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Reciprocal Constructions : Global Dimension. Review of Reciprocal constructions [Text] / Edited by Vladimir P. Nedjalkov / With the assistance of Emma Š. Geniušiené and Zlatka Guentchéva / Foreword by Bernard Comrie. – Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007. – xxiii, 2219 pp. – 5 vols. (Typological Studies in Language (TSL), 71).

 © The Editorial Team of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 29, 2014, pp. 260-264

Reciprocal Constructions : Global Dimension. Review of Reciprocal constructions [Text] / Edited by Vladimir P. Nedjalkov / With the assistance of Emma Š. Geniušiené and Zlatka Guentchéva / Foreword by Bernard Comrie. – Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007. – xxiii, 2219 pp. – 5 vols. (Typological Studies in Language (TSL), 71).

Anatoliy Zahnitko, Oksana Putilina

Article first published online: October 10, 2014 

Additional information

 Author Information: 

Anatoliy ZahnitkoDoctor of Philology, Professor, corresponding member of NAS of Ukraine, Head of Department of Ukrainian Language and Applied Linguistics, Dean of Philological Faculty in Donetsk National University (Donetsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine). 

Oksana PutilinaCandidate of Philology, Associate Professor at Department of Ukrainian Language and Applied Linguistics in Donetsk National University (Donetsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine). 

Zahnitko, A., Putilina, OReciprocal Constructions : Global Dimension. Review of Reciprocal constructions [Text] / Edited by Vladimir P. Nedjalkov / With the assistance of Emma Š. Geniušiené and Zlatka Guentchéva / Foreword by Bernard Comrie. – Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007. – xxiii, 2219 pp. – 5 vols. (Typological Studies in Language (TSL), 71). [Text] / A. 
Zahnitko, o. Putilina // Linguistic Studies collection of scientific papers / Donetsk National University Ed. by A. P. Zahnitko. – Donetsk : DonNU, 2014. – Vol. 29. – Pp. 260-264. – ISBN 966-7277-88-7

Publication History:
Volume first published online: October 10, 2014

Article received: 21 August 2013, accepted: December 26, 2013 and first published online: October 10, 2014


  1. 1 Article.




Review of :

Reciprocal constructions [Text] / Edited by Vladimir P. Nedjalkov / With the assistance of Emma Š. Geniušiené and Zlatka Guentchéva / Foreword by Bernard Comrie. –

Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007. – xxiii, 2219 pp. – 5 vols. (Typological Studies in Language (TSL), 71).


The collective five-volume monograph, edited by Vladimir Nedjalkov with the assistance of Emma Geniušiené and Zlatka Guentchéva "Reciprocal constructions", every component of which is designed in accordance with the principles of the Leningrad / St. Petersburg Typology Group (Workshop for Typological Studies, Institute for Linguistic Research Academy of Sciences), is a classic example of the fundamental work, conceived and created in the plane of linguistic typology. An empirical basis of reviewed studies that formed on the basis of more than 40 languages from different language families guided by an elaborate questionnaire, with the goal of making inductive generalizations about the form, syntax, and meaning of reciprocal constructions in the studied languages with projection on general language picture of the world impresses. Begun in 1991 and initially planned on a modest scale, the Leningrad project on reciprocal constructions expanded over the years and finally involved more than fifty scholars, who contributed fifty articles to the final volumes. Its results were not published until 2007, and it is certainly tragic that several participants, including the main instigator and editor himself, are no longer around to see how their work has been received and appreciated by the linguistics community [König Ekkehard. Reciprocal constructions (review) // Language. – Volume 86, Number 1, March 2010. – Pp. 237-241.].

Analyzed work quite reasonably can be considered the culmination is a list of steps that have been passed by B. Nedjalkov with his colleagues since 1961 when in the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Linguistics AS USSR A. Kholodovich created a group of structural-typological study of languages (see [Недялков, И.В. Об отце – лингвисте и учителе [Текст] / И. В. Недялков // Вопросы языкознания. – № 2. – 2011. – С. 111-131.]), which 1992 turned into a Laboratory of typological study of languages, stepped up its productive achievements especially with the release of "Reciprocal constructions" in 2007 and the introduction to the monumental scientific-theoretical series devoted to typological studies of languages. During this period in the plane of typology of languages with direct involvement V. Nedjalkov number of articles and monographs sole / co-author devoted to various aspects linguistic typology searches based on different-structure (Indo-European and non-Indo-European) languages has been published (full list of publications of V. Nedjalkov see in [Tense-aspect, transitivity and causativity. Essays in honour of Vladimir Nedjalkov [Text] / Abraham, Werner, Leonid Kulikov (eds.) // Studies in Language Companion Series, 50. – Amsterdam : Benjamins, 1999. – xix-xxxiii pp.]).

The first notable achievement of established research group was the publication of the collective monograph on typology of causative constructions based on over 30 of different-structures languages ​​("Типология результативных конструкций. Морфологический каузатив", 1969), and the number of analyzed languages has reached 60 ​​in a kind of continuation of the work (see articles by V. Nedjalkov of the same year in the collection "Языковые универсалии и лингвистическая типология"). Another advances in the typological field were two collective monographs in 1974 on typology of resultative constructions with notable emphasis on the Chukchi (Chukchi-Koryak language family) and Nivkh languages ("Типология пассивных конструкций") and typology of resultatives ("Типология результативных конструкций"). It should be noted that the last monograph was revised and reissued 1988 with the same title.

As compared with the previous version which covered 20 languages ​​edition of 1988 contained new materials to the results of linguistic observations about languages ​​such as Aleut (Eskimo-Aleut family), Tongan (Austronesian family), Dogon and Ewe (Niger-Congo macrofamily), and completely rethought, expanded and revised essays from Indonesian, Russian, Uzbek, Eskimo, Mongolian, Norwegian, Lithuanian and Armenian languages. After Ya. Testelets, it's not even a new edition, but it is a new book that has increased by almost a third compared to its prototype (see more [Тестелец, Я.Г. Typology of resultative constructions [Текст] / Я. Г. Тестелец // Вопросы языкознания. – № 4. – 1991. – С. 146-151.]). The next step was an article of V. Nedjalkov in 1975 in the collection "Диатезы и залоги. Тезисы конференции "Структурно-типологические методы в синтаксисе разносистемных языков" (21-23 октября 1975 г.)", that presented the results of the typological analysis of data of 57 Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages.

Further searches of researcher in typological aspect prior to development of the problem of reciprocal constructions are related to the analysis of dependent taxis, as evidenced by the rather resonant paper (1987), written by V. Nedjalkov in collaboration, – "On the typological characteristics of converbs" (in "Symposium on language universals. Summaries"). However, among other destinations specific to research of V. Nedjalkov and his students during this period, the mainline directions are:

1) typology diathesis, which found its reflection in the sole monograph at 1971 (Недялков, В.Н. Каузативные конструкции в немецком языке. Аналитический каузатив, Л., 1971) and several articles, for example, in collective work of 1979 (Nedjalkov, V. Degrees of ergativity in Chukchi // Ergativity: Towards a theory of grammatical relations / F. Plank (ed.). London, 1979);

2) typology of two-predicative structures, which was represented with two collective monographs: "Категории глагола и структура предложения. Конструкции с предикатными актантами" (1983) and "Типология конструкций с предикатними актантами" (1985);

3) typology of inchoative constructions, sample of which was the article "Начинательность и средства ее выражения в языках различных типов" in edition by O. Bondarko "Теория функциональной граматики. Введение. Аспектуальность. Временная локализованность. Таксис" (1987);

4) semantics of aspectual and temporal forms based on Evenki, Karachay-Balkar and Chukchi language is analyzed in several articles, some of which – in collaboration with his son, in particular in edition (ed. by O. Bondarko) "Теория грамматического значения и аспектологические исследования" (1984) and two collective monographs at 1987 edited by A. Mukhin: "Лингвистические исследования" and "Функционально-семантические аспекты грамматики".

It is necessary to emphasize that the work to which V. Nedjalkov has devoted the last 20 years of his life, was the fundamental five-volume study of the typology of reciprocal constructions, including the study of semantic-syntactical features of mutual (reciprocal) constructions. "Reciprocal constructions" includes 8 parts, 50 chapters, except 9 introductory (unnumbered) ones. It is written on the basis of more than 40 languages of different language groups and families from different regions of the world if to consider detailed analysis, and over 500 languages ​​are mentioned or discussed by the authors in part, as evidenced by Language index by Emma Geniušiené (pp. 2125-2134) in volume 5 (compiled by S. Krylov), List of contributors (ppxiii-xvi) and Name index by Emma Geniušiené (pp. 2117-2124), Subject index by S. Krylov (pp. 2125-2214) in 3 parts: Part 1. Terminological index (pp. 2135-2159), Part 2. Semantic index (pp. 2160-2183), in particular Part 2a. Notional semantic index (pp. 2160-2163) and Part 2b. Ontological semantic index (pp. 2164-2183), and Part 3. Semantico-glossal index (pp. 2184-2214). Abbreviations and symbols complete the edition (pp. 2215-2218).

The monograph is accompanied by a Foreword (pp. xvii-xxi), written by Bernard Comrie (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany / University of California, Santa Barbara, USA), in which linguist recalls his acquaintance with the Leningrad school and its achievements since 1970, when he began to work on the typology of causative constructions.

As acknowledged by B. Comrie, this linguistic area at that time was, in fact, marginal in the English-language scientific world, and the only source from which the linguist can get information about the analysis of causative constructions in different languages​​, was the collective monograph (1969), edited by A. Xolodovič and with the direct participation of V. Nedjalkov: "Among the many sources I used for data on causative constructions across the languages of the world, at a time when such typological endeavors were at the margins of mainstream linguistics in the English-speaking world, one source that I encountered continuously and with immense profit was Xolodovič (1969), a volume to which the editor of the present volumes was also a contributor" [Reciprocal constructions, pxvii].

According to B. Comrie, this collective monograph showed the strengths and perspective of the Leningrad typological school and particularly V. Nedjalkov with whom B. Comrie was able to work intensively both on typology and on the Chukchi language: parallel treatment of a number of languages from different language families guided by a questionnaire reflecting the interplay of careful consideration of the empirical data from the individual languages treated and the semantics of the constructions in question [Reciprocal constructions, p. xvii]. Analyzing this monograph, in fact, to which he wrote a foreword, the British linguist emphasizes two major planes in which the study of reciprocal constructions was carried out: semantic contention of constructions with reciprocal items and syntactic relationship between the participants of reciprocal constructions ("between the controller and target of reciprocal constructions") [Reciprocal constructions, p. xviiі].

Apart from the foreword, "Reciprocal constructions" contains Preface by Vladimir P. Nedjalkov (pp. xxi-xxiii), in which the linguist expresses gratitude to all those who contributed to this project and provided the necessary support. This prologue is a kind of generalization of many years of work throughout the Leningrad / St. Petersburg Typological Groups and logical consequence of a series of papers 1969-1988 years both the V. Nedjalkov or edited by him or under his supervision ("Типология итеративных конструкций" (ред. В. Храковский), Л., 1989 (in Russian and English versions); Emma Geniušiené. Typology of Reflexives, Berlin, 1987). The monograph started in 1991 after an invitation of V. Nedjalkov by Laboratory of Formal Linguistics, VII University of Paris, CNRS (France), and work on it continued much longer than planned: "Unfortunately, the work on reciprocals took much longer than I had planned because for a number of reasons it was stalled and resumed only after long periods of time" [Reciprocal constructions, p. xхi]. This monograph was initially planned as a modest volume of about 15-20 papers on reciprocals in individual languages, with a brief introductory chapter and a questionnaire for future investigation on a broader scale. The final version (2002-2005) has included the division into chapters with internal structuring and there was a list of 300 languages, so, it is quite in scope and volume from what V. Nedjalkov had in mind initially [Reciprocal constructions, p. xхіі].

The conceptual frameworks of "Reciprocal constructions" are:

1) verbal (morphological) and pronominal (syntactic) reciprocals;

2) lexical reciprocals;                                         

3) subjective / objective (direct objective and indirect objective) reciprocal constructions;

4) simultaneous / consecutive reciprocals;

5) polysemy of reciprocal indicators, including sociative, comitative assistive, kompetitive, iterative, multiplicity of subjects;

6) performance of reciprocal derivation and lexical restrictions imposed on the derivation of this type (all verbal valent and semantic groups);

7) canonical – dative – benefaktive –ablative – possessive – locative reciprocals;

8) ways of implementing reciprocal actants;

9) the possibilities of creating forms of accusative from reciprocals and reciprocal forms from causative verb forms;

10) types of valent changes occurring in reciprocal derivation (reduction, conservation, increasing the number of valences of original verb).

Volume 1 of the monograph under review, other than List of contributors, Foreword and Preface contains 1 part "Typological aspects of the investigation of reciprocals" (Part І), consisting of 9 chapters (5 of them written by V. Nedjalkov), which provide a general formulation of the problem with outlining the basic terms and boundaries the study (pp. 3-114), characteristics of lexical reciprocals (pp. 115-146), polysemy of reciprocal markers (pp. 291-337) and their typological features (pp. 435-452), features of expression in individual languages​​, such as the Bantu (pp. 335-352), and so on.

In Volume 2 "Reciprocal constructions" there is reflexive-reciprocal polysemy of reciprocal markers (Part ІІ), demonstrating 3 aspects of research of reflexive-reciprocal polysemy presented of certain reciprocal markers: 1) A. Verbal and pronominal reciprocal markers (pp. 485-844) in German, Polish, French, Bulgarian, Lithuanian (with references to Latvian), Russian, Vedic, Adyghe, Kabardian and West Greenlandic Eskimo languages​​; 2) B. Verbal reciprocal marker only (pp. 845-858); 3) C. Pronominal reciprocal marker only (pp. 859-886) in Djaru.

Volume 3 of five-volume monograph consists of three parts devoted to: 1) reciprocal-sociative polysemy of reciprocal markers (Part ІІІ) verbal and pronominal types (A. Verbal and pronominal reciprocal markers, pp. 887-1350) in Yakut, Japanese, Tagalog, Udehe, Karachay-Balkar, Tuvan, Kirghiz, Buryat and Khalkha-Mongol languages, and pronominal one (B. Pronominal reciprocal marker only, pp. 1351-1402) in Tariana and Bolivian Quechua; 2) reflexive-reciprocal-sociative polysemy of reciprocal markers of verbal type in Warrungu (Part ІV. Reflexive-reciprocal-sociative polysemy of reciprocal markers: Verbal reciprocal marker only, pp. 1403-1436); 3) sociative-reciprocal-iterative polysemy of reciprocal markers (Part V) of verbal and pronominal types in Indonesian (А. Verbal and pronominal reciprocal markers, pp. 1437-1478) and verbal one in Nêlêmwa (New Caledonia), East Futunan (B. Verbal reciprocal marker only, pp. 1479-1546).

Volume 4 of the monograph, as in the previous one, contains three sections which are devoted to: 1) non-prototypical polysemy of reciprocal markers (Part VІ) of verbal and pronominal types (pp. 1547-1574) in Toabaita (Solomon Islands), and also verbal (pp. 1575-1592) in Mundari (India); 2) monosemous reciprocal markers (Part VIІ) of verbal and pronominal types (pp. 1593-1750) in Evenki (with an appendix on Manchu), Chukchi (with an appendix on Koryak), Nivkh (Gilyak), and Even languages, and verbal type (B. Verbal reciprocal marker only, pp. 1751-1914) in Ainu, Itelmen (Kamchadal), Yukaghir and Cashinahua, and also mostly pronominal markers (pp. 1915-2086) in Bamana, Vietnamese, Ancient Chinese and Modern Chinese ​​(with data from wényán); 3) another perspective on reciprocals and their interpretation (Part VІІІ. Another perspective on reciprocals, pp. 2087-2116).

Volume 5 of "Reciprocal constructions"a finalincludes not the articles but general information on whole monograph, including: Name index (pp. 2117-2124), Language index (pp. 2125-2134), Subject index (pp. 2125-2214) in 3 parts and Abbreviations and symbols (pp. 2215-2218).

It should be emphasized that monograph "Reciprocal constructions" inherent a significant amount of almost (or at all) not investigated "live" material, i.e. samples of reciprocal constructions of the whole array of languages, creative approach to lighting new problems for the modern typological linguistics and unconventional interpretation of issues stated in the works of the founders and current members of linguistic typology and anthropologically oriented linguistics in general.

Peer-reviewed work is one of the fundamental researches that expand the imagination not only of linguistics in general but typological study of a particular. However, it confirms the importance and significance of the analysis which can be used in a purely theoretical writings and various applied linguistic technologies.

Anatoliy Zahnitko, Oksana Putilina (Donetsk, Ukraine)


Available 21 August 2013.