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Richard Schupbach


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intra-linguistic borrowing
mnemonic keyword method

Richard Schupbach

Professor Emeritus

Language is a dynamic system. It is always changing. Richard Schupbach’s research is based on lexicology and derivational morphology, in particular prefixes (with the verb) and suffixes (with the noun).  He uses these ‘tools’ to measure shifts in the Russian lexicon in over the ‘long-‘ and ‘short-terms’, i.e., centuries vs. decades. One of the sources of the dynamism of the Russian lexicon is the way the three levels of Russian: spoken, literary, and technical, interact like separate languages as they exchange resources: every time a given level borrows a derivational model from another, it changes its use and meaning in accordance with its own communicative requirements. In this manner styles ‘ping-pong’ resources and change them on-the-fly. One of the paradoxes that Richard Schupbach discovered is that high-frequency of use is associated with low productivity, or vitality, of derivational models, since written Russian ‘re-cycles’ its moribund categories, snatching the neuter and the ‘third-declension feminines’ from decline.


Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics, UCLA, 1969
MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures, UCLA, 1964
BA, Yale University, 1962