Nouns or verbs? A case study of the Russian words bain’ki, kušan’ki, spaten’ki and gulen’ki
In this article I investigate part of speech distinctions in Russian based on an in-depth analysis of an understudied group of words, namely bain’ki ‘sleep’, spaten’ki ‘sleep’, kušan’ki ‘eat’ and gulen’ki ‘walk’, which are mainly used in speech with or about children, but which regardless of their high frequency and productivity remain ignored in Russian linguistics. The main question is: what part of speech do these words belong to? Are they verbs or nouns? Based on careful investigation of these words’ morphological, syntactic and semantic properties, it is argued that they are both verbs and nouns. However, they are not prototypical members of either category in the sense of cognitive linguistics. Although this paper considers a small number of words, the proposed analysis has implications for word-class distinctions in Russian as a whole, and I suggest that parts of speech are radial categories organized around prototypes.
CitationZeitschrift für Slawistik 57(2012) nr. 3 s. 330-350
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