The Department of Comparative Linguistics
The Section of Comparative Linguistics was created in 1975 as the Comparative and Areal Linguistics Curriculum Committee. The section was established by one of the leading diachronic linguists of the time, Enver Makaev PhD, Dr.habil. and a well-known turkologist Ninel Gadzhieva PhD, Dr.habil., who was the head of the section until her death in 1991. The Curriculum Committee initially consisted of five members: Ninel Gadzhieva, Vladimir Neroznak, Galina Andreeva, Anatoly Solntsev, and Jakov Testelets.
In August 1986 the Laboratory of Comparative Linguistics was established on the basis of the Curriculum Committee and the Group of Comparative and Genetic Study of Languages from Different Families. Vladimir Zhuravlev, Anna Zalizniak, Mukhadin Kumakhov, Vladimir Neroznak, Anatoly Solntsev, Jakov Testelets, Anatoly Judakin worked at the Laboratory. For a long time Sergey Romashko, Natalia Fedoseeva, Natalia Bokadorova were among the researchers in this laboratory as well.
I research area – "Comparative-historical Study of Languages from Different Families. Historical Research." offered a summary of Russian and international comparativistics' experience, an extension to the theory and method of comparative-genetic studies, a study of theoretical issues of language development. It also involved constructing a general theory of linguistic evolution and devising the principle of constructing historical grammars.
II research area – "Historical-typological Study of Languages from Different Families. Synchronic and Diachronic Typology." The laboratory purported to devise general principles of historical-typological research. Their other tasks included typological comparison of particular language groups and the study of particular linguistic phenomena from the standpoint of typology.
III research area – "Problems in Contrastive Linguistics."
IV research area – "Studying the Language of Folklore." The study of the language of folklore helps in historical and historical-genetic studies of languages, especially those lacking a long-standing written tradition. Particularly, this concerns numerous languages of Western Caucasus that Mukhadin Kumakhov used to deal with.
In the early 90's the laboratory was renamed and became the Department of Comparative Linguistics. From 1991 to 2005 the Department of Typology and Comparative Linguistics was headed by a leading specialist in Caucasian languages, a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Mukhadin Kumakhov, PhD. Dr.habil.
The laboratory dealt with comparative-historical, typological and areal studies of languages of different families, as well as with contrastive linguistics. The laboratory's research fell into several research areas and produced a series of collective and individual monographs.
In 2011 the General Comparativistics Section was detached from the Departments as a separate unit (the Comparativistics Section).
Scientists that had worked for the section
Vladimir Zhuravlev, Leading Researcher, PhD, Dr.habil. One of the leading linguists of the second half of the 20th century. Specialist in phonology and comparative linguistics, history of Slavic languages, history of linguistics, sociolinguistics and linguodidactics. A corresponding member of the International Slavic Academy, an international member of the Bulgarian Literary Society. Leading researcher at the Institure of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. During the Great Patriotic War he studied the languages and dialects of the territories that his military unit went through. Alumnus of the Faculty of Philology at Moscow State University (1952). In 1957 he wrote a PhD thesis "The Dialect of Krinichnoe Village", in 1959 — his Habilitation "Genesis of Group Synharmonism in Common Slavic". Zhuravlev formulated the group-phonemes hypothesis, which made it possible to reconstruct the history of the phonological system of Common Slavic. He also worked with the central conceptual problems of diachronic linguistics. During different periods of his career he was a member of different committees (on phonology, Slavic sociolinguistics, Western and Eastern European history). He also was a member of the expert council on extended education at the Russian Ministry of Education, councils on the Russian language and educational development at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Zhuravlev organised and participated in numerous international conferences and associations, he was one of the founders of the International Foundation for Slavic Literature and Culture. He wrote ca. 500 scientific papers issued in Russian, Ukranian, Belorussian, Serbian, Lithuanian, Polish, German, English, French and Japanese.
Anatoly Yudakin, acting Chief Researcher, PhD, Dr.habil. Alumnus of the Department of Romance and Classical Studies at Moscow State University (1971), obtained his first PhD in 1974 and his second PhD in 1998. The author of "Development of the Sentence Linked to Developments in Cognition", "The System of Finno-Ugric Cases Compared to Manchu-Tungus Cases". Author and editor of an encyclopaedia on the world's leading linguists.
Ivan Gerasimov (1979-2005), Junior Researcher. In 2005 he became a researcher at the General Comparativistics Section. Alumnus of the Division of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Moscow State University. His major sphere of interest was Vedic and Indo-European phonology. Gerasimov defended his PhD thesis "Problems of Laryngeal Reflexes in Vedic Sanscrit" shortly before his tragic death in a car crash in 2005. It was published posthumously in 2009.
Maria Dzheroyan, Junior Researcher. Researcher at the General Comparativistics Section from 2006 to 2007. Alumnus of the Department of Classical Studies at St. Tikhon Orthodox Humanitarian University (2005). The topic of her diploma thesis was "Development of Common Indo-European Diphthongs in Ancient Greek, Latin and Slavic Languages". At the time Dzheroyan is researching Indo-European comparative phonetics.
Vladimir Neroznak, Chief Researcher, PhD, Dr.habil. Alumnus of the Albanian Department at Pushkin Leningrad State University. Neroznak obtained his PhD in 1970, his Habilitation in 1978. The author of "Paleo-Balkan Languages" (1978), "Names of Towns in Ancient Rus" (1983). He took various leading administrative positions (Academic Secretary, Deputy Academic Secretary of the Literature and Language Department of the Academy of Sciences, Director of the Russian Peoples' Languages Institute ). From 1988 to 1992 he was a board member of the Soviet (Russian) Culture Fund, chairman of the Toponymics Council. Neroznak played an important role in restoring historical street names in Moscow and other Russian cities. He gathered fundamental evidence on relict Balkan languages – Thracian, Phrygian, Macedonian, Illyrian.
Former research topics
- "Basics of the General Theory of Linguistic Change" (Konstantin Krasukhin, 2002–2005);
- "Comparative Grammar and Historical Linguistics: the Experience of Synthesis" (Konstantin Krasukhin, 2006–2009);
- "The Middle Persian Database" (Igor Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky, 2005–2008).
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