[Lingtyp] query: verbal diminutives

Hannu Tommola hannu.tommola at uta.fi
Fri Dec 14 17:21:10 UTC 2018

  Yes, that example of /xaxan'kat'/ is from Valentin Rasputin's novel,  
to be sure dialectal. But there are, for instance, 4 examples of  
/xaxakat'/ (without the nasal) from different authors in Ruscorpora. A  
corresponding momentative or semelfactive /xaxaknut'/ occurs 4 times  
in Sholohov's 'Silent Don' (sure also dialectal). While /xixikat'/ /  
/xixiknut'/ are most frequent in standard Russian, it seems to be  
typical of this type of 'diminutive' verbs that they show onomatopoeic  
diversity. Similar examples from Finnish are /hihittää/, /hahattaa/,  
/hohottaa/ (continuatives - 'giggle, guffaw'), with perhaps more  
genuine diminutive (frequentative) derivations like /hihite-llä/,  

Hannu Tommola

Quoting Dmitry Nikolaev <dsnikolaev at gmail.com>:

> A minor correction.
>> Some examples include: German /hüsteln /(‘to cough lightly’),  
>> Italian /dormicchiare /(‘to doze’), Croatian /grickati /(‘to  
>> nibble’), Czech /tr//̌epotat /(‘to  
>> flutter’),/ /Slovene /igri//čkati/ (‘to play around’),  
>> Russian /xaxan’kat /(‘to giggle’)...       
>    This is not standard Russian. I do not know this word, and the  
> only example I found in the corpus is from a novel depicting the  
> speech of some highly divergent northern dialect. The usual Russian  
> verb for this meaning is /xixikat//’./

  Hannu Tommola
Professor emer. of Russian Language (Translation Theory and Practice)
School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies
FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
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