Unproductive prefixes in East Slavic dialects (etymological heuristics; identification difficulties)

2022. №6, 44-61

Anatoly F. Zhuravlev
Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia; afzhuravlev@yandex.ru


The article analyzes the heuristic possibilities given to etymology by purposeful study of rare and unproductive (“archaic”) prefixes in the Eastern Slavic languages (*ba- / *bu‑, *ka- / *ko- / *ku-, *la- / *le-, *mo- / *mu-, *ra-, še‑ / ši‑ / šu‑, če‑ / či‑ / ču‑…), as well as difficulties associated with identification of these morphemes in the composition of “obscure” words. Establishment of the prefixal status of certain initial segments of a word is facilitated by their serial nature, parallel modification of the same morphological base by different prefixes, sometimes emphasized by the commonality of their vocalism, and by newly discovered structural and semantic parallels. Identification of such prefixes can be complicated by false-etymological associations, ambiguity of the studied form in grammatical-paradigmatic terms, consonant epentheses, emphatic syllabic inserts, mutual exchange of vocalism between a sparsely distributed prefix and a root, merger of prefixes into two-syllable complexes, their recombination, etc. The article suggests a number of original etymologies (Rus. baraxlo, lobotrjas, dial. šadra / ščedra, ličkuëk, raxubot’je, šoed’, Ukr. dial. batjuta, raxomot’je, šydravyj, Belarus. dial. šujadz’, etc.).

For citation:

Zhuravlev A. F. Unproductive prefixes in East Slavic dialects (etymological heuristics; identification difficulties). Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 6: 44–61.


A draft of this paper was read by A. E. Anikin, M. Bjeletić, and M. D. Matiyiv, whose comments were accepted by the author with sincere gratitude.