Negative Russian Pronoun Что

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Abstract


For the first time in linguistics, the article distinguishes negative pronouns of a pronoun-noun and pronoun-adjective. Their lexical meanings, grammatical features and syntactic functions are determined. A negative pronoun is a noun that means ‘nothing’ (in Russian both - ничто and ничего ), a negative Russian pronoun что meaning ‘whatever, none’. Both pronouns function as the principle sentence component, mainly in negative genitive sentences or as a predicate in a two-memberSubject-Predicate sentence. Subject of a pronoun-noun, which is expressed by the noun of any lexico-grammatical category or infinitive, with a negative pronoun-adjective, which is an infinitive. Both negative pronouns function in rhetorical questions expressing negation in the affirmative form. Subject combined with a pronoun-noun could be expressed by a noun of any lexico-grammatical category or infinitive, with a negative pronoun-adjective что , which could also be formed by an infinitive. Both negative pronouns function in rhetorical questions expressing negation in the affirmative form. The meanings of both negative pronouns are syntactically limited (by the function of the predicate or the principle component of the negative genitive sentence) and structurally determined (be found in the construction with the dative of the authorizer). The meaning of a negative pronoun-adjective is also phraseologically confined, a negative pronoun is an adjective that is always used with the Russian words like проку, толку, выгоды, пользы, прибыли, добра . Three meanings stand out for a negative pronoun ничто : 1) ontological vacuum, nonexistence, absence of an object; 2) something insignificant, insignificant, not worthy of attention; 3) denial of the significance of a person, insignificance. A negative pronoun что is a noun that means ‘something insignificant, insignificant, not worthy of attention’ (or ‘(as it were) the absence of something/someone (for the authorizer)’), or ‘absence (of benefit)’. A negative pronoun что is an adjective that has one of the meanings of a negative pronoun-adjective никакой meaning ‘none of the available or possible’. Despite the indeclinability, a negative pronoun что expresses the noun-meanings of the nominative and genitive cases, while being a negative pronoun-adjective to denote the genitive case, either masculine or feminine. The data collected is retrieved from the National Corps of the Russian Language (NCRL). As the main methodological technique, the substitution method was applied. The theoretical basis of the article was the work on homocomplexes, functional homonyms, poly-functional words, the differentiation of homonymy and polysemy. The theoretical significance of the study lies in the fact that the results allow us expand the linguistic understanding of the semantic and grammatical nature of the pronoun as well as the issue of pronoun syncretism in general, the differentiation of homonymy and polysemy of the classes of pronouns, as well as the varieties of genitive sentences. The data collected can be useful for lexicographic practice: compiling dictionaries of homonyms, grammatical homonyms, explanatory dictionaries, as well as to clarify the typology of one-member sentences. The relevance of the topic is determined by the necessity to establish the full list of pronouns in the Russian language, as well as the importance of studying the phenomena of functional homonymy, transition and syncretism and the importance of solving the problem of distinguishing homonymy and polysemy.


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Introduction The main target of the article is to prove the existence of both the negative pronoun-noun что bearing the meaning of ‘ничто/ничего’ - English: ‘nothing/none’ and the negative pronoun-adjective что signifying ‘никакого/никакой’ - English ‘none/neither/not any…’ in the Russian language. The tasks are the following: to describe lexical meaning, grammatical features and syntactical functions of что as Russian interrogative pronouns and determine whether they make up the set of meanings of the polysemic interrogative pronoun что or they are its homonyms, or both. The relevance of the research is determined by the necessity to make up and prove the complete set (list) of Russian pronouns as well as to elaborate the criteria to discriminate homonymy and polysemy of the pronoun class, to prove the importance of functional homonymy, transitivity and syncretism. There exist much greater number of Russian pronouns rather than stated in school and university manuals, and linguistic studies. In our opinion, it’s principally urgent to start from the the postulate stated by M.I. Otkupschikova, “The main means to form pronouns is to create homonymous meanings (…). One of the typical means to enlarge the pronoun classes is homonymy having the global character denoting the homonymy typical not for some pronouns, but for the classes, e.g., such as interrogative and relative pronouns, and K-quantifier pronouns” [1. P. 81]. The question is whether in Russian interrogative and negative что are different words or different meanings of a polysemic word? At present, the criteria to distinguish homonyms and meanings of polysemic words coincide at large, and the issue to discriminate homonymy and polysemy still needs a solution [2. P. 112-113; 3. P. 42; 4; 5]. There are some common criteria: 1) discrimination of the category meaning of a class of pronouns - by form or by their correlations with other parts of speech; 2) discrimination of morphological categories and the formal volume of their paradigms; 3) discrimination of their morphemic sets; 4) the existence of word-building nests; 5) variety of combinability with the units of other word classes *(morphological, lexical, syntactic), various volumes of lexical distribution, various sets of syntactical valence; discrimination of synonyms and antonyms; 6) various translations into foreign languages; 7) different stylistic qualification; 8) combinations with intonation of different kinds; 9) different structural and semantic sentence types as the environment of a word used. The only one criterion doesn’t repeat: in polysemy, the word meanings are immediately or non-immediately interconnected within derivational relations, i.e., the relations of typical semantic derivations of this or that language [3. P. 79]. Generic character, frequency, not unique link between two meanings supports polysemy, and vis versa, singleness, onliness and uniqueness indicates homonymy [6. P. 209]. Principally, polysemy is quite regular, while homonyms reveal semantically independent meanings [6. P. 193]. It’s quite a realistic target to demonstrate differences between the Russian interrogative pronoun-noun что and the negative pronoun-noun что. At first glance, it seems easier to discriminate a negative pronoun-adjective as thise are the words of various classes but in form and correlations with the other parts of speech. Linguistic sources used to treat this issue in connection with developing the notions of “homocomplex”, “functional homonyms”, “polyfunctional words”, and synchronic processes of transition of the parts of speech system [see a short survey of synchronic transitivity theory developments: 6]. On te other hand, in explanatory dictionaries, homocomplexes (the tern was introduced by O.S. Akhmanova [2. P. 160-161], and widely spread in linguistics thanks to the studies of V.V. Babaytseva and her followers [8-20]) are understood as polysemic words. One of the consequences of continuous transitional processes within the Russian grammatical structure is considered to be the appearance of functional homonyms - that is, “etymologically cognate words coinciding in sound form, but belonging to different parts of speech” [21. P. 194] - and syncretic entities combining the properties of different parts of speech. The total of functional homonyms and syncretic entities combining the properties of different parts of speech are forming the term “homocomplex” [21. P. 195]. Intermediate units to appear at this are names “hybrid words” (the term of V.V. Vinogradov), or “contaminants” (the term of E.N. Sodorenko [22; 23]). Syncretism is understood as a universal feature of language revealing the ability of a linguistic unit to express the complex of contrasting lexical and/or grammatical meanings [11. P. 8]. Syncretism is also understood as a usual, natural, universal feature of separate units of the linguistic system as a whole [7. P. 28]. But as it appears, it’s not so easy to denote the status of the Russian pronoun-adjective что. According to M.A. Sternina, “The acquisition of a new part of speech seme through a new separate word meaning couldn’t automatically lead to the disruption of the word identity and the formation of homonyms. On the content plane, the main feature of homonyms/ in our opinion, stays the absence of derivational meanings (…). The existence of semantic connection among the meanings we have the evidence of a polysemic word, but the absence of such connections reveals homonymy” [24. P. 7]. We share another point of view as the majority of linguists does, considering functional homonyms to be different words on the basis of their belonging to different parts of speech [9; 10. P. 7; 12. P. 7; 25. P. 25; 26. P. 6]. In dictionaries, adverbs что, pronouns что (interrogative, attributive, relative, indefinite, on the one hand, pronoun-noun, and on the other hand, pronoun-numeral, pronoun-adjective) are represented as the meanings of one and the same dictionary entry. It means that the word of different meanings could belong to different parts of speech, e.g., Что принёс? - a pronoun; Что так поздно пришёл? - an adverb of reasoning; Что вы приезжали? - an adverb of targeting [27; 28. P. 27-29; 29. P. 817; 30. P. 380; 31. P. 78-81]) or different lexico-grammatical classes (Что лежит на окне? - an interrogative pronoun-noun; Узнай, что он ответил. - a relative pronoun-noun; Спой песню, что певала мама. - a relative pronoun-adjective with some features of a pronoun-noun [32. P. 60]. Узнаещь что, сообщай незамедлительно. - an indefinite pronoun-noun; Что просишь за эти бусы? - an interrogative pronoun-numeral; Что есть духу, давай стрекача. - a relative pronoun-numeral. D.N. Ushakov discusses the disjunctive pronoun что meaning ‘one - another’: «Что забыл, а чего и не знал никогда. Очень уж он неаккуратен: что перепутает, что потеряет, о чем забудет» [33]. It would be more reasonable to qualify it as an attributive pronoun-noun [see.: T.F. Yefremova [34] due to the meaning ‘many/much’: Что здесь народу! Что в этом году воды!]). Interrogative pronouns are the derivational base for relative, negative and indefinite pronouns. Negative and indefinite pronouns are formed from those not only by means of prefixes and postfixes but as a result of interrogative pronoun decomposition into homonyms. From the chronological point of view, the mentioned above derivational means of negative and indefinite pronoun formation is the oldest one which is proved with the existence of such homonyms in dialects and substandard language to compare with the literary language reflecting the most archaic linguistic forms [35]. The secondary evidence is the fact that ion other languages both interrogative and indefinite pronouns also develop from interrogative ones [36]. Those three classes are united by their common seme ‘ignorance/innocence’. The validity of the negative pronoun ancient origin dealing with interrogative ones is confirmed by etymological dictionaries data, e.g., “Of Common Slavonic *čь - ‘quid’ in connection with to, neutral grammatical gender of *tъ (see Russian: ‘тот’). Archetypic čь is presented in Old Russian чь - ‘quid’, Ukrainian нич - ‘ничего’ (*ni-čь), Old Slavonic ничьже - ‘ничто’, оуничьжити - ‘уничтожить’, Serbo-Croatian чак, ча (*čь) - ‘что’, Old Slovenian nìč, Old Czech nаč - ‘на что, к чему’, рrоč - ‘почему’, Slovak nič - ‘ничего’, Polish zасz - ‘за что’ (…)» [37]. In Russian the interrogative pronoun что is formed as a combination of interrogative чь and demonstrative то pronouns [38]. As for now, the homonymy of interrogative, relative, indefinite pronouns has been already described [32; 35; 39. P. 158-231; 40. P. 157; 41. P. 18-26; 42; 43; 44]. At a lesser degree, the homonymy of interrogative and attributive pronouns is still under the study [45]. The issue of interrogative and negative pronouns has been firstly put forward. The S.I. Ozhegov and N.Yu. Shvedova dictionary deals with indeclinable pronouns что, and the meaning of one of those is that: “6. Indeclinable. About what has no imoportance, does’t play any role: Что cлoвa? 3вyк пycтoй. Что eмy нacтaвлeния poдитeлeй? Heпpиятнocти что, cпpaвимcя. Что тoлкy cпopить? Что пoльзы ждaть” [46]. Here we can obviously see two words: in expressions of the type Что слова? - we qualify что as a negative pronoun-noun; in expressions like Что толку спорить? We refer the indeclinable что to negative pronouns-adjective, and the latter two are the subject of our study. V.I. Dahl distinguishes the interrogative pronoun что with the meaning ‘какой’ and illustrates it with the following examples: “Что пользы врать? Что нужды! Пусть” [47]. It’s rather что is meaning ‘никакой’ (lit.: ‘not any’) referring to necessity or use. We determine it as a negative pronoun-adjective. D.N. Ushakov qualifies что of our studies as a relative pronoun thus uniting heterogeneous phenomena under one term: “5. relative pronoun. With the Genetive of nouns is used in the meaning ‘how many/how much’ (colloq.). Комар, что было сил, сонливца укусил (Krylov). The same refers to rhetoric questions and exclamations, and the meaning is ‘many/much’ (colloq.) Что денег истрачено (как много)! The same refers to rhetoric expressions: что то́лку, что по́льзы, что ну́жды (Old Russian, regional dialects) and others, often meaning ‘no’? e.g., Что толку (‘no reason’) жить. Lermontov. Что ж прибыли, что ты высоко так заполз? (Krylov). - Ах, няня, няня, до того ли? Что нужды мне в твоем уме (Pushkin) [33]. Pronoun что of the first group of examples (Комар, что было сил, сонливца укусил) we qualify as a pronoun-numeral In rhetoric expressions of the type Что толку жить or Что нужды мне в твоём уме we correlate что to the group of negative pronouns-adjectives. In the dictionary of S.A. Kuznetsov, neither parts-of-speech attribution of the following pronoun что nor its lexico-grammatical class are defined, but the word itself has got the interpretation: “5. Nominative case only: что (colloq.) “Ничто, ничего не значит. Что нам снег? Что ему слава? Что ему просьба родителей? Неприятности что, справимся. Что толку спорить? Что пользы грустить?” [48]. This что we consider both as a negative pronoun-noun as of examples: Что нам снег? and also as a negative pronoun-adjective as of example: Что пользы грустить. The Concise academic dictionary also omits the parts-of-speech code of the word что, but fixes that it has got two meanings in different use, which are interpreted through the words ‘ничто’ и ‘какой’: “7. In (Russian - I.T.) rhetoric questions and exclamatory sentences it denotes: ‘ничто, ничего, ничего не значит’. Что враги? пусть клевещут язвительней, Я пощады у них не прошу. (N. Nekrasov); Рыцарь на час. - Нет, тут дело не в лампах! Лампы что́!.. Тут штука вот какая: вентиляции настоящей не было. (V. Veresayev). || In combination with an abstract noun in Genitive case it is used to mean ‘какой’: “Что нужды мне в твоем уме? Желанья!.. что пользы напрасно и вечно желать? (M. Lermontov)” [49]. Что with a “concrete” noun (Что лампы) we treat as a negative pronoun-noun. Что combined with “abstract” nouns in sentences of the like: Что нужды мне в твоём уме? (что in combination with the words проку, нужды, прибыли, пользы, толку, добра, выгоды) reveals the meaning ‘никакой’ (lit.: ‘none’, ‘not any’). Что with a “concrete” nouns as they are coded in the dictionary, doesn’t form a word combination, but makes a predicative word collocation to fulfill the predicative function. Later on we’re going to demonstrate that to denote the subject by the negative pronoun-noun что “abstract” nouns could be used. Что combined with the words проку, нужды, прибыли, пользы, толку, добра, выгоды forms one-piece word collocation to fulfill the predicative function. The dictionary by V.V. Morkovkin and al. [30. P. 380] states the existence in Russian of the substantive negative pronoun что meaning ‘нет такого явления, предмета’ (lit.: ‘nothing of the kind of phenomenon or thing’), functioning in rhetoric questions like Что может быть вкуснее? This pronoun differs from the one we’re studying in the article: in used to be substituted by two words ‘ничего не’ (lit.: ‘nothing similar’) instead of the one ‘ничто’ (‘ничего’) under the analysis. The meaning of the pronoun under the analysis is different: ‘nonsignificant from somebody’s point of view’ (‘as if it doesn’t exist (for the authorizer)’). To sum up, the Russian dictionaries by V.I. Dahl, D.N. Ushakov, S.I. Ozhegov, S.A. Kyusnetsov, A.P. Yevgenyeva specify the examples of the negative pronoun-noun что, though the given facts are qualified in a different way. According to Frequency dictionary, the word что occupies the seventh place as to its use, after the words в (во), и, не, на, я, быть [30. P. 807]. According to Zipf law, there’s direct dependence between the frequency to use a word and the number of its meanings: in speech, the higher the frequency - the greater polycemy degree it obtains [51. P. 79]. On the other hand, M.A. Sorokina comments on the prerequisites of the word transitivity into another part of speech, or homonym referring to its polysemy and abstractness [19. P. 4]. The monography by B.P. Ardentov and dissertation by O.Yu. Stepanova study the pronoun что. B.P Ardentov gives examples with что meaning ‘неважно, не имеет значения’ (lit.: ‘not important, of no importance’) Что умереть?; что meaning ‘напрасно, зря’ (lit.: ‘in vain’) Что так стоять?; meaning ‘незачем’ (lit.: ‘useless’) Что мне бояться?; meaning ‘мало’ (lit.: ‘a little’) Что хорошего?; Что толку? [27. P. 28-30] without denoting the basis to discriminate the use of “что in impersonal sentences” and without considering the meanings under discussion. According to O.Yu. Stepanova, the что homocomplex includes the interrogative pronoun что, что of the uncertainty semantics, что of the improper questions. Among the latter (что of the improper questions) there are rhetoric questions and the functioning of что, is commented, “The interrogative чтоpronoun as a member of rhetoric question correlates with the class of negative pronouns: Что (‘ничего’) может быть выше мира в семье и работы? (B. Pasternak); Что (‘ничто’) страсти? - ведь рано иль поздно их сладкий недуг // Исчезнет при слове рассудка... (M. Lermontov)” [31. P. 6; 8]. “Russian Grammar” qualifies что as an interrogative word in the sentences of phraseological structure, e.g., Что мне страхи на старости лет?, Что толку?, Что пользы спорить?, Что мне до них? [52]. Что мне страхи на старости лет? и Что мне до них?, but belonging to various groups. From the point of view of the form, one can agree: the preposition adds its meaning in the second sentence. But что is the same. Что толку? appears to belongs to the same group together with Что нового?, but in the first sentence, что could be substituted by никакого (not any), while in the second one, ничего (nothing) appears which is why making up one and the same group is improper for the pronoun что is different in the two sentences. S.M. Kolesnikova qualifies что as a gradual particle in the following examples: Что деньги! Дело наживное., Что твоё жалованье! Не надо его совсем., Нам награда что!, Я что., Да ведь что ж этот бал! Только, чай, слава, что бал., Ну что там агроном! Что он понимает по коровьим делам!, Да только что же выговор? Я и сам себя распекал не жалеючи. Служба что. Сам себя веди аккуратно, только и всего., «Анна Каренина» что! Там ничего нет определённого. Still, she writes that “in such use, чтоconserves its connection with pronouns, because it reveals the element of the predicative meaning” [49]. As it seems, the gradual semantics is not a reason to associate with particles those words that fulfil predicative function. The negation possesses graduality [53. P. 232-292].. The conclusion follows: negative pronoun что hasn’t been properly studies by linguists. Negative pronoun-noun что Negative pronoun-noun что functioning as a predicate of the two-member sentences Negative pronoun-noun что fulfils the syntactic function in the two-member sentences. The subject at the negative pronoun-noun что more often is a noun, or pronoun-noun (e.g., это), or infinitive. Subject of the predicate expressed by the negative pronoun-noun что could be a noun of any lexico-grammatical class, proper or nominal, animated and non-animated, concrete and corporeal, collective, concrete objective and abstract, e.g.: Гекуба, Помпея, Везувий, арфы, бой, буря, скала, забег, беды, былое, века, вертеп, вечность, вихрь, воспоминания, вселенная, глумленье, горе, горы, дар, деньги, дом, дорога, заводы, зной, капризы, клавесины, клич, книги, месяц, мир, народ, нежность, песок, порыв, почёт, престиж, приговор, прошедшее, пятна, рынок, свобода, сила, сиянье, скорбь, скрипач, слеза, слёзы, слово, слова, сроки, суд, толки, траур, треск громов, толпы, труд, тряпки, угол родной, универсамы, фразы, хула, штиль and many others. See: Что ему природы горе, Если грез душа полна! (Vs.A. Rozhdestvensky). Что ему морок устроить, предстать коридором, чревовещательной щелью, подставленной ловко, стать очевидным, опутать тебя договором, словно стоустой, услужливой татуировкой? (Zhdanov). Всё пошло на убыль: Стал Серёжка пить. И казённый рубль, Что ему пропить (Kropivnitsky). With the что predicate there could be used a link было in various gender and number forms: Что ему были вражьи своры? Весь он был воплощенная месть! (Slutsky). Two-member sentence with the negative pronoun-noun что could be incomplete it could lack the subject. The omitted subject could be restored from the context, e.g.: Сам мучитель, знаком уицраора Отраженный в шифре этих строк, Не облек бы столь всеобщим трауром Русский север, запад и восток. Что ему? Верховнейшая цель Его жажды и могучих дел - Расширять державу-цитадель За черту, за грани, за предел (D.L. Andreyev). Что ему русский траур? Играет странный гармонист, Закинув голову высоко. И деньги падают, звеня, За пляску, полную азарта. Со взвизгиванием коня, С журчаньем рваного штандарта. Но гармонисту… / Что ему? Он видит саблю и уздечки… И снова зарево атак… Но лишь уходят с поля танки, Разучивает краковяк На взвизгивающей тальянке (Kornilov). Что ему деньги? Только песни будто бы светлее, только песни все обман, Ночью выйдет ясный месяц, - что ему… Серебро кругом развесит - ни к чему (Dryakhlov). Что ему месяц? Пусть в полях распустились цветы Над шатрами бездонно-лазурными, Что тебе, раз такими ж, как ты, Полны темные, душные тюрьмы? (Kedrov). Что тебе весна? The predicate presented in the form of the negative pronoun-noun что at the greatest large stays in a preposition to a subject, although another word order of those is possible: Так было в Лондоне, в Берлине и в Париже! Но это что ему? (Sluchevsky). It’s useful to distinguish active and passive combinability [12. P. 9], and for negative pronouns что the active combinability is more typical: the question goes from them to the dependent word. In sentences with the negative pronoun-noun что the subject of evaluation is denoted by the Dative case noun form or personal pronoun of any person and number. G.A. Zolotova defines the meaning of the syntaxeme as “Dative of authorizer, with whose point of view phenomena and notions are being correlated” [55. P. 126]. It’s a modes case meaning which different from dictum modus [the division of case meanings into modus and dictum see: 56], haven’t yet got linguistic attribution and description, e.g.: «Что нам книги без картинок?» - И старье забросят в печь (Vega). Что вам любовь или ненависть каких-то Горленко или Лизогубов? (Verbitskaya). Что им универсамы и заводы (Lipkin). The emphasis of the subject could be omitted, if it’s known from the previous sentence: Вот чудак, ужели трудно Уяснить простой закон: Так ли, сяк ли - беспробудный Ты уже вкушаешь сон. Что тебе привычки тела? Что там койка и постель?.. (Tvardovsky). Что мне сила моя, что моя бесполезная нежность, - Мне она не нужна, потому что тебе не нужна (Alexeyeva). The negative pronoun что is replaced by the negative pronoun ничто (lit.: ‘nothing’). The negative pronoun-noun что is used in the rhetoric question. Rhetoric question is defined as an affirmation in the negative form or a negation in the affirmative form. “Specifics of rhetoric questions means that the sentences having no negative particle ‘не’ in their structure, are perceived as negative, and vice versa, the sentences having a negative particle ‘не’ in their structure, are understood as affirmative” [57. P. 267]. This very feature of rhetoric questions let clearly state that negative pronoun что in the sentences analyzed in the article, is replaces by the negative pronoun ничто (lit.: ‘nothing’). The sentences with the interrogative pronoun-noun что render the negation in the affirmative. Negative pronoun-noun что functioning as the main member of the negative genitive sentences There are some sentences that denote the evaluative entity of negative pronoun-nouns containing the denotation by a noun in oblique case forms. They often replace что with ничего (lit.: ‘nothing’). Negative genitive sentences with negative pronoun что functioning as the main sentence member the object evaluated could be rendered by a noun in Genitive case with prepositions до (‘till, up to’) or с (‘with’) and a noun in Prepositional case with the preposition в (‘in’). Sentences with the object of evaluation rendered by a noun with preposition с (‘with’) (according to G.A. Zolotiova, the meaning of such syntaxeme is causative-2 [55. P. 99] and belongs to animated nouns only, but our catalogue registers only non-animated nouns): do evaluate as a whole only the object involved from outside as an object of evaluation formed with preposition до: according to “Russian Grammar”, it’s understood as “the reference negation” [52. P. 392-393]), while sentences with the object rendered by a n noun with the preposition в (‘in’), do evaluate the object from inside aggregating its qualities and features (in the dictionary by G.A. Zolotova, the meaning of this syntaxeme is ‘the subject bearing a feature’ [55. P. 305]), see below: Гром живет своим накатом - Что ему до наших бед? (Мандельштам). А я говорила - что мне с вашего парашюта? (Gerasimov). Не в самолюбии тут дело. да что мне с моего самолюбия? (Correspondence in: icq agd-ardin и Герда (2008.02.19). Не дай Бог было при ней убить паука или мушку, или равнодушно наступить на какого-нибудь жучка. - Ну и что тебе с того? - сердито вопрошала она убийцу. - Всех, ведь, не перебьёшь! (Zhelikhovskaya). И что ему, бродяге полумира, В твоем родном, единственном угле? (Tvardovsky). So, despite the indeclinability, the negative pronoun-noun что reflects the meaning of two cases: Nominative and Genitive. In negative genitive sentences unnecessity, unimportance and insignificance of the object of evaluation is greater than in two-member sentences with the negative pronoun-noun чтоdue to its degradation into the subordinate sentence member. The negative pronoun ничто reveals three meanings: 1) ontological vacuum, the absence of an object; 2) something insignificant, unimportant, deserving no attention; 3) the negation of a person, the nonentity. The negative pronoun-noun что reflects the meaning of ‘something insignificant, non-essential, deserving no attention’ which range up to ‘(as if) non-existence, absence (for an authorizer)’. In sentences with the preposition с the meaning of что is ‘the absence of usefulness, or uselessness’. Differences of Russian negative and interrogative pronoun-nouns что The negative pronoun-noun что belongs to the same formal class as the interrogative pronoun-noun что, but their inflectional paradigm differs: while the interrogative pronoun is declined, varying in case forms, the negative one doesn’t. The negative pronoun-noun что has no relevance to the category of animacy/non-animacy thus being different from the interrogative one, as well. The interrogative pronoun что is divided into the radical and inflection -то, while the negative one has got just the stem but no The interrogative pronoun что inflection neither zero one nor the materially explicated. The interrogative что forms a large family of words: indefinite and negative pronouns are formed there; but the negative что has no derivatives. Both negative and interrogative pronouns что have different synonyms: ‘что такое?’ of the interrogative, and ‘ничто’ (‘ничего’) of the negative; and antonyms: ‘всё’ of the negative, and no antonyms of the interrogative. Both что are similarly translated into foreign languages. The interrogative pronoun что is not limited in its combinability as it has an independent lexical meaning. The negative pronoun что the meaning is syntactically limited to the function of a predicate or the principle member in the negative genitive sentence and is structurally governed as it’s used in the construction with the name of the evaluative subject (authorizer) in the Dative case form. The meaning of the Dative case of the addressee or dependent object by the interrogative что is a dictum one; and at the negative pronoun что the Dative of modus is used to signify the meaning of the authorizer (when it’s omitted, it is still implicated: the pronoun всем or the concrete context noun replaces the subject of evaluation). The interrogative что could represent any sentence member while the negative one is strictly a predicate or the principle member in the negative genitive sentence. The negative что demands a specific emotional evaluative intonation and is used in colloquial constructions. The interrogative что could be used on stylistically neutral sentences, in bookish style texts, an in colloquial speech. The negative что is also used in sentences of phraseological structure, while the interrogative что is spread in sentences of any structure, both one- and two-member ones, complete and incomplete ones, simple and complex ones. A number of lexicologists are inclined to use to discriminate homonymy and polysemy the semantic criterion proper: they mean polysemy when there’s a semantic connection of meaning; when there’re none of the kind, they define homonymy. The interrogative and negative что pronouns are not related either in metaphor or metonymy, or hypero-hyponimic and associative meanings. The etymological correlation of interrogative and negative pronouns что is evident. Any interrogative pronoun could be used in rhetoric questions rendering the meaning of the negative pronoun что (an example was given above). So, the question goes whether there’s any typically polysemantic regularity? The answer is “no’ as such negative pronouns refer to the Russian constructions with cumulative double negation, e.g., Что он скажет в оправдание? - Ничего не скажет. Russian pronoun ничто (ничего) replaces что. So, the interrogative and negative pronouns что are homonyms. Negative pronoun-adjective что Negative pronoun-adjective что as a member of a word-combination functioning as the principle member in the negative genitive sentence The negative pronoun-adjective что is used t denote the meaning of the Genitive case of the following Russian nouns: пользы, проку, добра, выгоды, толку, прибыли, добра; it’s replaced by the Russian negative pronoun никакого(ой). The negative pronoun-adjective что forms the integral word-combination and fulfils the function of the principle member in the negative genitive sentence [58-62; comp.: 63-68]. See: Пусть я уйду в иголку, но что мне в этом толку? (Zdanov). А что мне проку, когда ты не проворнее, чем свет, когда не поспеваешь к сроку? (Ptrov). Ничто не вечно под луной, да и что пользы человеку от трудов его, которыми трудится он под солнцем? (Dezhnev). Он имеет сестру и брата, Ну, а что ему в том добра-то? (Simonov). The indication of the evaluative subject could be omitted, and the subject is replaced by всем or никому (lit.: ‘to all or no one’), or the sentence is incomplete: the subject is reconstructed from the preceding context: Что пользы в том, что явных казней нет? (Pen’kov). Только что проку от его красноречия, если после сказанного слова реальная жизнь идет совсем другим курсом? (Voschanov). Чем же славен? Что добра в твоих волнах? Что так шумен, своенравен Расплескался в берегах? (Shevyrev). The object which is evaluated as of no use, usefulness, advantage, profit or benefit, is rendered by a noun in Genitive with the preposition от (‘from’) or a noun in Prepositional with the preposition в (‘in’). The object of evaluation with the preposition от (‘from’) denotes the evaluation of a reason (in the dictionary by G.A. Zolotova “in expressive modification of evaluative model, the component meaning a subject or causer of potential action, its pragmatic or emotional consequences are evaluated in the sentence” [55. P. 81]); the object of evaluation with the preposition в (‘in’) indicates the object evaluation from inside combining its qualities and features. Negative pronoun-adjective что in the whole word-combination functioning ad a predicate of the two-member sentence The negative pronoun-adjective что in the whole word-combination with Russian nouns of пользы, проку, толку, добра, выгоды, прибыли is used as a predicate of the two-member sentence with the subject denoted by the infinitive: И что проку археологу поспешать в Египет? (Golyandin). Что тебе пользы, Хирург беспощадный, терзать мою душу? (Maikov). Но что толку выяснять отношения с официантами (Rubina). In the 18th century and the first three decades of the 19th century, the negative pronoun-adjective что was still used in the word-combination with the Russian noun прибыли oin two-member and negative genitive sentences, but nowadays such use doesn’t occur, see: Вот, жена, - говорил мужской голос, - как добиваются в чины, а что мне прибыли, что я служу беспорочно, не подамся вперед ни на палец (Rasdischev). В самом деле, что тебе прибыли меня обманывать? (Zagoskin). Батюшка, не погуби ты меня, что тебе прибыли? (Fonvizin). Что вам прибыли губить меня? (Zagoskin). There’re just single examples with the Russian noun добра. Why do we insist that the negative pronoun-adjective что is substituted by никакого? Our catalogue contains a lot of samples with expressions с никакого толку, никакого проку, никакой пользы, никакой выгоды, but only a few - 6! with с ничего толку: С самого Покрова учусь, учусь и… ничего толку… (Chekhov). Examples with с ничего проку, ничего ничего выгоды, ничего пользы, ничего добра are not found in the national Corpus of the Russian language. The negative pronoun-adjective что in the whole word-combinations что толку, проку, пользы, выгоды, добра, different from от никакого толку, проку, выгоды, пользы, ничего толку, are never used with the connector of the Future or Past Tense, or in Present Tense with нет. The negative pronoun никакого doesn’t form the whole word-combinations with the words проку, толку, пользы, выгоды, different from the negative pronoun-adjective что. The negative pronoun-adjective что means ‘ни один из имеющихся или возможных’ (lit.: ‘not a single one at present or potential future’), while the negative pronoun никакой reveals only one of those meanings. И что проку археологу поспешать в Египет? (Golyandin). Что тебе пользы, Хирург беспощадный, терзать мою душу? (Maikov). Но что толку выяснять отношения с официантами (Rubina). In the 18th century and the first three decades of the 19th century, the negative pronoun-adjective что was still used in the word-combination with the Russian noun прибыли oin two-member and negative genitive sentences, but nowadays such use doesn’t occur, see: There’re just single examples with the Russian noun добра. Why do we insist that the negative pronoun-adjective что is substituted by никакого? Our catalogue contains a lot of samples with expressions с никакого толку, никакого проку, никакой пользы, никакой выгоды, but only a few - 6! with с ничего толку: С самого Покрова учусь, учусь и… ничего толку… (Chekhov). Examples with с ничего проку, ничего ничего выгоды, ничего пользы, ничего добра are not found in the national Corpus of the Russian language. The negative pronoun-adjective что in the whole word-combinations что толку, проку, пользы, выгоды, добра, different from от никакого толку, проку, выгоды, пользы, ничего толку, are never used with the connector of the Future or Past Tense, or in Present Tense with нет. The negative pronoun никакого doesn't form the whole word-combinations with the words проку, толку, пользы, выгоды, different from the negative pronoun-adjective что. The negative pronoun-adjective что means ‘ни один из имеющихся или возможных’ (lit.: ‘not a single one at present or potential future’), while the negative pronoun никакой reveals only one of those meanings. Conclusion In summary, the Russian language possesses two negative pronouns что, the pronoun-adjective meaning ‘никакого(ой)’ (lit.: ‘none’, ‘not any’) and the pronoun-noun meaning ‘ничто’ /‘ничего’ (lit.: ‘nothing’). As we consider interrogative and negative pronouns be the members of different classes as well as recon they are different words, negative and interrogative pronouns-nouns что should be assumed to be different words. As far as we discriminate two different pronouns-nouns and Russian pronouns-adjectives всё, это, то, we have to admit that the negative pronoun что as a pronoun-noun, and the negative pronoun чтоas a pronoun-adjective are also two different words. Despite the indeclinability, the negative pronoun-noun что reveals the meaning of two cases: Nominative and Genitive; the negative pronoun-adjective что always presents the meaning of the Genitive case, either of masculine or feminine gender. Both the negative pronoun-noun что and the negative pronoun-adjective что fulfil the function of the principle member of the negative genitive sentences. The specification of such genitive sentences concerns the negation being expressed in the affirmative, because negative pronouns что function in rhetoric questions in the negative meaning without negative affixes. Meanings of both negative pronouns что are limited by the function of a predicate or principle sentence member of genitive sentences) and structurally dependent (as it is seen in the construction with the subject of evaluation - authorizer - in the Dative case form). The meaning of the negative pronoun adjective что is also phraseologically confined, as in this meaning, the pronoun что is used with one of the following Russian words: проку, толку, пользы, выгоды, прибыли, добра. Among the three mentioned above meanings of the negative pronoun ничто, the negative pronoun-noun means ‘нечто неважное, несущественное, незначительное’ (lit.: ‘something insignificant’), or (‘as if non-existing for the authorizer’), or ‘uselessness’, ‘the lack of use’. Among the meanings of the negative pronoun никакой, the negative pronoun-adjective что reflect the one of ‘ни один из имеющихся или возможных’ (lit.: ‘none of the existing or potential’).

About the authors

Irina V. Trufanova

State Budgetary Educational Institution of the Moscow city “School No. 224”

Author for correspondence.
Email: illokucia1@rambler.ru
30, Leningradskoye Shosse, Moscow, 125212, Russian Federation

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor, associate professor, teacher of additional education

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