Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972


Shigurov V.V. 1
1 Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education “National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University”
The article examines the semantic preconditions necessary for the transposition of linguistic units from the class of adverbs into the interstitial semantic and syntactic category of parenthetic-modal words and expressions. It was revealed that in Russian language adverbial word forms belonging to different semantic groups of the self-characterizing and adverbial modifier-characterizing adverbs are exposed to transposition which allows the subject of the modus to evaluate the information transmitted in the statement from different angles. Attention is drawn to the fact that this type of modalates characterize the reported information in terms of the logical evaluation of the situation (vice versa, additionally, conjointly, etc.), categorical and problematical reliability of the information and its connection with the source (for sure, likely, sooner, as I think/believe/say, etc.); expressive meaning (really, (to feel) pity, disturbingly, etc.); linguistic form of thought expression (generally, shortly, simply и т. п); degree of the situation’s commonness, its relationship to time (sometimes, frequently, rarely, usually, etc.).
Russian language
part of speech
modal word
semantic foundations
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Studying the potential transposition of linguistic units that are different parts of speech is one of the most important tasks of transposition grammar of Russian language (see e.g. [1, 3–4; 6–13]. In this context, the process and result of the modalation of adverbs and short adjectives, including the ones that are used in an impersonal-predicative position, is of particular interest. As it was rightly pointed out by V.V. Babaytseva, “typical speech facts (“extreme cases”, in the words of L. Shcherba) easily fit into the columns (“cells”) of different classifications, and as a rule, do not cause problems. However, in a living language and speech facts that do not have a complete set of distinctive features of any particular grammatical category dominate. These cases are responsible for the existence of so-called “difficult questions of grammar” [1, p. 3–4].

Significant formation of syncretic word forms is generated by the mechanism of modulation of words and word forms from the class of adverbs into the interstitial class of parenthetic-modal units. Structure of modalates such as for sure, generally appears to have a complex grammatical interlacing of the features and functions of both adverbs and modal words, and when transposition is combined with the processes of particulation and conjuctionalization – the features of conjunctions and particles. Manifestations of interaction of category features in the syncrets’ structure are quite diverse (see also [1–4; 14; 16–20]).

Results of research and their discussion

Studying the mechanism of the transposition of language units from adverbs into the interstitial class of parenthetic-modal units shows that certain semantic foundations are needed for the modalation of adverbial word forms, i. e. specific features of their structure and semantics which under the favorable syntactic conditions are able to change the traditional proportion of form and content thus providing the ability to express speaker’s thought more precisely and in a saving manner. “Old” form in the context of the transposition is, in a way, adopting to express new meanings and semantic nuances (see also [1, p. 188–189]).

Semantic features of adverbs facilitate or hinder their categorical rebirth into modal words. It should be mentioned that, when determining semantic base of modalation adverbs, we abstract from those foundations which are relevant for the implementation of “parallel” transposition processes that involve the same adverbial word forms. For example, compare: (1) “pure” type of modalation of adverbs in cases such as for sure (1a) (modalate with a meaning of categorical authenticity); my way (of thinking) (1b) (modalate with a meaning of information source); rarely (1c) (modalate with a meaning of situation commonness degree); (to feel) pity (1d) (modalate with a meaning of emotional evaluation of utterance) and (2) “combined” types of modalation of adverbs that can be observed in the following combinations:

a) modalation + particulation (functional contingence with modal, affirmative particles in undivided sentences [absolutely, surely, naturally] (2a);

b) modalation+conjuctionalization [then, later (functional contingence with structural words and conjunctions that perform connective function in a text) (2b) (see also the types of combination of transpositional processes in interjectivation of adverbs [8, р. 278–379, etc.]):

(1) (a) It’s better to act for sure > Don’t hurry, there is no one there already, for sure;

(b) Let’s do it my way now > In my way of thinking, this is all in vein;

(c) This can rarely be seen > He came to work on the stroke of 7 am, rarely – at the beginning of 8am;

(d) Everyone felt pity for that clumsy boy > Pity, but no one noticed his triumph.

(2) (a) He surely scored a success in this > “Do you agree with that decision?” – “Surely”.

(b) Then we’ll discuss it detail > And then, we should keep in my mind that it’s just the very first experience.

What semantic foundations are needed to implement the modalation of adverbs, i. e. the transpositional process that can occur either in “pure” form or in combination with other types of interstitial part of speech transposition – particulation and conjunctionalization? Studies show that adverbial word forms that are present in two lexical-grammatical categories – self-characterizing and adverbial modifier-characterizing adverbs – are used in function of parenthetic-modal components (see semantic classification of adverbs in [5, p. 704–705]).

Among self-characterizing adverbs, words represented in several lexical-semantic groups are transposed into parenthetic-modal units.

Firstly, those are adverbial formations with semantics of way and manner of action that are transposed into modal words with meanings of: (3) logical evaluation of a situation (vice versa, conjointly, additionally); (4) categorical authenticity of information (for sure); (5) emotional evaluation of utterance (really); (6) linguistic forms of thought expression (generally); compare the following examples:

(3) He always tried to do everything vice versa > Contrary to forecasts, the weather was not warmer, but vice versa – colder;

(4) No one knew the time of the train’s arrival for sure > For sure, the equipment that was delivered is not enough;

(5) He really loved his work > But really, what kind of enemies are we?! We get along just fine;

(6) It’s generally restricted to swim here > Generally, back then no one had a slightest clue about that.

Among adverbs of manner there is a large group of words ending with suffixes -o, -e, the group consists mostly from descriptive adjectives; they are transposed into parenthetic-modal words with meaning evaluation of utterance in terms of: (7) categorical and problematical authenticity (absolutely, clearly, positively, resolutely, demonstrably, rightly, likely); (8) emotional and expressive coloring (disturbingly); compare the following examples:

(7) This word is likely to have resembling variants in many languages > It is likely that we’ll part ways with our guide;

(8) That stranger acted quite disturbingly > Disturbingly, but no one even paid attention to that.

Adverbial comparatives such as shortly, precisely (speaking), accurately, simply form a specific group of words that are subject to transposition into parenthetic-modal words and expressions with meaning of evaluation of linguistic form of thought expression, style and speech manner of a speaker (modus subject) (9). Such modalates are often synonymous to chunks of language with a verbal core – adverbial participles of infinitives; compare: precisely precisely speaking; simply simply speaking:

(9) I can’t quite comprehend you, speak precisely > I didn’t know much about art, or, precisely (speaking), didn’t know anything at all about it;

Secondly, among self-characterizing adverbs such singular adverbial word forms with quantitive semantics (degree) as no way are subject to modalation. They are used in parenthetic-modal position to evaluate information in terms of problematic authenticity (of supposition) (10):

(10) There is still no way he can solve this > No way, this is Nikolay, but he should have left yesterday!

Thirdly, self-characterizing adverbs with meanings of comparison or assimilation (11) are subject to transposition into parenthetic-modal words. They let speakers evaluate the degree of authenticity of utterances by quoting or referring to other people (as you/we/I/ say/believe, think; and their colloquialisms in their/her language, etc.)

(11) We have discussed several different options, but they decided to act as we said nonetheless > As we said, this is the best option.

Of course, not all adverbs of manner and degree are modalated. It is not likely to expect transposition of such adverbs with semantics of defined or undefined quantity as twice, thrice, doubly, trebly, in twain, a lot, a few, not much/many, quite a few into parenthetic-modal words. The same could be stated about adverbs with undertones of strengthening or weakening of characteristics such as very, extremely, exceedingly, devilishly, hardly, barely, almost, scarcely. Russian language also lacks in modal words that originated from self-characterizing adverbs that express meanings of: comparison, assimilation (bear-like, officer-like); manner (such as sideways, flatways, astride, lying down, when seated, when standing, at footpace, at a run, creepingly).

Adverbial modifier-characterizing adverbs in some case are also transposed into modal words and expressions, for example: adverbs of time (finally, ultimately, later, then, incidentally, sometimes, rarely, frequently, comparatives (sooner, (more) rarely, (more) frequently, etc), semantic structure of which contains information about a sequence of events (finally, ultimately, later, then); adverbs of place (opposite); adverbs with meanings of place and time (then). Aforementioned adverbial word forms with temporal and diatopical meanings are transposed into parenthetic-modal words which are used by speakers to characterize the logical structure of an utterance (text), to express the chronological order of events, thoughts, etc. (finally, ultimately, later), to evaluate the authenticity of the information (sooner), commonness degree of a situation, its association with time (sometimes, frequently, rarely, oftentimes, usually; comparatives (more) rarely, (more) frequently, etc.). Compare the following examples:

(12) Come sooner, please, I don’t have much time > It’s sooner to be true rather than not;

(13) The shop was just opposite to it > His arguments were opposite to his opponent’s ones;

(14) Then we’ll discuss the reasons of this happening > And then, we shouldn’t forget about what was said at the Coordination Council’s meeting;

(15) They usually met at some cultural events > Meetings took place on Sundays, usually – at half past 6;

(16) Rarely questions like that have been discussed lately > There was a lot of different mushrooms – birch boletes, red-cap boletes, sticky buns, and rarely – milk mushrooms and whitecaps.

However, such adverbs of time and place as nearby, far away, close by, beside, in front, indoors, by forest, by road, beneath, around, from afar, left, from above, internally; now, yesterday, tomorrow, today, instantly, daily, historically, at first, primarily, already, at day, at night, in the morning, in the evening, in summer, in autumn, in winter, in spring are not used in parenthetic-modal position. Situations, where adverbial word forms of other semantic classes of adverbs are transposed, were not detected. There is a complete lack of modalates that are relative to adverbial modifier-characterizing adverbs with meanings of:

a) simultaneity, collectivity (together, conjointly, collectively, pair-wise, a deux, three, four and etc.);

b) reason (hotheadedly, blindly, from malice, etc.) and c) purpose (for spite, purposely, for fun and etc.).

Parenthetic-modal words such as (to feel) pity, strangely, naturally are sporadic; they are relative to adjective and adverbial words forms, which includes their impersonal-predicative use (as a predicative); compare the following examples:

(17) Pity, but we won’t see again (parenthetic-modal word);

(18) His behavior spoke of pity (short adjective);

(19) His look provoked pity (adverb);

(20) It was a pity to say goodbye to someone you loved (predicative);


The foregoing gives us ground to assert that in Russian language adverbial word forms of different semantic groups of self-charactering and adverbial modifier-characterizing adverbs are subject to transposition, which lets the modus subject to comprehensively evaluate the information contained in an utterance or a text. Modalates of the described type characterize the information in terms of logical evaluation of a situation, categorical and problematic authenticity of information, its connection with a source, emotional and expressive coloring; linguistic form of thought expression; commonness degree of a situation, its relation to tine, etc.

The work is performed within the project “Complex research of modalation as a type of stepping transposition of language units in semantic syntactical category of introductory modal words”, carried out with financial support of the Russian humanitarian scientific fund (grant № 15-04-00039a).