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Russian particles

  • Les particules énonciatives en russe contemporain. (Vol. 1)(1986). Paris: Institut D'Études Slaves. (Call Number PG 2321 P37 1986 v.1)
Table of Contents:
J. Veyrenc "L'agrégat kak i en russe contemporain"
R. Rathmayr "Les particules ont-elles une signification propre? Une approche pragmatique de la question"
Ch. Bonnot & I. Fougeron "'Intonation de non-finalité' dans les énoncés coordonnés en russe moderne"
D. Paillard & D. Markowicz "Le partage du savoir ou l'ignorance n'est pas un argument. A propos de la particule ved'"
Ch. Bonnot "La particule zhe marqueur de thème"
D. Pillard 'I conjonction et particule. A propos de dazhe i, i ... tože, takže i, i eščë et eščë i"

  • Les particules énonciatives en russe contemporain. (Vol. 2)(1986). Paris: Institut D'Études Slaves. (Call Number PG 2321 P37 1986 v.2)
Table of Contents:
S. De Vogue & D. Pillard "Modes de présence de l'autre"
T. M. Nikolaeva "Le "sémentisme implicite" des particules"
A. N. Baranov "Interaction de la sémantique et de la pragmatique dans l'utilisation de la particule da"
P. B. Paršin "Structure sémantique de l'unité linguistique xot' et pragmatique de la concession dans le dialogue"
A. Kreisberg "Les particules jiz, jeszcze, dopiero en polonais"
Ch. Bonnot "-To particule de rappel et de thématisation"
D. Pillard "Že ou la sortie impossible"
R. Rathmayr "Les particules russes, lexèmes pragmatiques"
I. Fougeron "L'organisation du message dans la phrase assertive russe"

  • Les particules énonciatives en russe contemporain. (Vol. 3)(1988). Paris: Institut D'Études Slaves. (Call Number PG 2321 P37 1986 v.3)
Table of Contents:
E. V. Paduceva "La particule že: sémantique, syntaxe, prosodie"
V. A. Plungian "Signification de la particule že et jugement de probabilité"
Ch. Bonnot "La particule -to et les verbes d'opinion"
I. Fougeron "A et No. Deux conjonctions synonymes?"
D. Paillard "Précision, coïncidence, ajustement. A propos de imenno et kak raz"
P. Seriot "Le même ou l'autre. Kak connecteur intra-extra-propositionnel"

  • Baranov, A. N., Plungian, V. A., & Rakhilina, E. V. (1993). Putevoditel po diskursivnym slovam russkogo iazyka. Moskva: Pomovskii i Partnery. (Call Number PG2434 .B37 1993)

  • Beloshapkova, V. A., & Stepanova, E. B. (1983). Ravnoznachny li razve ineuželi? Russkaia Rech': Nauchno-Populiarnyi Zhurnal, 5, 57-59.

  • Bitextin, A. B. (1994). Chastitsy -TO, ZHE, VED' i vvodnye konstruktsii tipa KAK IZVESTNO kak sredstva ukazanija na izvestnost' propozitsional'nogo soderzhanija predlozhenija slushajuschemu. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Moskovskij gosudarstvennyj universitet, Moskva.

  • Bolden, G. (2003). Doing being late: The use of the Russian particle -to in personal state inquiries. CLIC: Crossroads of Language, Interaction, and Culture, 5, 3-27. 
RealAudio sound clips (a separate window will open)
The paper examines interactional functions of the Russian enclitic particle -to in “howareyou” type inquiries. Drawing on a corpus of recorded telephone conversations and using the methodology of conversation analysis, this paper argues that by marking a particular "howareyou" question with -to, the speaker indicates that the inquiry is late relative to where it should have been appropriately launched. Two senses are lateness are discussed: one is “structural,” dealing with the conventional ways in which conversation is organized; the other is “normative,” which is meant to refer to the speaker’s judgment about the question’s importance relative to its placement in conversation.

  • Bonnot, C. (1986). Emplois de la particule -to. In IVe coloque de linguistique russe (pp. 21-30). Toulous: Service des Publications U.T.M. (Call Number PG 2021 C6 1984)

  • Bonnot, C. (1990). La particule -to et la polémique chachée en russe moderne: A propos du statut énuonciatif du thème. Revue Des Études Slaves, LXII(1-2), 67-75.

  • Bonnot, C., & Kodzasov, S. V. (1998). Semanticheskoe var'irovanie diskursivnykh slov i ego vliianie na linearizatsiiu i intonirovanie (no primere chastits zhe i ved'). In K. L. Kiseleva & D. Paiar (Eds.), Diskursivnye slova russkogo iazyka: Opyt kontekstno-semanticheskogo opisaniia (pp. 382-443). Moscow: Meta-text. (Call Number PG 2434 D57 1998)

  • Borisova, E. G. (1982). Semanticheskij analiz usilitelnykh chastits russkogo jazyka. Moskva: AKD.

  • Dolgov, I., & Leinonen, M. (1988). Upotreblenie chastitsy vot v russkoi razgovornoi rechi. Scando-Slavica, 34, 127-146. (Call Number PG1 .S28)

  • Grenoble, L. A., & Riley, M. (1996). The role of deitics in discourse coherence: French voici/voila and Russian vot/von. Journal of Pragmatics, 25(6), 819-838.
Both French and Russian utilize a binary system of deictic presentatives, most commonly described on the basis of ±proximal. However, in actual usage, one deictic is systematically favored over the other and can be seen as unmarked. The remaining member of the deitic pair is thus marked and less frequent. However, French and Russian differ in which member of the pair has been marked: in French the +proximal presentative is marked and in Russian the -proximal is marked. In both languages, the choice between the members of the pair is made on the basis of the proximity of the object presented relative to the deictic center. Moreover, these simple presentatives have taken on broader discourse functions which separate their usage from the qualities of the immediate complement and depend instead on the wider context of the discourse. Not only are these elements used to organize and mark the progression of a discourse, but they are used as active interactions between the speaker and the receiver, assuring that both are assisting in building the frame of reference of the discourse and aiding in local cohesion and global coherence of the discourse.

  • Grenoble, L. A. (1998). Deixis and information packaging in Russian discourse. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Includes a brief discussion of the particles vot, a, nu, -to, and some others.

  • Heingartner, N. L. (1996). The effect of age upon non-indefinite -to use: A study of the spoken Russian of Moscow women.Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brown University.
The indefinite particle -to has received a significant amount of attention in grammatical studies of Russian. The discourse function played by indefinite -to is basically singular: it signifies that although the speaker has a specific referent in mind, s/he does not know many details about the referent. Although it differs significantly in function and usage patterns from indefinite -to, the non-indefinite -to (NI-to) has received very little attention. In colloquial Russian, as in the literary language, indefinite -to constructions are frequently encountered. However, unlike literary Russian, the colloquial language also shows regular use of -to in functions outside that of indefiniteness. The present study considers how women employ NI-to constructions and seeks to correlate this use with speaker age. The data show that NI-to use does vary in relation to the age of the woman speaking. Younger women tend to use NI-to in a few 'set' expressions, while older women most often use the particle in constructions that are not lexically or phraseologically conditioned (in other words, in original constructions). Correspondingly, it appears that the discourse goals motivating a speaker to use NI-to also vary depending upon who is speaking and to certain other specifics of the speech situation. For example, younger women tend to use NI-to in speech acts with low illocutionary force. They rarely employ the particle in an attempt to directly influence interlocutor behavior. Older women, however, often use the particle in speech acts with higher illocutionary force in direct attempts to elicit a specific response or reaction from an interlocutor. Such extra-linguistic facts as social status, authority, solidarity, power and politeness are shown to be relevant to women's use of NI-to. This study is based upon a speech sampling that was collected in 1994. The participants range in age from 25 to 66. A combination of empirical data, existing theories, literature, and information elicited from native speakers of Russian are used in the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

  • Kiseleva, K. L., & Paiar, D. (1998). Diskursivnye slova russkogo iazyka: Opyt kontekstno-semanticheskogo opisaniia. Moscow: Meta-text. (Call Number PG 2434 D57 1998)
A collection of articles on the following discourse words: lish', vsego, vsego lish', vsego-navsego, po krajnej/men'shej mere, naoborot, opjat', opjat' zhe, opjat'-taki, snova, vnov', zanovo, eshje raz, taki, vsje zhe, vsje-taki, vsje ravno, kstati, vprochem, krome togo, da i, kak raz, imenno, razve, neuzheli, navernoe, navernjaka, avos', nebos', pozhaluj, chto li, konechno, razumeetsja, estestvenno, zhe, and ved'.
  • Krejdlin, G., & Paducheva, E. V. (1974). Znachenie i sintaksicheskie svojstva sojuza 'a'. Avtomatizacija obrabotki tekstov, Nauchnaja Texnicheskaja informacija, 2(9), 31-37.

  • Leinonen, M. (1998). The postpositive particle -to of Northern Russian dialects, compared with Permic languages (Komi Zyryan). Studia Slavica Finlandensia, XV, 74-90.

  • Marshall, T. A. (2002). Connotations and functions of Russian discourse markers ved', zhe and -to. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Cornell University.
When analyzing corpora of spoken Russian, it becomes strikingly evident that ved', zhe, and -to are discourse markers that occur in high frequency. They perform a variety of pragmatic functions and bring out semantic nuances that can influence the discourse by conveying interactional cues, social connotations, speaker attitudes, and listener reactions. They also have a syntactic role in helping highlighting the topic and focus of a sentence, and distinguishing boundaries in sentence divisions such as syntagmas and "old" and "new" information. With so many high frequency functions, it is necessary to clarify the category of discourse markers more precisely and present them early in second language (L2) acquisition. Research in this area of discourse analysis has often suggested that discourse markers are lexical items that possess qualities that are next to impossible to define systematically. Such an opinion has given rise to a chain and specialized terminology, grammarians are often left puzzled or confused and hesitate to put them in any systematic way in grammar books. Since they are not present consistently in grammar books, teachers rarely ever think to teach them, and as a result, students are not taught them. This snowball effect has been a hindrance to L2 learners because all too often discourse markers are presented late in L2 acquisition or not at all. This dissertation presents a modified analysis as to the nature and function of discourse markers. The functions, meaning, and connotations of discourse markers (like other lexical items) can be best understood after considering context, intonation, word order, and stress, all of which help to produce nuances that ultimately affect the connotations that are brought into the discourse. This research has focused on demystifying the category of discourse markers by putting the research within a pedagogical framework that teachers and L2 learners can understand. This research will make a valid contribution to the study of discourse analysis in general by fine-tuning the definition of the category of discourse markers, and more specifically by bridging the gap between linguistic research and classroom instruction.
  • McCoy, S. G. (2001). Colloquial Russian particles -TO, ZHE, and VED' as set-generating ("kontrastive") markers: A unifying analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Boston University.
Linguistic theory has thus far been unable to adequately provide a unifying account of a set of phenomena described as “emphatic,” “contrastive,” “intensifying,” inter alia. In this dissertation three colloquial Russian particles of this type are given a unifying analysis that integrates the theory of “kontrast” (i.e., the ability of certain linguistic expressions to generate a set; Vallduví and Vilkuna 1998), cognitive statuses of referents in discourse (Yokoyama 1986, Gundel, Hedberg, and Zacharski 1993), information packaging on the clausal level (Vallduví 1992), and hierarchical organization of discourse (Büring 2000). Using a variety of colloquial Russian texts as naturally occurring data, the particles -to, zhe, and ved’ are analyzed as lexemes which mark kontrast (“kontrastive markers,” “k-markers”). Each particle is described with respect to the type of set it generates and the type of membership within this set, the cognitive status of the referents marked by it, the way its instructions are encoded on the clausal level, and its role in the organization of discourse. Thus, the kontrastive particle -to marks a set of sets of propositions (equivalently, a set of questions), marks referents known to the hearer but not currently activated in the discourse, is an enclitic to a kontrastive element, usually the “link/topic,” and generates a discourse tree, the branches of which are “sisters” dominated by the same question under discussion. The kontrastive particle zhe marks a set of mutually exclusive propositions (which differ from each other in the value of at least one kontrastive term), one of which is activated in discourse, is an enclitic to the (first phonological word within the) kontrastive element it marks, and refers back to either the established center of discourse or an unresolved question. The kontrastive particle ved’ marks a set of propositions (which have the illocutionary force of assertions), marks information known to the hearer but not activated, is either a proclitic or an enclitic to the kontrastive element within the clause, and relates two propositions in discourse by building a super-question above them. This analysis can be extended to other discourse markers, semantic operators, and other contrastive linguistic expressions crosslinguistically.
  • McCoy, S. G. (2001). Connecting information and discourse structure levels through "kontrast:" Evidence from colloquial Russian particles -TO, ZHE, and VED'. Paper presented at the ESSLLI Workshop on Information Structure, Discourse Structure and Discourse Semantics.
The notion of kontrast, or the ability of certain linguistic expressions to generate a set of alternatives, originally proposed by Vallduv´õ and Vilkuna (1998) as a clause-level concept, is re-analyzed here as connecting the level of information packaging in the clause and the level of discourse structure in the following way: kontrast is encoded at the clausal level but has repercussions or discourse structure. This claim is supported by evidence from the distribution properties of three colloquial Russian particles ­TO, ZHE, and VED’ which are analyzed as unambiguous markers of kontrast. Both the placement of these particles at the clausal level and their role in discourse are viewed as consequences of the type of the kontrast set and the cognitive status of information marked by each particle.

  • McCoy, S. G. (2002). Semantic and discourse properties of colloquial Russian construction of the form "X-to X, a..." Glossos(3).
Avaliable from the electronic journal Glossos

  • Multisilta, T. (1992). Upotreblenie chastits nu i vot v russkoj razgovornoj rechi kak signalov, oboznachaiushchih perehod. Helsinki: Tempereen Yliopiston Kirjasto.

  • Multisilta, T. (1995). Pragmatic particles nu and vot in spoken Russian. In B. Wårvik, S.-K. Tanskanen & R. Hiltunen (Eds.), Organization of discourse: Proceedings from the Turku conference (pp. 381-392). Turku: University of Turku.

  • Nikolaeva, T. M. (1985). Funktsii chastits v vyskazyvanii na materiale slavianskikh iazykov. Moskva: Nauka. (Call Number PG171 .N54 1985)

  • Paillard, D. (1986). à conjonction et particule. In IVe coloque de linguistique russe (pp. 257-276). Toulous: Service des Publications U.T.M. (Call Number PG 2021 C6 1984)

  • Parrott, L. A. (1990). 'Argumentative zhe' in discourse. Harvard Studies in Slavic Linguistics, 1, 83-104.

  • Parrott, L. A. (1997). Discourse organization and inference: The usage of the Russian particles zhe and ved'. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
This dissertation is a study of the functions and the position in an utterance of certain high-frequency discourse particles in Russian--in particular, zhe and ved'. The framework used is that of the Transactional Discourse Model, which was proposed in Yokoyama's (1986) study Discourse and Word Order. The different usages of the (clitic) particle zhe are first delineated and then an analysis of the 'thematic' function of zhe is proposed, as compared to that of the particle/conjunction a. Both Modern Russian data and data from a twelfth-century text, the 'Skazanie o Borise i Glebe', are taken into consideration, and the factors affecting the position of 'thematic' zhe in an utterance (in contemporary Russian) are specified. The major area of investigation concerns the modal usage of zhe, its function as compared to that of its near-synonym ved' and its position in an utterance. The analysis of positional variation of modal zhe reveals that the choice of host is controlled by a combination of prosodic factors (the intonational realization of the utterance) and functional factors. The functions of both modal zhe and ved' are analyzed according to their usage in different illocutionary acts (statements, directives, and wh-questions). Comparison of the use of zhe and ved' brings to light an important distinction between informational directives and wh-questions, on the one hand, and metinformational directives and wh-questions, on the other. In all instances, the usage of the two particles is shown to depend on the speaker's assessment of the discourse situation (especially the speaker's assessment of the contents of the addressee's knowledge sets). The precise difference in function between the two particles is specified, and rules are provided to account for the use of zhe, the use of ved', and the use of the two particles together in a single utterance.

  • Paukkeri, P. (2006). Retsipient v russkom razgovore: o raspredelenii funkcij mezhdu otvetami da, nu i tak. (Recipient in Russian conversation:division of tasks between the response words da, nu and tak). Slavica Helsingiensia 28. Arto Mustajoki & Pekka Pesonen & Jouko Lindstedt (eds.) University of Helsinki: Department  of Slavonic and Baltic Languages and Literature. Link

  • Rathmayr, R. (1985). Die Russische Partikeln als Pragmalexeme. Munchen: Verlag. (Call Number PG2321.R38 1985)
Particles ved', zhe, and -to.

  • Rathmayr, R. (1989). Russische partikeln und ihre deutschen aquivalente glossar. Rusistik, 1, 18-40.

  • Vasilyeva, A. N. (1972). Particles in colloquial Russian. Moscow: Progress Publishers.
Particles ved', zhe, -to, uzh, vot (von), nu, -ka, tak, esche, i, da, a, xot' (xotja), li, chto.
  • Yokoyama, O. T. (1981). On sentence coordination in Russian: A functional approach. In R. A. Hendrik, C. S. Masek & M. F. Miller (Eds.), Papers from the seventeenth regional meeting(pp. 431-438). Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society. (Call Number P11 C417 v. 17 (1981) Chicago Linguistics Society)
On i, a, and no

  • Zaitseva, V. (1995). Particles and subtext: Coding "referential portraits". Harvard Studies in Slavic Linguistics, 3, 213-233.
Particles ved', razve, neuzheli

  • Zybatow, L. (1990). Was die Partikeln bedeuten: eine kontrastive Analyse Russisch-Deutsch. München: O. Sagner. (Call Number PG2321 .Z92 1990)
Particles zhe, ved', taki, uzh, i, -to