Semantic field SEEK: Shughni data in the light of lexical typology

2023. №6, 103-119

Ekaterina Rakhilina
HSE University, Moscow, Russia; Vinogradov Russian Language Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;
Daria Ryzhova
HSE University, Moscow, Russia;
Madina Ardabaeva
B. Iskandarov Institute of Humanitarian Science, the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, Khorog, Tajikistan;


The paper deals with verbs and verbal constructions with the meaning ‘to seek, to search, to look for’ (the semantic field SEEK) in the Shughni language against a typological background. On the basis of dictionary data and the results of elicitation sessions with native speakers, the peculiarities of the lexicalization of the SEEK field in modern Shughni are revealed, and assumptions are made regarding the dynamics of the development of this system from the middle of the twentieth century to the present day. We show that, in this semantic field, there is a clear lexical dominant — the verb x̌ikīdow — with a very wide scope of use, including search for objects of different types (specific and non-specific) by different subjects (humans or animals) and in different ways (visually, tactually, with the help of speech activity, etc.). In some semantic domains within the field of seeking, it competes with other verbs and constructions: in the domain of searching a space, the construction tīr či bīr čīdow ‘to turn upside down’ is used, as well as the verbs čīx̌tow ‘to look’ and qilāptow ‘to rummage’, denoting visual and tactual search, respectively; the construction siroq čīdow (lit. ‘search to do’) can describe a search carried out by asking others around. Several verbs denoting, according to the dictionary data, a search in the dark (warθāptow, zi(r)ɣāptow, and warwarθtow), went out of use, two more — tilāptow ‘to ask’ and x̌iqāptow ‘to chat, invent’ — lost the meaning of seeking. The description of the system of the Shughni verbs of seeking is supplemented by an analysis of their polysemy: cases of using these verbs outside the SEEK field are highlighted and the nature of such colexifications is discussed.

For citation:

Rakhilina E., Ryzhova D., Ardabaeva M. Semantic field SEEK: Shughni data in the light of lexical typology. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2023, 6: 103–119.