10.808, Disc: Russakovskii: Encyclopedia of English Verbs

LINGUIST Network linguist at linguistlist.org
Mon May 24 02:15:48 UTC 1999

LINGUIST List:  Vol-10-808. Sun May 23 1999. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 10.808, Disc: Russakovskii: Encyclopedia of English Verbs

Moderators: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar: Wayne State U.<aristar at linguistlist.org>
            Helen Dry: Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at linguistlist.org>
            Andrew Carnie: U. of Arizona <carnie at linguistlist.org>

Reviews: Andrew Carnie: U. of Arizona <carnie at linguistlist.org>

Associate Editors:  Martin Jacobsen <marty at linguistlist.org>
                    Brett Churchill <brett at linguistlist.org>
                    Ljuba Veselinova <ljuba at linguistlist.org>

Assistant Editors:  Scott Fults <scott at linguistlist.org>
		    Jody Huellmantel <jody at linguistlist.org>
		    Karen Milligan <karen at linguistlist.org>

Software development: John H. Remmers <remmers at emunix.emich.edu>
                      Chris Brown <chris at linguistlist.org>

Home Page:  http://linguistlist.org/

Editor for this issue: Andrew Carnie <carnie at linguistlist.org>


Date:  Sun, 23 May 1999 18:02:59 -0700
From:  Eugene Russakovskii <erus at netzero.net>

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Sun, 23 May 1999 18:02:59 -0700
From:  Eugene Russakovskii <erus at netzero.net>

I would like to reply to Dr. van Hoek's review of my
"Encyclopedia of English Verb Forms: Rules & Exceptions"
("Entsiklopediya Form Angliyskikh Glagolov: Pravila i
Isklyucheniya", if in Russian), "Karavella" (Kharkov) -
"Prestige" (Moscow), 1998, 560pp., in Russian. published in
LINGUIST 10.650.

According to Dr. van Hoek, "Encyclopedia..." is a book that
is concerned with primarily "past tense and past-participle
forms for a vast range of English verbs, both regular and
irregular".  I disagree with this characterization. The
book, and this is its main feature, deals with all English
verbs having non-standard grammatical paradigm. "All" means
both widely used and rather rare &
curious ones.

Having in mind the term "non-standard" grammatical paradigm,
I gave all the rules describing standard grammatical
paradigm and listed all the exceptions to these rules
(please, see Section 1, pp.15-164, in my book). (Dr. van
Hoek does not mention this in her review.)

One can compare this material from "Encyclopedia..." with
the corresponding one given in the well-known monograph by
R.Quirk, S.Greenbaum, G.Leech, J.Svartvik  "A Comprehensive
Grammar of the English Language", pp.96-120. Being written
in the same manner, my book expands essentially the
monograph's material, corrects a number of its errors and

Dr. van Hoek's review reports my "Encyclopedia..."  "as a
handbook to be used by researchers and Russian-speaking
students of English as a second language."  I disagree with
this as well. I think, "Encyclopedia..." should be regarded
as an *encyclopedia* for researchers. It can be also treated
as a reference book for researchers. But I agree with Dr.
van Hoek that it should not be used as a textbook for
beginners. Russian-speaking students have many other
opportunities and many [other than "Encyclopedia..."!]
appropriate handbooks/textbooks for studying English. I
think "Encyclopedia..." is not for any Russian-speaking
person who likes/loves English, but only for those of them
who have a good command of English and are in a position to
perceive the book's material. For English-speaking
researchers, my book is an encyclopedia, a reference book
for professionals in the area of English linguistics.

As for applied aspects (frequencies of using these or those
versions of a verb inflexion and the like), the book (and
the Author) had no intention/purpose to study them.

In her review, Dr. van Hoek noticed: "Almost every single
page of these tables [containing irregular verbs - E.R.]
includes verb forms which I (a native speaker of American
English) had never heard of and which would certainly be
flagged as errors if they were used by a second-language
speaker of English."  Again, I repeat my contention that my
book is an encyclopedia, not a textbook. It's quite natural
that encyclopedias and large dictionaries (like, say,
"Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary" of 1994) may
and do contain lots of words (and verbs, together with their
inflexions) that are not used in somebody's current speech
(no matter, whether this individual is a native or non-
native speaker of whether British or American English).

I pay attention to the following circumstance: all really
rare, archaic and obsolete versions of Past Indefinite or
Past Participle verb inflexions are marked by bracketing in
the book. For example, the verb "fight" has unbracketed
versions "fought" and bracketed archaic versions and
dialectisms "(fit)", "(fout)", "(foughten)" (see p.223).
Having seen bracketed versions, readers should refer to
Subsection 2.10 "Comments on the Table of Irregular Verbs
0.2", where they'll find all the necessary explanations
related to usage (see p.495 for the verb "fight").
Instructions to this effect can be easily found in Section 2
(see pp.172-175).

In her review, Dr. van Hoek mentions [as archaic] variants
"fixt" and "mixt" of the verbs "fix" and "mix".  As a
scrupulous investigator, I often used "Webster's...
Unabridged Dictionary" as one of my sources. The above
mentioned forms can be easily found in this source (please,
see there pp. 537-538, 918-919) with no comments on their
usage (but, please, find my corresponding comments on
pp.495, 512 of my book).

Similarly, Dr. van Hoek says: "One type of distortion is
particularly common and could be seriously problematic for
any non-native speaker using this book as a guide: particle
verbs are consistently listed as prefixal verbs. That is,
'wear out' is given as 'outwear'; 'tear out' is given as
'outtear'; 'tear up' is given as 'uptear'; 'seek out' is
given as 'outseek'; etc. ... These prefixal forms ... to my
ears are simply mistakes..."  The above mentioned verbs can
be easily found in "Webster's ... Unabridged...": "outseek"
(p.1023), "outtear" (p.1024), "outwear" (p.1024), "uptear"
(p.1571). For example, "uptear" means "wrench or tear out by
or as if by the roots of foundations; destroy". As for the
verb "outwear", there are many different meanings of this
word ("wear or last longer than", "outlast", "outlive",
"wear out", "destroy by wearing", "exhaust in strength or
endurance", "pass (time)" -  see "Webster's...
Unabridged..." (or, say, "The American Heritage

In conclusion, I would hope both linguists at large and
inquisitive lovers of the English language might be
interested in learning more about English verbs and their
inflexions and will find such information in my
"Encyclopedia of English Verb Forms".

Best regards,

Eugene Russakovskii.

LINGUIST List: Vol-10-808

More information about the Linguist mailing list