Derivational segmentability and motivation of Russian words in lexicographic representation

2023. № 1 (45), 202-215

Natalia B. Pimenova
National Research University Higher School of Economics
(Moscow, Russia)


The discussion about the principles of the Dictionary of Derivational Affixes of the
Russian Language by V. V. Lopatin, I. S. Ulukhanov put a spotlight on thе critical and
unsolved problems of Russian lexicography. When discussing and criticizing particular
decisions, it is important to have a clear understanding of the theoretical principles on
which the sharply opposite and contradictory interpretations of motivation, derivational
units and their semantics are based. The article reveals how debatable inconsistencies
and weaknesses of lexicographic representation are directly related to the basic concept
(“principle of sets” or “principle of pairing”) and the preference for certain criteria. At
the same time, many complex transitional cases (double motivation, changes affecting
morphemic boundaries) cannot be sufficiently taken into account in any approach currently
used. In case of incompatibility of approaches, the removal of strict dichotomies
and the necessary transparency can be ensured in the future only with the help of computer