Structural functions of diminutives and their productivity in modern Russian

2020. №5, 38-56

Maria D. Voeikova
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia;


Diminutives (or derivatives with suffixes expressing small size and/or aff ection) are analyzed in regard of their structural functions with the help of corpus methods. The summary of traditional and recent studies comprises the main semantic, pragmatic and structural functions of diminutives provided by Russian and foreign scholars. The study is based on a randomized list of diminutive derivatives from the Main and the Oral Subcorpora of the Russian National Corpus (RNC). The most frequent diminutives from the list were examined to illustrate the structural function of rhyming of the final syllable that might be a purpose of their productivity in Russian language alongside with such structural functions as the simplifi cation of the system of declension types and accentual homogeneity. Quantitative data on the corpus frequency of five derivational patterns tagged in RNC and on the set of forms of frequent diminutives are provided.

For citation:

Voeikova M. D. Structural functions of diminutives and their productivity in modern Russian. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2020, 5: 38–56.


This work is supported by Russian Science Foundation (project No. 18-012-00650 “Semantic categories in the grammatical system of Russian language”).