Kasatkin L.L. The ‘Biological Species’ Meaning of Binominal Genus Pairs of Some Domestic Animals in Russian Dialects and Literary Language

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2016.4.13

Leonid L. Kasatkin

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Chief Researcher, Institute of Russian Language named after V.V. Vinogradov, RAS

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Volkhonka St., 18/2, 119019 Moscow, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article is devoted to presenting results of studies on coordination between genus, grammatical and biological gender in nomination of domestic animals. It is stated that binominal pairs of the domestic animal names baran – ovtsa, kozel – koza, kot – koshka are used in the literary Russian language with some distinction: a masculine gender noun is used for denoting a masculine animal kind, a feminine gender noun can point to a feminine animal kind, besides it could serve a biological species name without animal gender distinction. In pairs kon – loshad, pes – sobaka the feminine gender names are referred to species hyperonyms, whereas the masculine gender names – to a masculine genus. In Russian dialects the coordination between genus, grammatical and biological gender in the animal nominations under studies demonstrate either close resemblance to the norms of the literary language, or some variations, in particular, in any of the above mentioned binominal pairs the masculine gender nouns might be referred to a general species name thus deviating from the norm 'to denote a biogender of an animal', where as feminine animal nouns point to both general and specific feminine kinds. It is stated that some Russian dialects present variations in the ways gender and species constituents are encoded in the domestic animal names. For some dialects the marker of masculine biogender dominates over the feminine genus, though in other dialects the feminine genus marker turns to be essential for feminine names and unmarked for masculine nouns. It is proved that the preferences in binomination or unigender nomination in denoting species and genus in Russian dialects haven't been described earlier but mark their dialectal specificity. The texts written in literary Russian demonstrate close resemblance in coordination between genus, grammatical and biological gender encoded in nominations and word meanings in its dialectal forms, and the author concludes that this new knowledge is worth being registered in renewed books on Russian grammar.

Key words: Russian dialects, dialectal distinctions, literary language, gender category of nouns, nominations of domestic animals.

Citation. Kasatkin L.L. The ‘Biological Species’ Meaning of Binominal Genus Pairs of Some Domestic Animals in Russian Dialects and Literary Language. Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics, 2016, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 122-142. (in Russian). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2016.4.13

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