Profiles

Associate Professor Ludmila Pöppel

Ludmila Pöppel

Associate Professor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies Finnish Dutch and German
Telephone 08-16 12 21
Email ludmila.poppel@slav.su.se
Postal address Institutionen för slaviska och baltiska språk finska nederländska 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am Associate professor in Slavic Languages. My research areas are lexical semantics, lexicography, phraseology, corpus linguistics, Construction Grammar and discourse analysis. I have supervised Academic Papers for Bachelor, Magister and Master degrees. I am alsor a supervisor of a doctoral thesis. My research in lexical semantics and discourse analysis is directly connected with teaching on different levels. have supervised Academic Papers for Bachelor, Magister and Master degrees. I am alsor a supervisor of a doctoral thesis. My research in lexical semantics and discourse analysis is directly connected with teaching on different levels.

Teaching

My teaching experience in Russian: Russian Grammar, Practical Russian, Stylistics, Discourse analysis, Translation studies, Translation into Russian, Analysis of text, Lexical Semantics an Corpus linguistics.

I have supervised Academic Papers for Bachelor, Magister and Master degrees. I am alsor a supervisor of a doctoral thesis. My research in lexical semantics and discourse analysis is directly connected with teaching on different levels.

Research

My research areas are lexical semantics, lexicography, phraseology, corpus linguistics, Construction Grammar and discourse analysis. My research focuses on synonymy, Russian discursive words, Russian constructions, idioms in Russian political discourse.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2016. Ludmila Pöppel. Da veselitsa Novʹgradʹ = Må Novgorod fröjda sig, 167-178

    The purpose of this paper is to analyze the combinability of the near-synonyms беспорядки (disturbances) and волнения (unrest). Their combinatorial properties are investigated using extensive corpus data –Sketch Engine and the Russian National Corpus (RNC). Investigating combinatorial features through the use of text corpora can help identify semantic differences that are not intuitively obvious. I will demonstrate how combinatorial properties were discovered, since analysis of these materials has revealed a number of combinatorial preferences. In future studies my findings will serve as the basis for identifying semantic and pragmatic distinctions between these near-synonyms.

  • 2016. Dmitrij Dobrovolskij, Ludmila Pöppel. Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, 134-145

    The primary goal of the present study is to improve methods for contras-tive corpus investigations. Our data is the Russian construction дело в том, что and its parallels in English, German and Swedish. This construction, which appears to present no difficulty for translation into other languages, is in fact language-specific with respect to at least one parameter. It dis-plays a large number of different parallels (translation equivalents) in other languages, and possesses a complex semantic structure. The configura-tion of semantic elements comprising the content plane of this construction is unique. The empirical data have been collected from the corpus query system Sketch Engine, subcorpus OPUS2 Russian, and the Russian Na-tional Corpus (RNC). The analysis shows that the construction дело в том, что has more than 50 parallels in English, over 30 in German, and about 30 in Swedish. In all three languages the most common means of translat-ing the construction is to omit it. Also frequent are the English equivalents the fact/thing/point/truth is (that); (it’s/this/that is) because; the German expressions nämlich; die Sache ist, die; denn; and the Swedish construc-tions saken är den att; problemet/faktum är att. The semantic structure of дело в том, что includes the following components: 1) substantiation of something stated previously; 2) indication of the reason something has happened; 3) emphasis on the significance of what has been stated. The different translations of the construction are motivated by the fact that each specific context focuses on one of these meanings.

  • 2016. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovolskij. Proceedings of the XVII EURALEX International Congress, 668-677

    The primary goal of the present study is to develop a new way for description of discursive units in a Russian-Swedish dictionary database which is currently under construction. Discursive units are important elements of communication but have not been fully described as yet. Using large text corpora for the empirical data we are going to analyze the type of construction v tom-to i N/ втом-тои N (that’s [just] the N) which is realized in a wide variety of tokens and demonstrate that some tokens of the construction can be so frequent that they can be considered to be cognitively entrenched units and are preserved in memory as separate units of the language, i.e. phrasemes. Such units should be described as separate items of the lexicon. The task of the investigation is to refine our notions about the structural properties of v tom-to i N/втом-тои N (that’s [just] the N) and identify additional distinctive features of the construction which should be included in its lexicographic description.

  • 2016. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Vestnik Novosibirskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta (2), 61-72

    Целью настоящего исследования является проверка гипотезы о природе лексической словосочетаемости. В соответствии с традиционными представлениями словосочетания могут быть либо свободными, либо устойчивыми. Причем понятие устойчивости традиционно связывается с понятием неаддитивности смыслов. Значение свободного словосочетания выводится из значений входящих в него элементов, в отличие от устойчивого словосочетания, значение которого не выводится из его составляющих, т. е. не является ни композиционным, ни аддитивным. С появлением больших корпусов текстов и развитием новых лингвистических направлений, таких как грамматика конструкций, открылись возможности исследования частоты употребления языковых единиц и их когнитивной укорененности эмпирическими методами, в том числе с помощью статистических методов. В статье будет показано, что устойчивость словосочетаний не обязательно связана с некомпозиционностью. Многие конструкции, образуемые согласно правилам управления элементами словосочетания, могут тем не менее храниться в памяти как самостоятельные единицы. С помощью больших корпусов текстов, позволяющих получить обширный эмпирический материал, будут проанализированы семантически близкие конструкции то-то и N, в том-то и N и в том-то и весь <весь и> N и их реализации и будет показано, что некоторые реализации конструкций настолько частотны, что их можно считать когнитивно укорененными единицами, хранящимися в памяти как самостоятельные единицы языка. Соответственно, их следует описывать как отдельные единицы лексикона. Будут также выявлены некоторые закономерности распределения филлеров слота N рассматриваемых конструкций и сформулированы соответствующие правила такого распределения.

  • 2015. Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij, Ludmila Pöppel. Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics 2015, 223-241

    The present study analyzes a group of Russian discursive units withfocus-sensitive semantics such as imenno (just/precisely) , kak raz (just/precisely) ,to-to i ono (that’s just it/the point/problem) , to-to i est’ (that’s just it/the point/problem)and to-to i delo (that’s just it/the point/problem). They are important elementsof communication but have not yet been adequately described. Some of the analyzedlexical units – for example, imenno and kak raz or to-to i ono, to-to i est’ andto-to i delo – are near synonyms. Others, such as kak raz and to-to i ono , are not nearsynonyms, but they nevertheless belong to the semantic class of focus-sensitive elements.Thus they can all be put into a single group according to the principle offamily resemblance. The material itself suggests the logic of the analysis – on thebasis of pairs or groups of the semantically closest near synonyms: (1) imenno vs.kak raz ; (2) imenno vs. to-to i ono, (3) to-to i ono vs. to-to i est’ vs. to-to i delo.Near-synonyms within these groups can be distinguished from each other on thebasis of semantics, pragmatics, and usage preferences. Identifying differences ofvarious types requires a good corpus with numerous examples, for they can be presentsimultaneously on several levels: semantic and pragmatic, pragmatic and usual,etc. Often, although not always, pragmatic and/or usual differences are semanticallymotivated. Syntactic distinctions among near-synonyms, including those in certainsyntactic patterns, are also generally motivated by differences in their semantics. Ina number of cases the problem is solved through the use of translational equivalents,that is, not on the level of individual lexical units (words and phrasemes) but on thatof the entire utterance. Using relevant lexicographic information, text corpora,including parallel corpora, and works of fi ction, we shall: (a) clarify semantic and pragmatic properties as well as usage peculiarities of thefocus sensitive discursive units imenno, kak raz, to-to i ono, to-to i est’ andto-to i delo; (b) analyze their systemic and translational equivalents in English and Swedish.

  • 2015. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Zeitschrift für Slawistik 60 (4), 613-628

    Because different languages often lack semantic equivalents, translationmay require looking for other cross-linguistic correlations on the level of theutterance. To find a functional equivalent that is adequate to the translation of agiven context, the search should focus on pragmatic correspondences rather thansemantic equivalents. The present article examines this phenomenon on the basisof the Russian near-synonymous discursive units with focus-sensitive semanticsimenno (just/precisely) and kak raz (just/precisely). They are important elements ofcommunication but have far not been fully described. Using relevant lexicographicinformation, text corpora, including parallel corpora, and works of fiction, we aregoing to show that synonymy of these discursive units is not as complete as itappears at first glance. We will analyze their semantic and pragmatic properties,usage peculiarities as well as systemic and translational equivalents in English, German and Swedish.

  • 2014. Ludmila Pöppel. Figurative Sprache = Figurative language = Langage figuré, 233-242

    The purpose of this paper is to investigate distinctive semantic features and distinguishing combinatorial properties of the three near-synonyms belonging to the semantic field POWER – смута (turmoil), беспорядки (disorders) and волнения (tumult). The starting point is the constructive peculiarities of these near-synonyms as investigated from extensive corpus data – the Russian National Corpus (RNC) and Google Books (GB). I will demonstrate what combi-natorial properties were discovered, and show how combinatorics allows us to identify both semantic distinctions among near-synonyms and differences in conceptual categorization.

  • 2013. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovolskij. Current Studies in Slavic Linguistics, 281-296

    The purpose of our paper is to clarify semantic differences in present-day usage between the words революция ‘revolution’, and переворот ‘revolution’, on the one hand, and мятеж ‘revolt’ and восстание ‘uprising’, on the other. Although they are members of the same semantic field, they display some intuitively obvious disparate semantic features. However, these features are only partly registered in dictionaries. On the basis of present-day text corpora, we are going to describe the most relevant semantic differences between these words. We are also going to identify some possible diachronic shifts that have occurred over the last hundred years.An important element in present-day usage of the four words is evaluation, which is usage-biased towards the positive or negative pole. This leaves considerable room for manipulation. One and the same event can be presented as a positive or a negative change in the political world, as initiated by people or inspired and organised by a small group of politicians. The words революция ‘revolution’, переворот ‘coup’, мятеж ‘revolt’ and восстание ‘uprising’ are ideal instruments for achieving such purposes and are therefore an important means of manipulating public opinion. Revealing the semantic mechanisms behind this manipulation is a central issue in the linguistic investigation of Russian political discourse. 

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel.

    Целью исследования является описание идиоматики, используемой в газете «Правда» 1917 г. в период между Февральской и Октябрьской революциями. Основным источником является база данных «Правда». Электронный архив (DA-PRA) (http://online.eastview.com/index.jsp). Выбор источника и эмпирических данных обусловлен тем, что в газете «Правда» 1917 г. зарождались основы советского политического языка. Момент зарождения этого языка еще не был описан в лингвистике. Поскольку идиоматика является ярким маркером особенностей определенного типа дискурса, тщательное изучение идиоматики данного периода может способствовать выявлению его лингвистической специфики.

    Материал словаря «Фразеология между двух революций» структурирован по семантическим полям и представлен в лексикографическом формате тезауруса. Структура словаря следует принципам, разработанным в «Словаре-тезаурусе современной русской идиоматики» (2007). Сохранение данной структуры в словаре «Фразеология между двух революций» позволяет выявить сходства и различия между современной русской идиоматикой и спецификой употребления идиом в газете определенного политического направления конкретного периода. Материал настоящего словаря может быть также использован для изучения семантической эволюции идиоматики и особенностей русского политического дискурса, включая его диахронические изменения.

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij, Artem Sharandin.

    The purpose of our presentation is to clarify semantic differences between two Russian constructions vot imenno and to-to i ono and to find their functional equivalents in German and Swedish.

    The semantic structure of particles and constructions such as grammatical phrasemes and syntactic idioms is so intricate that it is often impossible to find appropriate equivalents in other languages. While translating utterances containing such constructions other means have to be used. However, while compiling bilingual dictionaries, a lexicographer has to find equivalents on the lexical level. At present we are engaged in a Russian-Swedish lexicographic project.

    Such phrases as vot imenno and to-to i ono are very important for communication; nevertheless present-day Russian-Swedish dictionaries do not explain the difference between the Swedish near-eqiuvalents to Russian vot imenno (just det and precis), while to-to i ono is not considered at all.

    The starting point of our investigation is previous research of two German focus particles eben and gerade and their Russian near-equivalents imenno and kak raz (Dobrovol‘skij, Levontina 2012). The analysis of the German particle eben used as an independent utterance (Satzäquivalent) has shown that it has two near-equivalents in Russian – to-to i ono and vot imenno which are not quite synonymous.

    In the present study, we suggest the following working hypothesis: to-to i ono and vot imenno have different meanings but in some contexts they coincide pragmatically. Contextual synonymy of these constructions is possible in contexts in which some relevant semantic features are neutralized.

    The construction vot imenno expresses full agreement with the interlocutor’s statement. The meaning of to-to i ono can be roughly paraphrased as following: ‘a certain aspect in a situation, often considered to be secondary or unimportant by the interlocutor, is the central element for understanding the situation as a whole’. The pragmatic consequence is that the speaker often expresses disagreement with the interlocutor. The German particle eben points out that the focused aspect of the situation is the most important, central for understanding the whole situation. The pragmatic consequence is that eben may be used by the speaker to express both agreement and disagreement.

    Both vot imenno and to-to i ono may be used as separate utterances, this ability goes back to different semantic properties. The meaning of imenno is based on the idea of confirmation, of agreement with the interlocutor, while the German particle eben points to the most important, central element of the situation. Using relevant lexicographic information and large text corpora, among them parallel corpora, we are going to:

    (a)    clarify the use of vot imenno and to-to i ono as independent utterances and matrix predicates (vot imenno, čto Р and to-to i ono, čto Р);

    (b)    discuss their near-equivalents in German and Swedish.

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. TotalitarianPolitical Discourse?, 71-88
  • 1997. Ljudmila Pöppel.
  • 2008. Ludmila Pöppel. Terminal Øst, 136-149
  • 2016. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Vestnik Novosibirskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta (6), 164-175

    В данном исследовании используются материалы параллельных корпусов с русским, английским, немецким и шведским языками. На основе анализа полученных данных выработаны операциональные критерии, которые могут быть положены в основу типологизации дискурсивных конструкций. Цель работы – найти способ противопоставить устойчивые, идиоматические конструкции, с одной стороны, и композиционные, близкие к свободным словосочетаниям – с другой. Это сделано на примере русской конструкции N в том, что и ее параллелей в английском, немецком и шведском языках. Обычно к параллельным корпусам обращаются для выявления способов перевода языковых структур на другие языки, выявления лингвоспецифичности языковых единиц или для усовершенствования их лексикографического описания. В этой статье впервые материалы параллельного корпуса используются для выделения различных типов русских дискурсивных конструкций. Тем самым данная работа может рассматриваться как вклад в развитие методов корпусных исследований. Конструкция N в том, что имеет в русском языке такие варианты, как дело в том, что; проблема в том, что; беда в том, что; суть в том, что; правда в том, что; идея в том, что и др. В статье рассматриваются три реализации данной конструкции – дело в том, что; проблема в том, что и правда в том, что. Из этих трех конструкций лишь дело в том, что является лексикализованнной, т. е. может рассматриваться как единица русского лексикона. Это доказывается тем, что при переводе этого выражения на другие языки доминируют не его пословные корреляты, а функциональные эквиваленты, формально не имеющие с ним ничего общего. Две другие конструкции чаще всего переводятся пословно, что дает основание рассматривать их как свободные словосочетания. В качестве эмпирической базы использовались Sketch Engine и НКРЯ.

  • 2015. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Trends in Slavic Studies, 595-607

    The present study analyzes the phraseme constructions то-то и N and в том-то и N. Their basic structural feature is presence of open slots – the element N which can be filled only by words from a limited list, some basic, prototypical nomen. At the center of each group there is a prototypical construction, which is today perceived to be basic but may not at all have been such in the nineteenth century. To identify the specific contrastive features of thus far undescribed constructions requires a good corpus, for they can be present simultaneously on various levels: semantic and pragmatic, pragmatic and usual, etc. Using relevant lexicographic information, text corpora, including parallel corpora, and works of fiction, we shall: a) explain the functional principles of the phraseme constructions known as formal or lexically open idioms; b) clarify semantic and pragmatic properties as well as usage peculiarities of the constructions; c) analyze their systemic and translational equivalents in English and Swedish.

  • 2015. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 206, 18-23

    The primary theoretical goal of the present study is to verify a hypothesis that fixedness of word combinations is notnecessarily connected with non-compositionality. Many constructions formed in accordance with the rules governing the cooccurrenceof their elements can nevertheless be retained in memory as separate units. Using large text corpora for theempirical data we are going to analyze the type of construction в том-то и весь N (that’s /just the whole N) which is realizedin a wide variety of tokens and demonstrate that some tokens of the construction can be so frequent that they can beconsidered to be cognitively entrenched units and are preserved in memory as separate units of the language. Such unitsshould be described as separate items of the lexicon. The practical task of the investigation is to refine our notions about thestructural peculiarities of в том-то и весь N (that’s /just/ the whole N) and its variant в том-то весь и N (that’s /just/ thewhole N).a We are also going to identify some regularities of distribution of fillers of the slot N in both variants of theconstruction and formulate corresponding rules for such distribution.

  • 2014. Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij, Ludmila Pöppel. Med blicken österut, 57-66

    The semantic structure of discursive units is so intricate that it is often impossible to find appropriate equivalents in other languages. While translating utterances containing such words and constructions, contexts have to be taken into account to a large extent. However, while compiling bilingual dictionaries, a lexicographer has to find equivalents on the lexical level. At present we are working on a Swedish-Russian and Russian-Swedish dictionary which is small in size and therefore will include only frequent discursive units in present-day Russian. Such units as именно and как раз are very important for communication; nevertheless present-day Russian-Swedish dictionaries do not explain the difference between the Swedish near-equivalents to these Russian focus constructions (cf. именно and как раз). The starting point of our investigation is previous research of two German focus particles eben and gerade and their Russian near-equivalents именно and как раз (Dobrovol’skij, Levontina 2012; Dobrovol’skij, Šarandin 2013). Unlike как раз, именно may be used as a separate utterance; this ability goes back to different semantic properties. Using relevant lexicographic information and text corpora, among them parallel corpora, as well as works of fiction, we are going to: clarify the use of именно and как раз; discuss their near-equivalents in English and Swedish which will enable us to compile dictionary entries which will be included into our Swedish-Russian and Russian-Swedish dictionary.

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. BASEES Annual Conference 2012

    Since the semantic field theory was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s (Ipsen 1924, Trier 1931), it has been developed in hundreds of studies. Surprisingly, the semantic field POWER has been overlooked by researchers. However, this field is of considerable interest not only for specialists in lexical semantics but also for journalists, politicians, lawyers and other professional groups. The semantic field of power is covered in Russian by such words as революция (revolution), переворот (coup), восстание (uprising), бунт (mutiny), мятеж (revolt), путч (putsch), заговор (conspiracy, plot), свержение (overthrow), выступление (protest action, march), протест/акция протеста (protest action) etc. In this paper, we concentrate on the words восстание (uprising), бунт (mutiny) and мятеж (revolt) that can be considered near-synonyms.

    The delimitation of synonyms is among the most productive and topical areas of contemporary lexical semantics, and an enormous number of studies have been devoted to the subject. Synonymy has been investigated from different theoretical perspectives and with the help of various tools at the disposal of present-day linguistics, including theoretical semantics (Apresjan 1974, 2009, Wierzbicka 1992, 1997), corpus linguistics using elements of statistical analysis (Divjak & Gries 2006, Janda & Solovyev 2009), and academic lexicography (Apresjan 1995, 2004).Unlike traditional dictionaries of synonyms, present-day dictionaries of synonyms are based on sound theory. They take into consideration all important relevant results within this field (cf. Rosselli 1990, Urdang 1991, Apresjan 2004). Jurij Apresjan (2004, 2009) has been constantly developing operational criteria for distinguishing synonyms (2009: 200-213). Synonymy research has also been the topic of international conferences (cf. Re-thinking synonymy 2010, http://www.linguistics.fi/synonymy/book_of_abstracts.pdf , ”La synonymie” 2009). Nevertheless, the two synonymic rows in the six languages we plan to investigate have never been described before.

    The relevance of the problems, which will be concidered in the present study, is based on our previous research. We have studied the words революция (revolution), переворот (coup), восстание (uprising) and мятеж (revolt) in Russian (Dobrovol’skij & Pöppel 2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2012d) and identified distinctive semantic features of these words (see 5.).

    Our study is based on three main methods of linguistic analysis – synonymy analysis along the lines of the Moscow Semantic School, Frame Semantics in the sense of Fillmore, the Construction Grammar approach and the principles of cross-linguistic analysis developed by Haspermath.

    (a) We will approach our analysis from the position of the Moscow Semantic School using the semantic theory developed by Apresjan (1995, 2000, 2004, 2009). Within this theory, contexts profiling semantic differences between synonyms play the central role. If a lexical unit cannot be replaced by its (near-)synonym in a given context it proves that the synonyms are not semantically identical. This approach makes it possible to single out all relevant distinctive semantic features of every lexeme in question by analyzing diagnostic contexts.

    (b) We will also use Charles Fillmore’s theory of Frame Semantics (Fillmore 1977, 1982, 1985). The basic idea of Fillmore’s theory is that the meaning of a single word cannot be understood without access to both the essential knowledge that relates to the word and its combinatorial properties. In order to describe a word’s semantics and to distinguish between (near-)synonyms, one has to study the range of its semantic and syntactic valences, i.e. its combinatorial profile. This enables us to fill the slots of corresponding frames, i.e. to postulate all obligatory and facultative participants in the situation pointed to by the lexeme in question. Examples are the words бунт ‘riot’ and мятеж ‘revolt’ in Russian. Бунт can often start on a ship or in prison i.e. slot “location” of the frame БУНТ is specified, in contrast to МЯТЕЖ. This difference between the words бунт and мятеж can obviously not be fixed within the lexicographic definitions of the meanings of these words but this difference is extremely important for the native-like usage. Therefore it is also important to address the theory of Frame Semantics along with Apresjan’s method (2004, 2009) of synonym discrimination.

    (c) In the analysis of lexical co-occurrences we are also going to use some Construction Grammar approaches. The method has been developed since large text corpora became available and can be labeled constructional approach based on corpus evidence (Janda & Solovyev 2009, Divjak 2010, Divjak & Gries 2008). Its basic assumption is that

    (near-)synonyms are sensitive to specific constructions. Examples are the words революция ‘revolution’ and переворот ‘coup’ in Russian. They are sensitive to the constructions [ВО ИМЯ N] ‘for the sake of N’ and [НА БЛАГО N] ‘for the benefit of N’. The constructions ‘for the sake/benefit of revolution’ occur often, whereas ‘for the sake/benefit of coup’ do not occur in the present-day contexts. This can be explained by the fact that революция is directed towards noble long-term objectives, which is not the case with переворот.

    The recent development of the theory of Frame semantics and Construction Grammar shows that both approaches tend to converge.

    An analysis of combinatorial properties of these words in present-day Russian demonstrates a number of relevant distinctive features. Most of them have not yet been fixed in dictionaries. The main task of our research is to find out semantic contrasts between these near-synonyms.

    Another important aspect is to study diachronic shifts that took place over the last hundred years. As compared to political texts written between two Russian revolutions of 1917, the use of мятеж (revolt), бунт (mutiny), and восстание (uprising) in the present-day discourse reveals some features that differ from the usage of that time. This means that a present-day semantic map cannot be mechanically projected onto the state of language in previous periods of linguistic development. Otherwise there is a great risk of misunderstanding historical texts, especially of misinterpreting the intentions of authors and their political platform.

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Welt der Slaven LVII (1), 134-145
  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij.

    Synonyms are usually defined as words coinciding in their core meanings. The number of common semantic features should prevail over the number of distinctive features (cf. Apresjan 2009: 539). In this research tradition, synonyms proper are defined as lexical units revealing peripheral, insignificant distinctive features. Otherwise we are dealing with near-synonyms. One task of lexical semantics is to identify and describe semantic features that distinguish between synonymic words. Conventional dictionaries are rarely capable of fulfilling this task. Exceptions are special dictionaries of synonyms such as NOSS (2004) based on a solid semantic theory. All methods of synonymy research are based on the analysis of relevant contexts, although each method focuses on specific aspects of the contextual behavior of synonyms.

    Within the semantic theory developed by Apresjan (1995, 2000, 2009), contexts profiling semantic differences between synonyms play the central role. If a lexical unit cannot be replaced by its (near-)synonym in a given context it proves that the synonyms are not identical semantically. This approach makes it possible to single out all relevant distinctive semantic features of every lexeme in question by analyzing diagnostic contexts.

    The basic idea of Fillmore’s theory of frame semantics (1982, 1985) is that the meaning of a single word cannot be understood without access both to the essential knowledge that relates to the word and its combinatorial properties. In order to describe a word’s semantics and to distinguish between (near-)synonyms, one has to study the range of its semantic and syntactic valences, i.e. its combinatorial profile. This enables us to fill the slots of corresponding frames, i.e. to postulate all obligatory and facultative participants in the situation pointed to by the lexeme in question.

    The third method can be labeled the constructional approach. It has been developed since large text corpora became available. Its basic assumption is that (near-)synonyms are sensitive to specific constructions. The method is based on corpus evidence (cf. Janda & Solovyev 2009, Divjak 2010, Divjak & Gries 2008). Examples are the words революция ‘revolution’ and переворот ‘coup’. Both words are sensitive to constructions [во имя N] ‘for the sake of N’ and [на благо N] ‘for the benefit of N’. In the Russian National Corpus the construction во имя революции ‘for the sake of revolution’ occurs 35 times, and на благо революции ‘for the benefit of revolution’ 2 times, whereas there are no hits for на благо переворота ‘for the benefit of coup’, and only one hit for во имя переворота ‘for the sake of coup’ dated 1880, i.e. a context that obviously does not conform to the present-day usage norms. The difference in constructional embedding can be explained by the fact that революция is directed towards noble long-term objectives, which is not the case with переворот.

    In our talk we will develop this approach to lexical synonymy by analyzing the constructional behavior of the words восстание ‘uprising’, бунт ‘riot’ and мятеж ‘mutiny’.

  • 2012. Ludmila Pöppel, Dmitrij Dobrovol'skij. Scando-Slavica 58 (1), 77-100

    The purpose of this paper is to clarify semantic differences between the wordsреволюция, восстание and переворот in present-day usage. Being members of thesame semantic field, they nevertheless display some intuitively obvious disparatesemantic features. However, these features are only partly attested in dictionaries.We study the meaning of the words революция, переворот and восстание in presentdayRussian using typical contexts from the Russian National Corpus (RNC) andthe Internet. Further, we identify distinctive features that should be included inthe definitions of these words and compare our findings with descriptions of theirmeanings in several well-known dictionaries..The analysis of the present-day usage of the three words will demonstrate anumber of semantic differences between these words that were not characteristicof their usage at the beginning of the the twentieth century. These semantic andpragmatic shifts are not, however, attested in dictionaries. It is therefore important,in the near future, to focus on diachronic shifts in the course of the last hundredyears as well as on formulating new definitions that reflect the present-day usageof these words.

  • 2010. Tora Hedin, Ludmila Pöppel. Humour in Language, 99-130
  • 2009. Ludmila Pöppel. Swedish Contributions to the Fourteenth International Congress of Slavists, Ohrid, September 2008, 93-104
  • 2007. Ludmila Pöppel (et al.).

    The present study considers the diachronic changes that took place in Soviet political discourse as reflected in six selections of Pravda editorials from the 1920s through the 1950s, as well as slogans and headlines in that newspaper from 1917 through 1933.

    The principal goal of analyses conducted on various levels is to identify and investigate a number of tendencies demonstrating the gradual transformation of the language of revolution into totalitarian language.

    A quantitative analysis of the vocabulary of slogans and headlines in Chapter 2 focuses on chronological changes in words and addresses the contexts in which they were used. The same material is used in a review of the polarization of vocabulary in positive and negative contexts.

    Chapters 3-6 are devoted to a qualitative analysis of editorial texts on three levels: lexical rhetorical means (Chapter 3), semantically charged elements of argumentation (Chapter 4), and the overall composition of the text (Chapter 5). Chapter 6 concludes the study with an illustration of the devices considered in Chapters 3-5 based on two editorials, one each from the revolutionary and totalitarian periods.

    The analysis identifies a number of stable elements present throughout the period under study, such as the self – other opposition and references to the classics of Marxism-Leninism. At the same time, noted on all levels are changes illustrating the process by which the language of revolution was gradually transformed into totalitarian language. These include the disappearance from rhetoric of emotionality, imagery, and elements of logic, as well as stylistic leveling and an increase in the frequent repetition of the same conclusions and clichés.

Show all publications by Ludmila Pöppel at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 15, 2018

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