Russian Language Journal


The Forms of Russian, morphology, Russian, school, linguistics


The Forms of Russian is a traditional approach to the fundamentals of Russian morphology based largely on the work of Jakobson, Levin, Lipson and Townsend. It is essentially the introductory course on Russian morphology that many, if not most, working North American Slavists took in graduate school. The work arises from such a course taught over many years by the author. The book is clearly intended for future teachers of Russian. The two main goals of the book are (1) to make working with and using Russian easier and (2) to explain how to establish a systematic description of Russian. As stated by the author, “the goal of the book is to improve your Russian, not to teach linguistics” (5). With these goals in mind—a basic description of the structures of Russian and an attempt to use this systematic approach to help students better understand the functioning of the language—the book is successful. The material is thoroughly covered, but the presentation does not get mired in excessive details and exceptions. The examples are largely presented with Cyrillic characters, which is important if the goals are not strictly linguistic but partially focused on learning to use Russian better. This allows future teachers of the language a way to use the original forms of the language in explanations to students without complicating the process with transcription. The only real exception to this is that phonological transcriptions are given with Latin characters using a comma under consonants to indicate palatalization (8). It might have been more consistent to use Cyrillic characters here as well.