The use of jako recitativum in Russian chronicles of the eleventh-sixteenth centuries

2016. № 2 (32), 143-174

Ekaterina A. Vlasova, National Research University Higher School of Economics


This paper describes historical changes in the pattern and semantics of the syntactic structure with jako recitativum, i.e., direct speech introduced by the particle jako ‘that, how’. This construction occurs widely in Russian chronicles of the eleventh through sixteenth centuries. In some chronicles jako recitativum is used as a semantically neutral model of the reported speech, while in other chronicles it expresses the narrator’s distancing himself from the content of the reported utterance as well as epistemic modality in situations related to gossip or deceit. It is shown that the modal use of jako recitativum is a result of functional distribution between two patterns of reported speech such as jako recitativum and indirect speech formed on the basis of a subordinate clause.