Convergence in Estonia's Russian: Directional vs. Static vs. Separative Verb

December 2006
International Journal of Bilingualism;Dec2006, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p383
Academic Journal
The topic of the current article is convergence in Estonia's Russian (copying of Estonian directional/static/separative verbal government) and its perception by two different sets of Russian speakers. The convergent forms in question are viewed in the terms of code-copying framework. There are clear rules of verbal government defining which Estonian verb requires which case (separative, static or directional). Russian verbs require mostly prepositional phrases with static cases (prepositional or genitive) that correspond to Estonian directional/separative cases. Thirty-seven Russian-speaking informants from Tallinn and 37 informants from Kohtla-Järve have been asked to assess the grammaticality of nine real and nine constructed utterances with the convergent forms in question by giving points from 0 to 5 to each utterance. All utterances deviate from monolingual Russian. No difference in the treatment of real versus constructed utterances was found. The informants from Tallinn tend to grant more points, since Estonian is more available there. However, individual preferences and awareness of Standard Russian may overweigh macro-sociolinguistic factors (high proficiency in and frequent use of Estonian). Difference in assessment cannot be explained by structural properties, because habitualization and subsequent conventionalization of certain collocations (for instance, in advertisements) increases the probability of acceptance.


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