Russian Language Journal


Olesya Kisselev


Russian language, interlanguage, foreign, learners, heritage


Word Order (WO) variability is an important feature of the Russian language. Appropriate use of WO patterns makes a Russian text meaningful and coherent and has larger implications for the grammaticality of sentences and the ability of the language user to interpret and convey the meaning of the utterance. In the words of the late Olga Kagan, “every learner and teacher of Russian would agree that acquisition of native-like WO is one of the most challenging hurdles on the path to the higher levels of language performance” (Kagan and Dillion 2004, 89). Despite this widely shared opinion, little is known about the development of WO variability in Russian interlanguage, both in the case of mainstream foreign learners (L2) of Russian and in the case of speakers of Russian as a heritage language (HL) (Laleko and Dubinina 2018).