Questions of Synonymy and Antonymy in the Even Language

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Stepanida N. Savvinova Researcher, Institute of Humanitarian Studies and North Indigenous Studies, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy Of Sciences, Russia

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Iya I. Sadovnikova Junior Researcher, Institute of Humanitarian Studies and North Indigenous Studies, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy Of Sciences, Russia

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Elena V. Nesterova Researcher, Institute Of Humanitarian Studies and Indigenous Studies of the North, SB RAS, Russia

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Abstract

The aim of this research is to identify and describe synonyms and antonyms in Even, aspects of the language that have been previously unexplored. This work aims to illustrate the semantic development of word synonymy in the Even language, covering individual words, morphological categories, and semantic divisions. Previously, only a few articles and superficial investigations in a number of textbooks have been dedicated to this topic. Various methodologies are used in this study, including traditional linguistic methods (language description through observation) and comparative and statistical research methods. Research into synonyms and antonyms in Even can provide valuable material for understanding the lexical-semantic and structural development of the language. Furthermore, this study can contribute to a wider investigation into the development of the stylistic resources of this language.

Evens live in local groups in six regions of the Russian Federation: the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); the Magadan area; the Chukchi and Koryak autonomous regions; the Kamchatka area; and in the Okhotskii region of Khabarovsk territory. According to the Census of 2010, the number of Evens was 21,830 people. Their language is Even. According to the classification of languages of the world, the Even language belongs to the Tungus-Manchurian group, which has two subgroups: the northern (Tungus) and the southern (Manchurian). The Even language is also among the world's disappearing languages. According to the Census of 2010 in Yakutia, more than 15,000 Evens live in the Republic of Sakha, and among them only 15 per cent of the population speak their native language. Linguist Sardana Sharina writes, “Due to the economic/cultural circumstances of certain groups of Evens, the language situation remains more or less favorable in four settlements of Even compact residence: in the villages Berezovka of Srednekolymskii ulus, Sebian-Kiuell of Kobiaiskii ulus, Topolinoe of Tomponskii ulus, and Andriushkino of Nizhnekolymskii ulus” (Sharina 2015: 96). Loss of the native language is one of the most acute problems facing the Even people. Reasons for language loss include the dispersed nature of population movements of the Even people, strong dialect dissociation, and a transition to the Russian and Sakha languages (Robbek: 2000: 5–7).

The dialectal organization of the Even language is complex. There are three large dialect groups: Western, Central, and Eastern. Previous research has distinguished about twenty accents and dialects (Novikova [1960] 1980: 11).

The problem of semantic description of vocabulary is one of the most important tasks of linguistics. Both synonymy and antonymy are found in all groups of words and exist at all levels of language. In modern linguistics the definition of “synonyms” is as follows: “Synonyms are words identical in their meaning, expressing the same concepts, but differing in sound composition. Synonyms play an important role in speech. They diversify it, make the speech more figurative and expressive, providing an opportunity to express nuances of thought” (Burykin 2001: 36–37) (Novikova, K. A., N. I. Gladkova, and V. A. Robbek. 1991: 36–37). According to the Linguistic Encyclopedic Dictionary, “synonyms are words of the same part of speech which have completely or partially identical meanings” (Iartseva 1990: 24). According to R.A. Budagov, “Synonyms are words close in meaning, but different-sounding, expressing shades of the same concept” (1967: 58).

Synonyms are essential in the formation of language, as they reflect changes in social life and the surrounding reality. Thus, synonyms appear in the language following contact with other peoples, as a result of which borrowed words, close or identical in meaning with Even (cf. e.g.: Even gurge “work” from Sakha ule; gurgevchidei “to work” from uleledei, etc.), penetrate into the language. The sources of synonyms are archaisms, neologisms, euphemisms, dialectisms, figurative vocabulary, and so forth, reflecting historical and cultural changes in the life of the Even people. Continually undergoing change and development, synonyms are an indicator of language development, exemplifying the result of changes in its lexical composition.

In Even linguistics, the problems of synonymy have rarely been the subject of special in-depth study. To date, there is only A. A. Burykin's (2001b) Short dictionary of synonyms of the Even language, and recent articles by Nesterova (2021a; 2021b), Savvinova (2021a; 2021b), and Sadovnikova (2021a; 2021b; 2021c; 2021d; 2021e; 2021f). Additionally, there are no studies on antonymy in Even linguistics (but see Savvinova 2021a). The authors aim to address this gap by identifying synonyms and antonyms in the Even language, examining the processes of forming synonymic and antonymic series, and investigating the distribution of synonyms by parts of speech.

The materials used in this research were lexical and folklore materials collected from fieldwork, various studies on the dialects of Even, previously published dictionaries from the seventeenth century to the present, and works of fiction in the Even language. A number of descriptive linguistic methods are applied, including linguistic observation, systematization and classification of patterns, and comparative and statistical research tools.

Literature Review

Interest in the study of synonyms has not waned throughout the history of linguistics. The study of synonymy and synonymic relations between dictionary units attracted the attention of many Russian linguists dealing with the problems of semasiology: V. A. Grechko (1987), A. D. Grigor'ev (1959), A. A. Bragina (1986), M. F. Palevskaia (1964), and A. P. Evgen'eva (1970). Problems of synonymy and antonymy have also been an object of research among foreign linguists. In Roy Harris's and Howard Jackson's works on synonymy, the following criteria are identified as a basis for the association of synonyms: 1) a generality or identity of values (Harris 1973: 11); 2) an opportunity of functional replacement (Jackson 1988: 66). In the works of John Lions, synonymous expressions adhere to three conditions: 1) all values are identical; 2) expressions in a context are synonymous; 3) they are identical semantically (Lions 2004: 77).

Generalizing from theories of synonymy in Russian and foreign linguistics, sources agree that words which are capable of replacing each other in any context can be referred to as synonyms. It is necessary to note that synonyms are invariably considered one of the means of expressiveness in a language.

Despite its importance, synonymy in Even has not yet acquired adequate scientific coverage. The issues of synonymy have been considered only in a few articles, as well as, very superficially, in a number of textbooks and manuals on the native language (Nesterova 2021b). The material we have collected and described in terms of content and design is used in the dictionary of synonyms that the authors are currently compiling. A dictionary of synonyms can be used in further linguistic research, as well as in scholarly and extracurricular work on the Even language in schools.

Antonyms as a complex category of lexicology has been developed in modern linguistics both theoretically and practically in sufficient detail. And yet, in modern linguistics, researchers acknowledge that there is no unified view of the phenomenon of antonyms itself. The definitions given by Shansky (1972) and Kostomarov and Maksimov (2003) are fundamental for us.

Synonymy

In modern linguistics, the most common definition of synonyms is the following: “Synonyms often refer to words with close, but not identical, meanings … as a rule, synonyms share a semantic core but have various intersections in their meanings” (Budagov 1967: 230). The correct use of words in speech that are close in meaning requires knowledge of the semantic shades and stylistic properties in order to implement them. A. A. Bragina also states the basis of synonymy to be the proximity of meanings expressing one concept in an integral set of their features (Bragina 1986: 8). Researchers who consider interchangeability as the most important criterion for the selection of synonyms disagree on its nature. Lexical synonyms as a part of more general semantic sets of words are considered in the works of researchers like Berezhan (1967), Shchur (1974), and others.

According to Y. D. Apresian, “Word units may be recognized as interchangeable and, therefore, synonymous only when, in the coinciding meaning, they are used in at least one common construction and have partially coincident combinability” (Apresian 1957: 87). Evgen'eva notes: “Only those words that are related to each other in their use and meaning should be recognized as synonyms” (Evgen'eva 1970: 10).

Based on the aforementioned research, we can conclude that these two features—semantic proximity and interchangeability—are the main criteria for determining the synonymity of words.

Revealing the sources of synonymy is an important task, as it contributes to the full disclosure of synonymic relations in the lexical system of the Even language. This study shows that the formation of synonymy in Even was facilitated by linguistic contacts with other peoples, in particular, with the Sakha and Russian peoples.

Many of the synonyms arose from borrowed words. It is known that the lexical composition of the Even language has a significant number of borrowings from the Russian language, for example: mukəchibiravna borrowed from brevno “log;” alikbedro borrowed from vedro “bucket;” usiberjovə borrowed from verevka “rope;” hulanja məŋəncholuta borrowed from zoloto “gold;” kolnakispir from spirt “alcohol;” duruldivunispiskə from spichka “match;” köechildivun ∼ turbə from podzornaia truba “spyglass;” husaldivunnosmincha from nozhnitsy “scissors;” təkənbachiba from spasibo “thank you;” daramachpustoich from popustu “for nothing” or ponaprasnu “in vain;” nuranpule from pulia “bullet.”

Additionally, there are many borrowings from Sakha into Even. The vocabulary of the Even language was enriched with Sakha lexical borrowings in all semantic domains. For example: njanin ∼ kallan “sky, clear day” < Sak.1 hallaan “sky, heavenly;” niŋuakari 1. 1) Sk. “stupid;” 2) Arm. “insane;”; 2. 1) “fool;” 2) “folktale hero;” bəild'on Lam., Sk., M. < Sak. d'on “people;” e:dən Sk. “trouble” < Sak. iədəən 1) “disturbance, anxiety;” 2) “misfortune, trouble.”

Russian and Sakha borrowings, often dedicated to certain conversational contexts, acquire various stylistic meanings. When borrowings are used in colloquial speech, they usually undergo phonetic and morphological adaptation. For example: Hagdi bej gönni: “Tar urekchen chidalan egden birakchan bidin, tarak birakchan cholutamnan bivetten.” (“The old man said: ‘There's a big brook over that mountain, this brook is full of gold.’”) Ilan aknil tegechidde: ŋi emren?—aknilni ulgimir.—Akary Pacha emren,—hergeten gönni. (“Three brothers were sitting there: ‘Who's here?’ the brothers asked. ‘Stupid Pacha has come,’ says the youngest brother.”)

Archaisms

The semantics of Even synonymic lexemes is the result of historical development; in the process of the formation of lexical synonymy, there undoubtedly were certain losses and innovations, for example: kətər (arch.) ∼ əgdemkər “huge, large;” unidek (arch.) ∼ harachak “trade, shop;” töli (arch.) ∼ miltərə “filled to the brim;” chakar (arch.) ∼ haŋar “orifice,” onsichan (arch.) ∼ irröchin “which (one).”

In general, it should be noted that archaic loanwords in the Even language are rare, but there are some examples of archaic borrowings from the Russian language: tarchinait əgdeŋətən, borrowed from starshina “petty officer;” chvechinejkə borrowed from svecha “candle.”

Dialect Words

A subgroup of structurally related synonyms with weak interchangeability includes dialectal synonyms. The behavior of dialects is variable, and words from multiple sources enter speech first as doublets, which then develop synonymous meanings (or one word disappears entirely). Dialects are usually known to persist in languages that are spread over a larger territory; their emergence is linked to greater or lesser isolation from each other. Depending on the degree of contact between their speakers, dialects can diverge or converge to a great or lesser degree. Because of this variation, the system of dialects in each language has a number of peculiarities.

Despite the differences that make communication difficult, any Even language dialect is mostly understandable to speakers of any other dialect. Consequently, these differences do not preclude the existence of a common phonetic and grammatical system from the Even language, as well as a common shared vocabulary. The literary Even language, created in the thirties on the basis of the Olskii dialect of the Eastern dialect (Dutkin 1995: 6), is supposed to serve as a unified means of communication between the speakers of different dialects and varieties.

The synonymization of dialect tokens occurs as a result of the gradual process of dialect words penetrating into the literary language. The literary Even language is now the language of education, literature, mass media (newspapers), translated fiction, and traditional folklore that has been written down (and reworked) for publication. The Even language is taught as a foreign language in preschools, elementary schools, and high schools, where instruction is in the written literary language. That is, the Even language serves as the subject of teaching and is not the language of training, even in preschools.

The Even language is studied as its own subject in elementary schools in all regions of compact residence of Evens, and in these areas it is an obligatory subject in high school up to the eleventh grade. In the Bilibinskii District of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, it is an optional course until the ninth grade; this is also true in the Bystrinskii District of the Kamchatka region, in the Severo-Evenskii District of the Magadan region, and in a number of areas of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The Even language is taught in a number of post-secondary educational institutions—the Anadyrskii pedagogical college, in the Yakutsk pedagogical college, in the college of the Cherskii settlement of Nizhnekolymskii District of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and also in higher educational institutions—in the M. K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, in the Northern International University (Magadan), in the Khabarovsk Pedagogical Institute, and in the A. I. Gertsen Russian State Pedagogical University (in the Faculty of Peoples of Far North). During the period from 1926 until 1995, more than 70 textbooks on the Even language for the elementary school level were published. In 1991, a textbook on the Even language for pedagogical colleges was released. Manuals on the Even language for high school exist only for the fifth and sixth grades; for grades seven to nine, textbooks on Even literature have recently been prepared.

Fictional literature in the Even language has existed from the beginning of the 1930s. The works of N. S. Tarabukin, V. Sleptsov, P. Gromov, P. Tylkanov, and K. Babtsev date to this period.

There is also a body of poetry in the Even language, which can be found in the poetry collections of P. Lamutsky, V. D. Lebedev, V. S. Keimetinov-Bargachan, A. V. Krivoshapkin, D. V. Krivoshapkin, and V. Arkuk, and also in several collections of author's songs—the improvisations of E. N. Bokova. Original prose in the Even language is also available in the books of A. V. Krivoshapkin and E. N. Bokova.

In total, more than 120 books on the Even language have been published, representing both original literature in the Even language and translations of fairy tales for children. Examples of socio-political literature translated into the Even language are very few.

In the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), there is a unique newspaper publication, Ilken, which is printed in the languages of the minority peoples of the Republic. Each issue consists of four printed pages. Ilken is published with the purpose of illuminating the social, economic, and cultural development of the Arctic region, especially of its indigenous peoples.

Since 1990, newspapers in Chukotka publish a page in the Even language. Sporadically, there are pages in the Even language in the regional newspapers of various ulusy of Yakutia. In Bystrinskii District of the Kamchatka area, the newspaper Aidit publishes parallel texts in Russian and Even. Periodically, separate materials on the Even language are published as magazines, such as Ajvərəttə (“The Pink Seagull”) (Chukotka). The radio station “Gjavan” (Yakutsk) broadcasts in the Even language, and there are periodically separate special broadcasts in Even over Chukotkan radio and TV (in Anadyr’).

Since the literary language is dominant, there are instances of dialect words forming synonymic relations with literary words: amoldaj (West.) ∼ hukləməldəj “to want to sleep;” aba (West.) ∼ ama “father;” anda (West.) ∼ həchus “fatigue;” aŋtaku (West.) ∼ nuŋu “foolish;” ibgo (West.) ∼ aj “good;” ibgoltodaj (West.) ∼ ajŋurdaj “to improve, to correct;” karkidaj (West.) ∼ alattaj “to wait, to await;” komtorgon (West.) ∼ köŋkəvki “bug;” nokoһok (West.) ∼ tinimkun “scale;” omolgo (West.) ∼ hurkən “boy, lad;” and so on.

Euphemisms

One active source of synonymy in the Even language is euphemisms. In every language there are certain special, sacred, or secret topics and words that are forbidden in conversational speech. To replace such words, the speaker resorts to the help of euphemisms. Euphemisms are emotionally neutral words or expressions used instead of words or expressions that seem indecent, rude, or inauthentic to the speaker (Akhmanova 1966: 513). For example, instead of the verb kökədəj “to die,” the Evens use the verbs dərəmkədəj 1) “to rest, to take a rest;” 2) “to die” (figurative), achcha odaj “to cease to exist,” njutlədəj 1) “to go collect tree resin;” 2) “to die” (allegorically), nöltəntəki badusandaj “to wander towards the sun.”

In the Even language, the verb madaj 1) “to kill someone;” 2) “to catch a fish” is necessarily euphemized. Instead, hunters, fishermen, and reindeer breeders use synonymous euphemisms: aniv'jattaj 1) “to obtain prey;” 2) “to receive a gift,” formed from anidaj 1) “to give;” 2) “to reward;” baktaj 1) “to find, discover, reveal;” 2) “to unravel;” 3) “to find a solution;” urəvdəj “to kill (refl.), to give oneself over to death” (about an animal); borivdaj “to receive what is shared;” bövdjej “to receive what is given.”

A separate category is occupied by euphemisms denoting the names of various animals. For example, it was considered dangerous to mention hunted animals; the following euphemisms were used instead of their names: instead of nökəchən “elk,” the euphemism əgdetə was used (from əgden “big”), or nevchəlri (from negchəldəj “to darken”), as well as alŋagda “big-horned” (of an elk), alŋalatti “horned” (of an elk) from alŋa “elk horns,” and terms such as navdaka “elk” and toki “elk, moose.”

Other names of animals are also euphemized. Thus, njoŋchak “wolf” is replaced by the following euphemisms in Even: girkari, girkuchan “wolf” from girkadaj “to step, to walk;” burkuchan “wolf” from burkudaj “to sit;” ŋəluki, ŋələchin “wolf” from ŋəldəj “to be afraid, to experience fear;” dolbasak “wolf” from dolba “night;” mata “wolf” (in folklore); hevunki “wolf” from hevəndəj “to poke out, to go out, to climb out.”

The most common euphemized word in the Even language is nakat “bear.” The bear is a sacred animal for the Even. It was forbidden to talk about it, to speak about it loudly, or to mention its name unnecessarily. The word nakat was replaced by euphemisms ətəkə “bear” from ətə “grandpa, grandfather;” həŋun’ “bear” from həŋundəj “to be afraid, to experience superstitious fear;” abaga, abaŋa “bear” from abaga, abaŋa “grandpa;” achurkan, dərikən, kobalan, kəki, kjaga “bear” from kjaga “grandpa;” məməkə, məməchə, məmənde “bear” from məmə “scary, creepy” (interjection); nugdə, nugdəne “bear” from nugdəldəj “to darken;” umalaŋa, huchana, həvche, həvəje, hərmi, ətikən “bear” from ətikən “old man;” ətki “bear” from ətə “grandpa;” and others.

Euphemisms and taboo words in the Even language are legitimately considered lexical synonyms, as the principle of their use in speech is based on synonymy. In Even, euphemisms and taboo words have become widely used, surpassing the frequency of the word they replace, and have expanded the stylistic possibilities of the language.

Figurative Vocabulary

Figurative words of the Even language are used mainly in colloquial speech; these words are often emotionally colored. By using figurative words in one's speech, the speaker not only conveys a picture of an action or phenomenon, but also expresses his attitude to it. By their type, figurative words belong to the stylistic synonyms.

Figurative words of the Even language are characterized first of all by the peculiarity of their semantics. One word can convey the way of a certain action. For example, the lexeme köettəj, with the meaning “to gaze, to look,” is synonymous with the following words: kjariŋchidaj “to look straight ahead;” bəltərəŋchidəj “to stare, to gape;” kiltəŋchidəj “to look with one's eyes wide open.

Even also includes sound-imitating words among the figurative words. Sound mimicative words have wide derivational potential. A considerable number of synonyms of the verb irkadaj “to shout” have been formed with the help of sound-imitating words: avtidaj “shout” (about a fawn); əŋtidəj “shout” (about reindeer); gaktaj “shout” (about a sandpiper); kabevdaj “shout” (about a partridge); kaktaj “shout” (about a loon, a crow); kannjavdaj “shout” (about a gull); kunjadaj “shriek” (about a gull); okokodaj “shout” (about an owl).

Consequently, the study of the process of synonymy in Even indicates that the synonymic inventory of the Even language is enriched from the vocabulary, which includes borrowings from the Sakha and Russian languages. Such sources as archaisms, dialectisms, euphemisms, and figurative words are all involved in the process of synonymization, contributing to the expansion of the stylistic possibilities of the language.

Lexical and Grammatical Categories of Synonyms

The belonging of synonymic words to this or that part of speech should also be taken into account, as A. A. Reformatskii believes: “Words, which function as building blocks in the grammar, are first assigned to one or another part of a speech, which differ not only in their syntactic ability or inability to be used in certain combinations, but also in their morphological properties (both derivational and inflectional); general reference to one or another part of speech is determined by the grammatical meaning of the category, that is, the part of speech” (Reformatskii 1996: 110). On this basis, we may assert: a noun with a noun, an adjective with an adjective, an adverb with an adverb, and a verb with a verb may enter into synonymous relations, that is, the synonymity of words implies their correlation with the same part of speech, but words belonging to different parts of speech cannot enter into synonymous relations with each other. Words synonymous with the same part of speech are interpreted the same way, for example: honrin ∼ nabus “longing,” “boredom,” “an unpleasant feeling that happens when one has nothing to do or does not know what to do, when new impressions, ideas are missing;” hokaŋchidaj ∼ örəldəj ∼ örustəj ∼ əvəldəj “to be glad,” “to have a pleasant feeling;” inindəj ∼ haŋchidaj ∼ mjasamattaj “to laugh,” “to express joy;” njumarin ∼ hadarin ∼ haldjun “shame,” “the feeling of intense embarrassment of knowing that one has done something wrong or is guilty.

Thus, the main criteria for determining the synonymity of words as a special lexical phenomenon should be considered to be: 1) semantic proximity; 2) belonging to the same part of speech.

In Even, the following parts of speech were first studied by V. I. Tsintsius (1947), who in her work gives a detailed description of morphology: noun, adjective, verb, numerals, pronoun, adverb. She also includes significant discussion of gerunds, participle, postpositions, particles, and so forth. The followers of V. I. Tsintsius continued to study the doctrine of parts of speech in the Even language, such as K. A. Novikova et al. (1991), V. D. Lebedev (1978), V. A. Robbek (1989, 2007), H. I. Dutkin (1995), and others.

To determine the specifics of the synonymic system of the Even language, a comparison of a number of synonymic rows within the main parts of speech is provided. According to our findings, the majority of synonyms in the lexicon of the Even language are nouns, followed by verbs, and then by adjectives and adverbs. The revealed specificity of the distribution of the Even language synonyms can be explained by the fact that the noun occupies an important place in the morphological resources of this language, which is conditioned by its semantic properties. Examples of noun synonyms include: avukhigri “towel;” agin ∼ hivun ∼ kjalivun “sharpening stone;” boskichimət “glasses;” buldukamukalra “bump, hillock;” gabuŋa ∼ nəbuŋə “larch;” girasak ∼ najipan “sewing knife;” gitkujkit “blueberry;” kaltami ∼ həvəm “rain hut; glue made of fish bones;” kaŋdun ∼ chəŋgəj ∼ mukətlə “chunk;” humə ∼ tipkə “bag;” huməchin ∼ djajuchin “mystery; secret;” oŋkag ∼ chönnig “feeder;” ota ∼ bijalga ∼ buli “wave;” pəktərəvun ∼ nisaka ∼ nuŋa “gun;” tavachimŋa ∼ halkadamŋa “blacksmith.”

The verbs of the Even language have not been studied in terms of synonymic relationships, although the Even verb is rich in various verb synonyms, for example: gurgəvchidəj ∼ hoŋnadaj “to work;” hoŋdaj ∼ bogordaj “to cry;” inindəj ∼ haŋchidaj ∼ misamattaj “to laugh;” irkadaj ∼ njaradaj “to shout;” dodaj ∼ təgdəj “to sit down;” məluməchiddəj ∼ məklundəddəj “to jump, to hop;” olaldadaj ∼ ŋələldəj “to be frightened;” hətəkəndəj ∼ tusandaj∼ höttəj ∼ tuttəj “to run quickly, to rush;” abgaraldaj ∼ njakasandaj ∼ bəgdədəj “to get better, to recover;” hukləmdəj ∼ amoldaj “to want to sleep;” humkəndəj ∼ hivulchidaj “to whisper;” olbadaj ∼ amanradaj ∼ njadudaj “to be late;” optattaj ∼ alattaj “to wait;” tibalandaj ∼ köŋkədəj “to knock, to strike;” köchukərudəj ∼ tigumkəndəj “to reduce, to diminish;” ökəmdəj ∼ kukudəj “to ask to suckle (of babies);” ŋəriləvchidəj ∼ inəvchidəj “to wait for light.

Examples of adjective synonyms include: bərgə ∼ diram ∼ imsəlkən “fat, fatty;” höŋən (songs) ∼ əgden ∼ chələ “big, enormous;” naba ∼ gələvkə ∼ bulus “sad, sorrowful;” hulanja ∼ hutanja ∼ ŋuləne “red, scarlet;” nod ∼ abga∼ gudej “beautiful, glorious, good;” njobati ∼ giltanja “white;” hakarin ∼ jalranja “black, dark;” churunja ∼ əmər “sharp;” higrani ∼ gein “silent, quiet;” hətəkə ∼ hinma ∼ ajiŋ ∼ iba “quick, nimble;” kitiŋi ∼ koriŋi “wrinkly;” buŋnjuli ∼ bultunja “round, ball-shaped.”

Adverbial synonyms occupy a significant place in the lexicon of the Even language. This article analyzes only the most typical and productive adverbial synonyms, for example: huguski ∼ tavuski “inside out, on the contrary;” ələkən ∼ chəvje ∼ hoja ∼ miltərə “many, plenty, plentiful;” ərəgər ∼ gasimich “always, constantly;” gorla ∼ təgələ “far away;” əvsəch ∼ hoch “very.”

The appearance of synonyms occurs in different ways. In the examples cited, only nouns appear as synonyms. The distribution of synonyms in the Even language is due to the predominance of the noun over other parts of speech, due to its semantic properties and potential figurative and expressive possibilities. Functional words and interjections may also enter into synonymic relations. In Even, function words and interjections are few in number and more often act as complete synonyms.

Antonyms of Nouns

Antonymy as one of the most complex and interesting categories in the Even linguistics remains almost unstudied. This article will deal with the antonymic relations of the most significant part of speech in the Even language, namely nouns.

An analysis of antonym structure in the Even language reveals that they can be single-rooted and multi-rooted (Savvinova 2021b: 236). Antonyms with different roots or common language can be represented by different parts of speech. We will consider the peculiarities of multi-root antonymy using the example of nouns, as “representing the class of full-valued words, the noun most fully focuses the features of the word as a bilateral unit in its nominative and signifying functions and can offer much for studying the systemic organization of the vocabulary” (Morozova 1974: 4).

In the Even language, proper nouns and nouns with a specific meaning do not enter into antonymic relations, for example: du “dwelling, burrow, house;” maldyvun “weapon;” tevte “berry.” Alternatively, nouns with abstract meanings enter into antonymic relations: hilus “grief”—nes “happiness;” kusin “war”—ajmuldan “peace;” demkən “hunger”—djalun “fullness;” njaŋsa “dirt”—gelbəti “cleanliness;” kuŋarap “childhood”—hagdin “old age;” girkə “friend”—bulən “enemy;” hökchi “heat”—iŋən’ “cold;” ig “sound”—tivun “silence.”

Noun antonyms can be divided by their lexical meanings into:

  1. 1)The names of the phenomena of nature: hedəkən “sunrise”—tikənməj “sunset;” bot “hail”—udan “drizzle, fine rain;” hökchi “heat”—iŋən’ “cold;” bjag “moon”—nöltən “sun;” njanin “sky”—tör “earth;” dolbani “night’—badikar “morning;” dolbani dulakanni “midnight”—inəŋ dulakanni “noon;” ön “tide”—arbati “ebb;” gjavan “dawn”—tikənməj “sunset.” Hökchidu hoja oilkan, girsədu oji nukkottan, hjaltadu djullakkan’ billöttən (hjakita). “He who has many clothes in the heat, in the cool time takes off his clothes, in the frost remains naked (larch)” (Burykin 2001a: 131).
  2. 2)The states and characteristics of humans: hilus “grief”—nes “happiness;” demkən “hunger”—djalun “fullness;” girkə “friend”—bulən “enemy;” ban “laziness”—on “activity;” örəldən “joy”—mərgəchin “sorrow;” ininən “laughter”—hoŋan “cry;” ŋərgən “coward”—həŋ “brave one.”
  3. 3)Social phenomena and relations: kusin “war”—ajmuldan “peace;” kuŋarap “childhood”—hagdin “old age;” girkə “friend”—bulən “enemy;” öləkchin “deception”—ajdit “truth;” hötədek “rest”—gurgə “work;” dabdukan “victory”—dabdanmaj “defeat.”
  4. 4)Spatial relations: inməj “entrance”—nönməj “exit;” njanin “sky”—tör “earth;” hərgi “bottom”—öj “top;” iŋən'gidə “north”—njamgida “south.”
  5. 5)Temporal relations: dolba “day”—inəŋ “night;” Dör ətumŋə bisni: gja inəŋ ətuvəttən. Dolba əturi banadmar. Baldiri, göpkənsötkən ovattan (nöltən, atkikan). “There are two watchmen: one keeps watch during the day, the other keeps watch at night. The night guard is lazier. Being lazy, he pretends to hide (the sun, the moon)” (Burykin 2001 a: 118).

Thus, the analysis of antonyms—particularly nouns—shows that only abstract nouns with different lexical meanings enter into antonymic relations.

Conclusions

In this study, the authors have analyzed synonymy and antonymy in the Even language. Examples of synonyms and antonyms and their sources have been identified. The criterion for word synonymity in Even is the semantic proximity of words and belonging to the same part of speech. The analysis of synonyms shows that the sources of synonymy in Even are borrowed words, archaisms, dialectisms, euphemisms, and figurative vocabulary, which expands the stylistic possibilities of the language under study.

Determining the specificity of the synonymic system of the Even language depends on comparing the number of synonymic series within the main parts of speech. The study of synonyms in terms of their distribution by parts of speech shows that the greatest number of synonyms falls to nouns, followed by verbal synonymy and, in descending order, by adjectives and adverbs.

Analysis of the antonyms of nouns of the Even language shows that the antonyms of nouns occur only with nouns of abstract meaning. In terms of their lexical meanings, antonyms are divided into five groups: denoting phenomena of nature; states and characteristics of humans; social phenomena and relations; spatial relations; temporal relations.

The question of synonymy and antonymy in the Even language requires detailed study, so the development of dictionaries of synonyms and antonyms enables the still functioning but endangered lexical material to be fixed. Dictionaries will contribute to the development of the literary language and the terminology of the Even language, and will be a help not only for non-speakers, but also for those who want to learn their native language.

Note

1

The following abbreviations are used here: Sak. = Sakha language; Sk. = Sakyryrsky dialect of the Even language; Arm. = Arman dialect of the Even language; Lam. = Lamunkin dialect of the Even language; M. = Moma dialect of the Even language.

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Savvinova S. N. 2021b. “Zaimstvovannye sinonimy v evenskom iazyke.” [Borrowed synonyms in the Even language] Materials of the International Conference. Internationale Zeitschrift für zeitgenössische wissenschaft 6 (3): 3941.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021b. “Strukturno-semanticheskaia klassifikatsiia sinonimov meteorologicheskoi leksiki v evenskom iazyke.” [Structural-semantic classification of synonyms of meteorological lexicon in the Even language] The scientific heritage 64.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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Contributor Notes

Stepanida N. Savvinova (ORCID: 0000-0002-9026-1196) is a Candidate of Philology, and Researcher of the Sector of Northern Philology at the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS). She was born in the Kustur-Verkhoyanskii district of the IaASSR and graduated in 1978 from the R. I. Shadrin Sakkyryrskii secondary school. After graduating from the Kurgan State Pedagogical Institute in 1985, she worked as a teacher of Russian language and literature at the R. I. Shadrin Sakkyryrskii secondary school. After she moved to Yakutsk in 1997, she worked as a research laboratory assistant, then from 2003 as a junior researcher at the Institute of State Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and since 2013 she has been a researcher at the Institute of State Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2010 she successfully defended her PhD in the Dissertation Council of the A. I. Herzen Russian State Pedagogical University (St. Petersburg) on the topic “Yakutian borrowed vocabulary in the Even language.” She is the author of more than thirty scientific articles on the problems of folklore and lexicon of the Even language. E-mail: stepanidasavvinova@mail.ru.

Iya I. Sadovnikova (ORCID: 0000-0002-6406-4682) is a Candidate of Philology and a Junior Researcher of the Sector of Northern Philology at the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was born in the village of Berezovka, Srednekolymskii ulus. In 2001, after graduating from Yakutsk State University, she went to work in the Sector of Northern Philology at the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North of the SB RAS as a senior research laboratory assistant, and since 2008 as a junior researcher. She is the author of several scientific articles and co-author of teaching and methodological manuals on the Even language for nomadic schools. In 2010, in St. Petersburg, she successfully defended her thesis for the degree of candidate of philological sciences under the scientific supervision of V. A. Robbek. In 2008, she interned in Leipzig, Germany, at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and she supervised the scientific staff of the Max Plank Institute during their stay in Yakutsk. She has participated in several research projects, including the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundations (RHSF)-funded project “Peoples of Northern Yakutia: Dialogue of Cultures in Conditions of Changing Reality.” E-mail: sadovnikova79@mail.ru.

Elena V. Nesterova (ORCID: 0000-0001-5130-706X) is a Candidate of Philology, Researcher in the Sector of Northern Philology at the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North of the SB RAS. She was born in the village of Berezovka, Srednekolymskii ulus, Republic of Sakha (Iakutiia) and graduated from the Yakutsk State University (2001). In 2001–2004 she was a research assistant in the Even philology section of the Institute of Experimental Problems of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; from 2004–2009 she was a junior researcher, and since 2009 a researcher. In 2008 she defended her thesis for the degree of candidate of philological sciences on the topic: “Figurative words in the Even language” (Saint Petersburg). E. V. Nesterova is a specialist in Even language and folklore, author of the monograph “Figurative words in Even language” (Novosibirsk: Nauka, 2010), and co-author of the dictionary “Proper names of Even epic characters: Dictionary index” (Novosibirsk: Nauka, 2019). She has authored a number of scientific articles devoted to the lexicon of Even language and characters of Even folklore, and is the co-author of textbooks and tutorials on the Even language. E-mail: elenanesterova-2010@mail.ru.

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

  • Apresian, Iu. D. 1957. “Problema sinonima.” [The Problem of the synonym] Voprosy Iazykoznaniia [Problems of Linguistics] 6: 87.

  • Akhmanova, O. S. 1966. Slovar’ lingvisticheskikh terminov. [Dictionary of Linguistic Terms] Moscow: Sovietskaia Entsiklopediia [Soviet Encyclopedia].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berezhan, S. G. 1967. “K semasiologicheskoi interpretatsii iavleniia sinonimii.” [Toward a semasiological interpretation of the phenomenon of synonymy] In Leksicheskaia sinonimiia [Lexical synonymy] Managing editor S.G. Barkhudarov, 4356. Moscow: Nauka.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bragina, A. A. 1986. Sinonimy v literaturnom iazyke. [Synonyms in literary language] Moscow: Nauka.

  • Budagov, R. A. 1967. Literaturnye iazyki i iazykovye stili. [Literary languages and language styles] Moscow: Vysshaia Shkola.

  • Burykin, A. A. 2001a. Malye zhanry evenskogo fol'klora. [Small genres of Even folklore] St. Petersburg: Peterburgskoye Vostokovedeniye.

  • Burykin, A. A. 2001b. Kratkii slovar’ sinonimov evenskogo iazyka. [Short dictionary of synonyms of the Even language] Moscow: INPO.

  • Dutkin, H. I. 1995. Allaikhovskii govor evenov Iakutii. [The Allaiha dialect of the Evens of Yakutia] St. Petersburg: Nauka.

  • Evgen'eva, A. P. 1970. Slovar’ sinonimov russkogo iazyka [Dictionary of synonyms of the Russian language], in 2 volumes. Leningrad: Nauka.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grigor'ev, A. D. 1959. “Zametki o leksicheskoi sinonimii.” [Notes on lexical synonymy] In Voprosy kul'tury rechi [Questions of the culture of speech], vol. 2, 730. Moscow: AN SSSR.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grechko, V. A. 1987. Leksicheskaia sinonimika sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo iazyka. [Lexical synonymy of modern Russian literary language] Saratov: Izd-vo Saratovskogo un-ta [Saratov University Press].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harris, Roy. 1973. Synonymy and linguistic analysis. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

  • Jackson, Howard. 1988. Words and their meaning. London: Longman.

  • Kostomarov, V. G. and V. I. Maksimov. 2003. Sovremennyi russkii literaturnyi iazyk: Uchebnik. [Modern Russian literary language: Textbook] Moscow: Urayt.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Iartseva, V. N. (otv. red.) 1990. Lingvisticheskii entsiklopedicheskii slovar’. [Linguistic encyclopedic dictionary] Moscow: Sov. Entsiklopediia.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lebedev, V. D. 1978. Iazyk evenov Iakutii. [Language of the Evens of Yakutia] Leningrad: Nauka.

  • Lions, John. 2004. Lingvisticheskaia semntika: Vvedenie. [Linguistic semantics: Introduction] Moscow: Iazyki slavianskoi kul'tury.

  • Morozova, V. M. 1974. Antonimiia imen sushchestvitel'nykh v sovremennom russkom iazyke [Antonymy of nouns in modern Russian language]: avtoreferat dissertatsii kandidat fil. nauk. Kuibyshev [Ph. Kuibyshev].

  • Nesterova, E. V. 2021a. “O sinonimicheskikh iavleniiakh v okhotnich'e leksike evenskogo iazyka.” [On synonymic phenomena in the hunting lexicon of the Even language] Sovremennye issledovaniia sotsial'nykh problem. [Modern studies of social problems] Iazykoznanie [Linguistics] 13 (2): 144151. https://doi.org/10.12731/2077-1770-2021-13-2-144-151.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nesterova, E. V. 2021b. “О stilicheskikh sinonimakh v evenskom iazyke (obraznye slova).” [About stylistic synonyms in the Even language (figurative words)] In Vysshaia shkola: Nauchnye issledovaniia. Materialy Mezhvuzovskogo Mezhdunarodnogo Kongressa [Higher school: Scientific research. Materials of the Interuniversity International Congress], 6770. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Infiniti. https://doi.org/10.34660/ INF.2021.44.77.010.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Novikova, K. A., N. I. Gladkova, and V. A. Robbek. 1991. Evenskii iazyk: Uchebnik dlia ped. uch-shch [Even language: Textbook for pedagogical schools] Leningrad: Prosveshchenie.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Novikova, K. A. (1960) 1980. Ocherki dialektov evenskogo iazyka: Ol'skii govor, v 2-kh ch. [Sketches of dialects of the Even language: Olsky dialect, in 2 parts] Leningrad: Institut iazykoznaniia AN SSSR.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Palevskaia, M. F. 1964. Sinonimy v russkom iazyke. [Synonyms in the Russian language] Moscow: Prosveshchenie.

  • Reformatskii, A. A. 1996. Vvedenie v iazykoznanie. [Introduction to linguistics] Moscow: Aspekt Press.

  • Robbek, V. A. 1989. Iazyk evenov Berezovki. [Language of the Evens of Berezovka] Leningrad: Nauka.

  • Robbek V. A. 2000. Sokhranenie, vozrozhdenie i razvitie iazykov malochislennykh narodov Severa, Sibiri i Dal'nego Vostoka Rossiiskoi Federatsii v pervoi chetverti XXI veka (Kontseptsiia). [Preservation, revival and development of the languages of the small-numbered Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation in the first quarter of the twenty-first century (Concept)] Yakutsk: Severoved.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robbek, V. A. 2007. Eveny: Grammaticheskie kategorii evenskogo iazyka v funktsional'no-semanticheskom aspekte. [Evens: Grammatical categories of the Even language in the functional-semantic aspect] Novosibirsk: Nauka.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Savvinova, S. N. 2021a. “Antonimiia v evenskom iazyke.” [Antonymy in the Even language] Sovremennoe pedagogicheskoe obrazovanie [Modern pedagogical education] 3: 236238.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Savvinova S. N. 2021b. “Zaimstvovannye sinonimy v evenskom iazyke.” [Borrowed synonyms in the Even language] Materials of the International Conference. Internationale Zeitschrift für zeitgenössische wissenschaft 6 (3): 3941.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021a. “Sinonimy leksiki emotsii v evenskom iazyke.” [Synonyms of the lexicon of emotions in the Even language] Tendentsii razvitiia nauki i obrazovaniia [Trends in the development of science and education] 75-5: 4345.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021b. “Strukturno-semanticheskaia klassifikatsiia sinonimov meteorologicheskoi leksiki v evenskom iazyke.” [Structural-semantic classification of synonyms of meteorological lexicon in the Even language] The scientific heritage 64.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021c. “Sinonimicheskie osobennosti zoonimov v evenskom iazyke.” [Synonymic features of zononyms in the Even language] The scientific heritage 72-4 (72): 5960.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021d. “Sinonimicheskie zoonimy v evenskom iazyke.” [Synonymic zononyms in the Even language] Zhurnal Sovremennaia Nauka: aktual'nye problem teorii i praktiki [Journal of Modern Science: Current problems of theory and practice”] 8.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sadovnikova, I. I. 2021e. “Strukturno-semanticheskaia kharakteristika sinonimov v evenskom iazyke.” [Structural and semantic characteristics of synonyms in the Even language] Tendentsii razvitiia nauki i obrazovaniia [Trends in the development of science and education] 77: 6465.

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