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“Cyclic” time in the history of Russian: Culture and language internal factors

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This article offers a diachronic analysis of the concept of “cyclic” time in Russian, more specifically of temporal adverbials such as utrom ‘in the morning’ and vesnoj ‘in the spring’ that refer to the diurnal and annual temporal cycles in nature. It is argued that evidence from diachrony bears on important theoretical questions: Is the sensitivity to “cyclic” time in language due to cultural factors? How does the external factor of culture interact with language internal factors in the formation of temporal concepts? The proposed analysis indicates that the linguistic development in Russian does not mirror changes in cultural practices and values. Instead, the main burden of explanation is placed on a language internal factor, namely the general drift towards more analytic constructions in Russian, which I argue paved the way for the concept of “cyclic” time as reflected in the grammar of the Russian language today.
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Keywords: Russian; diachrony; temporal adverbials; time in language

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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