Is Fish “Who” or “What”?

Jun 22, 2015 by

I was asked today whether ryba ‘fish’ in Russian is a “who” or a “what”. Fascinating question, as it turns out! “Who or what?” is a question of animacy, a feature that is both semantic and grammatical (morphological) in Russian. From...

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Is Saint Petersburg a Primate City?—And the Demographic “Tale of Two C...

Jun 13, 2015 by

In the previous two posts (see here and here), I have discussed the concept of “primate city” and particularly how it applies to Russia, where two of the country’s largest cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, are traditionally...

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The Tale of Two Cities—and the Journey between Them

Jun 12, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in November 2013] My previous post considered Moscow and Saint Petersburg to be Russia’s twin primate cities. The special role of these two cities is further highlighted by a consideration of the...

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Medvedev Could Care Less About Japan’s Reaction to His Visit to Kuril ...

May 14, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in July 2012] As discussed in my earlier news post, tensions remain high between Russia and Japan over the legal status of the four Southern Kuril islands: Etorofu (Iturup), Kunashiri (Kunashir),...

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Japan to Seek Only Two Russian-held Kuril Islands

May 14, 2015 by

[This post was originally published in May 2012] The Japanese government offers to negotiate the return of two rather than all four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, in hopes that the proposed compromise might finally lead to a...

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Ukraine’s Ethnolinguistic Landscape—and Changing Attitudes towards Rus...

Apr 22, 2015 by

On April 20, 2015, I gave a lecture on the ethnolinguistic aspects of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The slides from the lecture can be seen here (they will remain available through the end of May only): PJCC_Ukraine After...

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