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This database is not only helpful for linguists doing research on Russian aspect; it can also serve as a valuable resource for pedagogical purposes. The database is a reliable source of reference information for people learning Russian as a second language. It can be used by students in both beginning and advanced stages of their studies. The database is also a highly useful resource for teachers of Russian as a foreign language.
Virtually all textbooks of Russian for second language learners focus on the concept of the aspectual pair. However, determining whether two verbs constitute an aspectual pair is not always easy, since dictionaries often disagree in their evaluations of given verbs. The database developed in the "Exploring Emptiness" project offers tables summarizing the information found in major dictionaries of Russian. The database facilitates search queries for aspectual pairs, allows the user to check for the existence of variants, provides information about the conjugation type of each verb, and helps the user track possible connections between the semantic class of the verb and other parameters. Citations of verb frequency and a tagging system help the learner orient to peculiarities of usage.
A convenient navigation system, the option of sorting results and the completeness of the available information make the database a unique tool for verifying facts crucial to creation of grammatical exercises for learners of Russian. These exercises can range from simple traditional types that focus on memorization and practice with aspectual pairs, to complex ones, that highlight various facts of word-formation and require careful grammatical analysis (cf. examples below). The latter type of exercises don`t have unique correct answers, but rather guide the user toward deeper linguistic analysis.
Analyze the following examples:
Is it possible to use all of the prefixed verbs in all of the examples above? If not, how can we describe the distribution of prefixed verbs?
обанкротиться, обесчестить, онеметь, одичать, ожиреть, озябнуть, окольцевать, окаменеть, окраситься, онеметь, опалить, опухнуть, осиротеть, охаметь
Think about the meanings of the preposition о and the prefix о-. Are these meanings present in all of the verbs listed above?
Do these verbs share something in terms of their meanings?
Answer: The majority of the verbs belong to two semantic classes: "change state" and "physiology"
Can you find more verbs like these?
Example of an answer: оглохнуть, оледенеть, опьянеть, ослабеть
Answer: 3 verbs - мазать, топить, травить
Answer: From the perspective of the imperfective base verbs, the most frequent verb is идти and the least frequent verbs (with a frequency of 0) are: длиннеть, дурнеть, злотить, кумиться, простеть, рябеть, сиветь, холоднеть, храбреть. From the perspective of the perfective partner verbs, the verb пойти is the most frequent in this search, and подлиннеть is the least frequent.