To the problem of reliability of lexical data in Russian dialectal lexicography and etymology

2015. № 2 (30), 98-117

Alexandr E. Anikin, Institute of Philology, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences


The problem considered in the article is the following: in the Russian dialect dictionaries (first and foremost, the “Dictionary of Russian Dialects”, but also the dictionary of V. I. Dal’ and occasionally others) we sometimes find distortions of lexical data (due to errors in recording, typos, etc.) that lead to incorrect etymological and other solutions. For example, dial. otsúmivat’ ‘avert love’ has been explicated as a loan-word from Turkish süm ‘love’, when in reality we have to do with a distortion of otsúshivat’, an antonym of prisushít’ ‘make lovesick’, cf. sushít’. According to the article, the solution to the problem lies in allowing conjectures for dialectal words as one of the resources of Russian etymology. A special concern in this study is the «Dictionary of the Russian Dialects of Transbaikalia» by L.E. Eliasov. The article argues that it contains distorted lexical data such as son ‘sweet meat’ instead of expected sok ‘very tasty meat’.