Works at the Institute of Linguistics since 1981.
Yakov Testelets is a Russian linguist, a specialist in typology and theories of syntax, a Caucasian languages scholar. PhD, Leading Researcher at the Institute of Linguistics, Professor at the Center of Linguistic Typology at the Institute of Linguistics of Russian State University for the Humanities.
Yakov Testelets was born in Moscow on September 12th, 1958.
In 1980, Yakov Testelets graduated from the Division of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the Faculty of Philology of Lomonosov State University of Moscow. He is a regular member of linguistic expeditions to Dagestan organized by MSU. During the expeditions, he works with Bezhta and Budukh languages. Yakov Testelets wrote a thesis "Nekotorye voprosy tipologii sistem prostranstvennogo sklonenija v dagestanskix jazykax" [Several questions of typological systems of declension in the languages of Dagestan] under the academic supervision of Alexander Kibrik.
Yakov Testelets defended his PhD thesis "Èrgativnaja konstrukcija i èrgativoobraznoe postroenie" [Ergative alignment and syntactic ergativity] in 1986.
Since 1998, Yakov Testelets teaches courses on modern theories of syntax and typology of simple sentences at the Russian State University for the Humanities. The materials used in these courses provided a basis for a textbook "Introduction to general syntax" published in 2001. Parallel to teaching, Yakov Testelets organizes field research for the Institute of Linguistics of RSUH.
In 2003, Yakov Testelets defended his Dr.habil. thesis "Grammatičeskie ierarxii i tipologija predloženija" [Grammatical hierarchy and the typology of a sentence] at the Institute of Linguistics of RSUH.
Yakov Testelets's major research interests include general syntax, morphological and syntactic typology; Kartvelian, Nakh-Dagestanian, Abkhazo-Adyghean, and Australian languages.
Yakov Testelets is one of the authors of the grammatical description of the Bezhta language (Tlyadal dialect) and syntax description of the Tsakhur language (Mishlesh dialect). He also worked on reconstructing Proto-Tsez and Proto-Kartvelian vocalisms, as well as the system of vowel combinations and sibilants of Proto-Kartvelian. Yakov Testelets studied the issues of word order and structure of noun phrases on the materials of Kartvelian and Dagestanian languages, the typology of ergative alignments of Kartvelian, Nakh-Dagestanian, Indo-Iranian, and Australian languages; described the paradigms of Dagestanian focus constructions.
Within the framework of the Institute for Bible Translation activities, Yakov Testelets translates Biblical texts into modern languages including Caucasian, writes for the "Alpha and Omega" journal where he publishes linguistic and theological commentaries on contemporary works in the field of Biblical Studies.
- Vvedenie v občšij sintaksis [Introduction to general syntax]. Moscow: RGGU, 2001. — 798 s. ISBN 5-7281-0343-X
- Tipologija i teorija jazyka: ot opisanija k ob’‘jasneniju: K 60-letiju A. E. Kibrika [Typology and language theory: from description to explanation. For Alexander Kibrik's 60th anniversary]. / Ed. by E. V. Raxilina, Ja. G. Testelec. Moscow: Jazyki russkoj kul’tury, 1999. — 640 s.
- Èlementy caxurskogo jazyka v tipologičeskom osvečšenii [Elements of the Tsakhur language in typological perspective]. / Ed. by A. E. Kibrik, Ja. G. Testelec. Moscow: Nasledie, 1999. — 943 s.
- Jazyki mira: Kavkazskie jazyki [Languages of the world: Caucasian languages]. / Ed. by M. E. Alekseev, G. A. Klimov, S. A. Starostin, Ja. G. Testelec. Moscow: Academia, 2001. — 480 s.
- Klimov G. A., Xalilov M. Š. Slovar’ kavkazskix jazykov. Sopostavlenie osnovnoj leksiki [Dictionary of Caucasian languages. Comparison of basic vocabularies]. / Ed. by Ja. G. Testelec. M.: Vostočnaja literatura, 2003. — 512 s.