• The Concept of ‘Basis of Articulation’ in Russia in the First Half of the 20th Century  (draft text  is also available at Galina Kedrova’s  personal page).
    Kedrova, G. E., & Borissoff, C. L. (2013). Historiographia Linguistica, 40(1-2), 151 – 197. Abstract.  Cite      This article traces the development of the concept of the ‘basis of articulation’ in Russia of the first half of the 20th century, analysing in detail the major works in this area of research. In Russia this concept took a specific course of development. From the beginning it has been mainly conceived as a ‘summation of features’, distinguishing phonetic systems of different languages, however, Russian linguists tended to view it in a wider general-phonemic framework.  While in the West the interest to this concept generally subsided, in Russian linguistics it was always present and remained viable and attractive particularly in the fields of the teaching of phonetics, dialectology, and language typology.
  • Basis of Articulation or Articulatory Setting? – Article, Speak Out!, No.46, 2012; Citation: BibTeX  Harvard. Basis of Articulation (BA) and Articulatory Setting (AS) have been used for decades as synonyms but they represent two distinct, although closely related, ideas that are not interchangeable. The paper gives an assessment of the application of the BA and AS concepts in pronunciation teaching and shows some implications and advantages of differentiating them within the proposed framework.
  • Basis of Articulation and Articulatory Setting in pronunciation teaching  – MA Dissertation, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2011.  This dissertation investigates the notion of the basis of articulation (basis of articulation) in relation to the widely used concept of articulatory setting (articulatory setting) with specific focus on English and Russian as examples. After a detailed survey of the original sources and contemporary literature it is concluded that the basis of articulation and articulatory setting represent two distinct although closely related ideas that are not fungible. The term ‘basis of articulation’ was originally conceived as a language specific posture of the tongue continuously held in speech-ready and inter-utterance positions. Based on modern research, this posture is associated with a language specific centre of mass of the tongue maintained during speech which affects all aspects of speech production such as vowel quality, place of articulation etc. Such gross position generally corresponds to the articulatory targets of language specific ‘neutral’ vowels and hesitation vowels. Speech production is viewed as a heterogeneous Complex System with multiple ‘nested’ subsystems. The commonly used articulatory setting is taken as such subsystem in which the basis of articulation plays the role of a causative agent and a stabilising centre. The final part the paper gives an assessment of the history of application of the basis of articulation and articulatory setting concepts in pronunciation teaching and shows some implications and advantages of their differentiation within the proposed framework.  Citation:  BibTeX  Harvard
  • Antun Mihanović and his contribution to Slavonic-Sanskrit comparative studies – Acticle, FILOLOGIJA 64, Zagreb 2015. This paper analyses in detail a little-known article by Antun Mihanović highlighting his role as one of the pioneers of Slavonic comparative studies. Although the article was written under the influence of the German romantic nationalism, the ideological pointedness should not overshadow its significance as a remarkable, for the time, piece of comparative linguistic research. url link
  • Sažetak U radu se analizira slabo poznati članak Antuna Mihanovića Zusammenstellung von 200 Laut- und Sinnvervandten Wörtern des Sanskrites und Slawischen iz 1823. godine, pri čemu se Mihanović prikazuje jednim od utemeljitelja poredbene slavistike. Mihanovićev članak sastoji se od dvaju dijelova. U prvom, uvodnom dijelu Mihanović donosi iscrpan popis svojih vrela i objašnjava svoje ciljeve. On kani dokazati da »slavenski jezik« pripada istoj jezičnoj porodici zajedno sa sanskrtom, ne manje nego što joj pripadaju grčki, latinski i njemački jezik. Drugi dio članka obuhvaća popis od točno dvjesto natuknica s rije­čima iz sanskrta i sličnozvučnih riječi slavenskih jezika. Iako se Mihanović povodi za površnom sličnošću riječi i njihovih značenja — jer pravila o zvučnim korelacijama indoeuropskih jezika tada nisu bila poznata — on pokušava uspostaviti osnovne zvučne korelacije između sanskrta i slavenskih jezika. Unatoč mnogim po­grješkama, naknadna istraživanja pokazuju da je gotovo polovica (98 riječi) Mihanovićevih korelacija izrađena od dobro utvrđeno srodnih lekse­ma, što je izuzetan uspjeh za Mihanovićevo vrijeme. Iako je svoj članak napisao pod utjecajem strujanja njemačkoga romantizma, ideološka usmjerenost ne zasjenjuje značenje članka kao izuzetnoga priloga komparativnomu lingvističkomu istraživanju Mihanovićeva vremena.
  • Опыт создания словаря общих и родственных слов русского и санскрита (An attempt of creation of a Russian-Sanskrit dictioinary of common words)
    The report sets out the background to the making of a Russian-Sanskrit Comparative dictionary and the main technical aspects of the project (С. L. Borissoff). The final part of the report highlights the significance of this work in addressing some important issues related to the ethnogenesis of the Slavs raised by O. N. Trubachev: the time and place of formation of Proto-Slavonic dialects, the relationship between Slavonic and Baltic languages, the issue of the Iranian influence and the possibility of IndoAryan-Slavonic contacts (A. K. Shaposhnikov).
    Keywords: lexicography, comparative dictionary, Russian, Sanskrit, Indo-European.

Русско-санскритские этимологические этюды

The article reports some results, interesting for the Russian etymology, of the recent lexicographical project of C.L. Borissoff and A.C. Shaposhnikov [Russian-Sanskrit Dictionary of Common and Cognate Words], implemented in 2015–2016. In the process of compiling this dictionary, the co-authors found many new instances of Sanskrit-Russian isoglosses, which were in disregard by comparativists of the past. Some common word formation and derivation models were revealed. Etymologies for some Russian and Sanskrit words are updated or revised. In some cases it was possible to reconstruct the semantic history of words, to outline the primary meanings and to trace the evolution of semantics. These etymological sketches cover a part of Common Slavonic vocabulary from P to Ž.


  • Non-Iranian origin of the Eastern-Slavonic god Xŭrsŭ/Xors – Article, STUDIA MYTHOLOGICA SLAVICA, vol. XVII, 2014, pp. pp.9-36. The paper examines the traditional explanation of the Eastern-Slavonic deity Xors as an Iranian loan from the Persian xwaršēδ/xoršid ‘sun’ and advances an alternative etymology via the Indo-Aryan root hṛṣ-, Indo-European *g̑hers- and its cognates in other Indo-European languages. Based on the linguistic and mythological comparative analysis Xors is interpreted not as an abstract ‘solar god’ but as a ‘sun fertility hero’ viewed as the development of the ancient archetype of the ‘dying and resurrecting god’ comparable in role to Dionysus. The paper closes with a brief outline of some new venues for research following out of the proposed reinterpretation of Xors.

Unpublished drafts, work in progress and selected student essays

  • Russian-Sanskrit Dictionary of Common and Cognate Words – unpublished working draft. This dictionary has been conceived as a practical reference book with the objective of providing factual material for researchers in the field of the Indo-European linguistics or anyone interested in etymology, semantics and the origin of the Indo-European, particularly, Slavonic languages.
  • Language Universals: Myth or reality? – Student essay. In this essay I shall try to analyse the reasons for such remarkable interest to Language Universals today and attempt to present the major views on this argument.