Russian Language Journal


Olga Steriopolo


suffix, Russian, attitude, size, grammar


In this paper, I conduct a detailed case study of expressive suffixes in Russian. Although the suffixes under investigation have the same function (expressive), they differ significantly in their formal properties. I identify two major semantic types of expressive suffixes: attitude suffixes, which convey the speaker’s attitude toward the referent, and size suffixes, which both convey the speaker’s attitude and refer to the size of the referent. I argue that the two different semantic types map onto different syntactic types. Attitude suffixes are syntactic heads, while size suffixes are syntactic modifiers. As heads, attitude suffixes determine the formal properties (syntactic category, grammatical gender, and inflectional class) of the derived form. As modifiers, size suffixes do not determine the formal properties of the derived form. Attitude suffixes can merge with both categoryfree √Roots and with categories (n/a/v), while size suffixes can only merge with a noun category (n).