The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



linguistic peculiarities that are characteristic of territorial dialects and are interspersed in literary speech. They stand out in the flow of literary speech as deviations from the standard. Distinctions are made among phonetic dialectisms, the unusual use of prepositions, word-formation dialectisms, and lexical dialectisms.

Phonetic dialectisms include the pronunciation of ts instead of ch, asindotska fordochka (diminutive, “daughter”) and nots’ for noch’ (“night”); ia instead of e, as in piatukh for petukh (“rooster”), riaka for reka (“river”), and siastra for sestra (“sister”); kh instead of g at the end of a word, as in snekh for sneg (“snow”), drukh for drug (“friend”), and vrakh for vrag (“enemy”); the grammatical ending t’ instead of t in third-person verb forms, as in idet’ for idet (“he [she, it] goes”), sidit’ for sidit (“he [she, it] sits”), and berut’ for berut (“they take”); and the endings inform e of the genitive case, as in u zhene for u zheny (literally “by [my] wife”) and ot sestre for ot sestry (“from [my] sister”). The unusual use of prepositions includes priekhal s Moskvy for priekhal iz Moskvy (“I [thou, he] came[-st] from Moscow”), po-za khlebom ushla for za khlebom ushla (“she went for bread”), and idi do khaty for idi k khate (“go home”). Word-formation dialectisms include sboch’ for sboku (“from the side”), chernitsa for chernika (“bilberry,” or “whortleberry”), and osoblivo for osobenno (“particularly”). Lexical dialectisms may be of several types: words designating objects and phenomena that are characteristic of the life-style and economy of a given locality and that have no parallels in the literary language, such as poneva (a type of skirt) and tues (a birchbark dish); synonyms that correspond to literary words, such as kochet for petukh (“rooster”) and diuzhe for ochen (“very”); and words having a meaning different from that in the literary language, such as khudoi (literally “thin”) for plokhoi (“bad”) and pogoda (literally “weather”) for nenast’e (“inclement weather”).

Dialectisms are used in the literary language as a means of stylization, of characterizing the speech of characters, and of creating local color. They may also be found in the speech of people who have not fully mastered the standards of the literary language.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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