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Mary Neuburger, Chair BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Fall 2007

RUS 369 • Word Order and Intonation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47185 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
MEZ 1.118

Course Description

This course is intended to address an area of practical Russian language competence that can get lost in the mainstream language courses among all the other skills and competencies that require attention. In particular, this course will focus on four inter-related aspects of the Russian sentence: " Word order " Information structure (new versus old information) " Syntax (structure of the sentence) " Intonation Russian word order is much freer than that of English because in Russian it's the case system that does the work of telling you whats the subject, whats the object, etc, rather than word order, as in English (The dog bit the cat vs. The cat bit the dog). This leaves word order in Russian free for other purposes. In particular, Russian word order is used to express `information structure, communicated in English by constructions totally absent in Russian like Its the economy that we should be talking about, or What I need is a nice cold beer. Russian word order is not completely free, because there are restrictions which can be described in terms of syntactic structure (keeping phrases intact, for example). Finally, the intonation with which the Russian sentence is pronounced (its melody and any required pauses) is a) different from that in English, and b) related to the other three issues of word order, information structure and syntactic structure. The course will be taught in English, interweaving analysis of concepts with copious exemplification and discussion. We will be using both original written texts, recordings of speech, and excerpts from modern textbooks (including audio supplements) based on the contemporary language. The focus throughout is on improving your Russian and giving you insight into how the language works at the sentence-level to express nuances of contextual meaning.

Grading Policy

In-class examinations (3): 60% In-class presentation (in English) and other special projects: 20% Class participation and homework assignments in preparation for class discussion: 20%


A course pack of readings will be made available for purchase


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