Education, "Ethnolinguistic studies of Albanian settlements on the territory of the former USSR". Supervisor  A. . Novik

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2002-2004, Ministry of Education "Neurolinguistic Aspect of Text Production". Supervisor  T. E. Petrova

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2002-2004, Ministry of Education, "Grammar Dictionary of the Lettish language". Supervisor  . . Andronov

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2002-2004, Ministry of Education, "Experimental Methods of Research of Human Mental Vocabulary and their Reliability". Supervisor  E. V. Glazanova

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2003-2005, Ministry of Education, "Common Rules of Language System Forming, their Functioning and Tendencies of Evolution Processes in Languages of Different Types". Supervisor  L. A. Verbitskaya

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2003-2005, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 03-04-0022 "National Corpus of the Russian Language". Supervisor  L. A. Verbitskaya

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2003-2005, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, 03-06-80068 "Speech Behaviour of Schizophrenics: Psycho- and Neurolinguistic Research". Supervisor  T. V.  Chernigovskaya

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2004-2006, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 04-04-00083 "Representation of Verbal Morphology and Pronominal Reference in Psycho- and Neurolinguistic Speech Organization of Russian Speakers". Supervisor  T. V. Chernigovskaya

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2004-2006, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 04-04-00216 "Complex and Ethnolinguistic Research of Priazove (Azov area)". Supervisor  F. A. Eloeva

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2005, Ministry of Education, 4721 "Mental Vocabulary and Mental Grammar". Supervisor  T. V. Chernigovskaya

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2005, Ministry of Education, 4723 "Experimental (Psycholinguistic) Research of Syntactical and Morphological Structures". Supervisor  T. V. Chernigovskaya

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2005, Ministry of Education, 4720 "Mariupol Dialect of Modern Greek (Syntactical Features)". Supervisor  F. A. Eloeva

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2005, Ministry of Education, 4722 "Language of Epic Texts". Supervisor  Y. A. Kleiner

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2005, Ministry of Education, 37560 "Baltic Studies in Saint-Petersburg Archives". Supervisor  A. V. Andronov

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2005-2007, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, "Modelling of Epic Text". Supervisor  Y. A. Kleiner

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2005-2007, Russian Foundation for the Humanities, 05-04-12417 in the "Informational System Historiographia Linguistica". Supervisor  P. A. Klubkov

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Cooperation
 
In Russia

 
Cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The Department of General Linguistics maintains close professional contacts with the Institute for Linguistic Studies of the RAS, I. M. Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry, the Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the RAS, the Institute of Human Brain of the RAS. The teaching staff of the Department includes also part-time and hourly pay members and freelancers of such institutes as the Institute of Linguistic Studies (RAS), Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS), the Institute of History (RAS), the Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography (RAS).

Cooperation with the universities and scientific institutions worldwide. The Department has stable academic contacts with various scientific and research institutions of Russia, namely:
  • European University in Saint-Petersburg
  • Herzen University
  • Universities of Voronezh, Perm, Petrozavodsk, Omsk, Kemerovo and others
  • Moscow State University (Faculties of Psychology and Philology)
  • Saint-Petersburg Institute of Ear, Nose, Throat, and Speech (the RSFSR Ministry of Health)
  • St.Petersburg V. M. Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute
  • Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic Institute
  • Institute of High Performance Computing and Data Bases (IHPCDB) (Intelligent Systems Lab)
  • Rehabilitation centre for children with speech impairment, led by N. N. Traugott
  • St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation
  • Moscow State Regional Pedagogical Institute
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Abroad

 
The Department keeps up permanent academic contacts with different universities abroad:
  • University of Maryland, College Parc (USA)
  • Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (The Netherlands)
  • University of Bremen (Norway)
  • University of Oslo (Norway)
  • University of St-Andrews (UK)
  • University of Leeds (UK)
  • Universitaet Wien
  • Oxford University (UK)
  • Queens Mary College, London University
  • Vilniaus universitetas (LT)
  • Lietuviu kalbos institutas (Vilnius)
  • Latviesu valodas instituts (Riga)
  • Latvijas Universitate
  • Vytauto Didziojo universitetas (Kaunas)
  • Siauliu universiteto Humanitarinis fakultetas
  • Universitety of Tirana
  • The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje
  • Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald
  • Center of History and Culture of Eastern and Central Europe in Leipzig
  • University of Marburg
  • Free University of Berlin
  • National and Capodistrian University of Athens
  • Nikosia University
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • University of Lausanne (Swetzerland)
  • University of Geneva
  • Granada University
  • Uppsala University
  • Academy of the Persian Language and Letters (Tehran)
  • Stockholm University
  • Istfahan University (Iran)
  • University of Tehran
  • Sorbonne (France)
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