Russian Derivational Morphology
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

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1  Modes

The Russian Morphological Database (henceforth: RMDB) may be searched from five points of view: ROOT, HEAD, DM, CYRILLIC, GLOSS:

  1. Root: listing based on the primary root morpheme of the word
  2. Head: listing based on all morphemes up to the last derivational morpheme in the word
  3. DM: listing based on the last derivational morpheme before the ending
  4. Cyrillic: normal or a tergo alphabetical arrangement (still some order problems with numbers and "jo")
  5. Gloss: brief meaning of head word

The selection area to the left allows you to search for a particular string while viewing the database in any of the above modes. Your search item does not have to be exact, any syllable is sufficient. Of course, you will retrieve many extraneous items if you type in only a letter or two and the reponse time will be proportionately longer.

Under the CYR rubric you may also copy and paste from the database to enter a search item in Cyrillic if you cannot easily access a Cyrillic font option.

In addition to searching for a string in the five basic modes, you may limit the search further by selecting a category in Detailand adding a selection in the second search box. To select the code you will either have to muddle through the descriptions and codes of each category below, or peruse the categories by hovering over the label in the Entire display.

Note that searching for Exact ROOT forms excludes those roots that are marked with numbers, e.g. "voz 1" haul and "voz 2" dung are so marked because of homophony, and searching for "voz" with Exact will exclude both of them.

While viewing the database you may rearrange the order alphabetically by clicking on the head of the column that interests you, click once again and the order becomes alphabetically reversed for that column. When you click on CYR, it becomes first the key column in Cyrillic order, and if you click a second time, an a tergo alphabetic field in which the words are arrayed alphabetically from the end of the word.

If you select Entire all the fields of the database are displayed, and an additional feature is implemented: you may click on any item in CYR for a summary of the morphological information about that entry (Note that in the Mozilla Firefox browser you have to adjust the encoding to UTF-8 to read the Cyrillic in the "summary" displays).

2   Keys to the Russian Morphological Database fields

The fields of the database are given below with explanations of the symbols used. The default display only shows the five major fields, but you may alternatively select the Entire database, which exhibits these five plus all of the esoteric fields having to do with finer categorization of morphological exceptions and alternatives. You may also select a conditional display based on the major fields by selecting the category in Detail and your particular Selection below it. For example, if you wish to limit the display to only nouns, choose CT in Detail and enter "n" as the Selection. In the text below, the number after an item indicates the number of occurences of that item in the database, thus giving you an idea of that feature's relative importance.

The limitations inherent in using a particular font for display of the Cyrillic has made it difficult to render the phonologically underlying segments in ROOT, HEAD and D(erivational)M(orpheme). We, temporarily, must search for the phonetic characters č, š, ž, šč, by entering [c^, s^, z^, s^c^] for the palatals, and for underlying "yat" ě by entering [e^]. (The latter is necessary for the prediction of the absence of the [e~o] alternation in native as well as borrowed Russian words, and for the inherited OCS [ě~a] alternation after palatals.) Palatalized consonants are indicated where necessary with a following open single quote. Palatalization is assumed and not marked for any combination of consonant plus front vowel, except, of course, for the always hard consonants: [š, ž, c]. A vowel alternating with zero is given in parentheses in HEAD and DM fields.

It should also be noted that strict morphophonemic notation is intentionally compromised in the case of orthographically geminate consonants that are normally pronounced as single consonants (with two systematic exceptions: at a prefix boundary and in forms based on the past passive participle). And it is also compromised in the case of ъ (back yer/hard sign) here, where not predictable after a prefix ending in a consonant before a jotated vowel, it is indicated with the number "7" in the transcription: [ob7ekt-] объект. The rationale for both of these deviations is that the database may be used for pedagogical purposes where recovery of Russian spelling from the morphological forms is important.

A complete conjugation or declension of a word form is not given here although it may be constructed by the addition of ending sets and then predictably produced from the resulting underlying set of elements. Here is a rough summary of the phonological rules. Paradigmatic displays are available in many places on the web, one good one is at Russian paradigms.

d 825 pluralia tantum nouns; dm from morphologically masculine nouns, df feminine, dn neuter,de masculine or feminine, da pluralia tantum adjectives used as nouns

p 14205 Perfective verb
i 12645 Imperfective verb
b 889 both Perfective and Imperfective: женить marry
ii44 Iterative verb: писывать write, куривать smoke

t 11898 animate
a 66 alternative animate noun form exists: единица individual
m 18 alternatively nominalized animate adjective: лысый bald, baldy

# is fixed stress on the first through the eighth syllable from the beginning of root (end of prefix or compounding element) in stem: 1-32382, 2-31112, 3-15561, 4-3844, 5-713, 6-148, 7-24, 8-3.
## is fixed (noun: Sg first #, Pl second #; adjective: long form given first #, and short second #; verb: present forms first # and past forms second #): 1b-361, 1c-234, 1d-2, 1e-2; 2a-2, 2b-24, 2c-18; 3a-1, 3b-45, dc-2; 4b-4; b1-445, b2-2958, b3-23, b4-1; c1-26, c2-2342, c3-255, c4-3;
b 5025 is final (first vowel of ending) for noun, adjective and verb
#b 434 for adjective is at # in long form and final in short form.
b#3427 for adjective is final in long form and on # in short form.
c 423 for nouns is b in singular and shifting one syllable back in plural; for verbs: retraction in present tense from 1st person singular ending and again in past tense from feminine Sg (no shift in present gerund and infinitive).
bc 326 is final (first vowel of ending) for noun singular, adjective long form and verb present; and shifting as 'c' above in noun plural, short adjective, and verb past.
d 465 as 'c' but retracted to initial syllable in plural. Adj is 'b' in long form, one syllable back in short. Verbs on last vowel of reflexive past forms.
d'3 (fem nouns only) is shift back one in Accusative Singular.
e 238 in nouns is shift back in Nominative Plural only; in verbs shift is to last vowel of prefix in past.
f 1158 for nouns is shift back in Nominative Plural and Accusative Singular. For verbs shift back one syllable in present from # in past.
f'3 (fem nouns only) is optional shift back one in Accusative Singular and oblique plural (mandatory shift only in Nominative Plural).

Ø 2alternative stress on prefix
1-3 117 alternative stress on adjective stem: 1 70; 2 39; 3 8
b 84 alternative 'b' stress on adjective ending
d 3 alternative final stress on short form PPP: врождённый врождён, врожденá inborn
a 107 no retraction in PrAP where expected: топить melt
c 127 unexpected retraction in PPP: зубрен crammed by rote
g 29 both a and c: тащить pull, drag
p 158 shift of stress to last vowel of prefix in PPP in otherwise 'c' verbs: отóбран seized, зáстлан spread
e 11 =optional 'b' stress: смани`ть entice
f 12 =optional 'c' stress: громи`ть smash up
h 17 =optional 'a and b' stress: вари`ть boil up

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1 16240 hard stems
2 1813 soft stems
3 12593 velar stems
4 1164 shibilant stems
5 2394 [-c-] stems
6 922 yod stems (other than [-ij-] stems)
7 6127 [-ij-] stems
8 3902 [-i-] stems (III Declension)
? 5 problematic class assignment for очи, детки, плечи, господень
1 14676 hard stems
2 174 soft stems
3 3863 velar stems
4 817 shibilant stems
5 22 [-c-] stems
6 194 yod stems
1 13426 [-aj-, e^j] verbs:
2 3024 [-uj/ova-] verbs: [voln-uj/ova-]
3 1604 [-nu-] verbs: 1300 [ver-n/nu-], 304 [tux-n/Ø/nu-]
4 7408 [-i-] verbs: [govor-i-]
5 688 [-i/ě-] verbs: [vid-i/ě-]
6 1255 [-j/a-] verbs: [pis-j/a-]
7 462 [-Ø-] verbs with [-ti] infinitives: [nes-Ø-]
8 302 velar stem [-Ø-] verbs: [pek-Ø-]
9 80 liquid stem [-Ø-] verbs: [t(e)r/tere-Ø-]
10 108 [-j/o-] verbs: [kol-j/o-]
11 169 C(e)j-stem [-Ø-] verbs: [p(e)j/pij-Ø-]
12 205 j-stem [-Ø-] verbs: [duj-Ø-]
13 98 [-(av)aj-Ø-] verbs: [daj/davaj-Ø-]
14 137 nasal stem [-Ø-] verbs: [ž(e)n/žan-Ø-]
15 61 nasal stem [-Ø-] verbs: /stan-Ø-]
16 51 v-stem [-Ø-] verbs: [zhiv-Ø-]

with no entry N, G plurals are regular: m: [-y,-ov], f: [-y,-Ø], n: [-a, -Ø]
x 296 singularia tantum noun i.e. no plural in this sense: пух пиво
j 13 GPl in [-ej] instead of zero for feminine nouns: дядя букки
a 346 masculine Pl [-á] мех номер
o 522masculine GPl [-Ø]: глаз ампер
e 49 plural (all forms) in [-(e)j-] with NPl [-a] and GPl [-Ø], includes [-ov(e)j-] in: сыновья, кумовья
y 173 neuter NPl [-i]: имечко носище
v 73 neuter GPl [-ov]: очко древко
g 4 two GPl: both [-Ø] and [-ov]: боты, ласты

# 8430 1-9 indicates Zaliznyak perfective verb class for a given imperfective verb: 1-1684, 2-428, 3-836, 4-4018, 5-197, 6-708, 7-259, 8-217, 9-83
? 547 no Perfective from Zaliznyak but implied by morphology; class of potential perfective or prefix indicated
p 267 potential perfective type or prefix given after p- (e.g. pna = на, prz = раз, etc.): нести носить
w 288 suppletive perfective: заворачивать, завернуть
f 2537 no true perfective for this imperfective verb
1088 Also included are prefixes when perfective is formed by adding a prefix: za-90, iz-16, vz-29, rz- (раз)-23, vy-24, na-54, ob-11, s/so-161, o-131,ob-11, ot-13, pe-(пере)-2, po-347, -nu-176.

x 3655 Difficulty with short form Adjectives (also marked in IR), stems in [-(e)sk-, -ějš-, -j-]
m 1124 no masculine short form (also marked in IR): боево`й militant

a 3734 Derived Imperfective [-aj-]: наба`вить-набавля`ть add to
y 5001 Derived Imperfective [-yvaj-]: набалова`ть-набало`вывать spoil
ya 122 Derived Imperfective both [-yvaj-] and [-aj-]: наскрести`-наскрёбывать/наскреба`ть scrape together
0 794 Imperfective is same form minus the prefix
ova 5 DI is [-ova-] verb
i 6 DI is [-i-] or [-i/ě-] verb
f 15852 no Derived Imperfective counterpart or biaspectual
? 290 suggested Derived Imperfective is problematic
z 230 suppletive DI form (zg: гнать, zd: идти, ехать)

r 1 only neuter with retraction two syllables in Gen Pl to initial syllable: кружевá кру'жев
c 3804 no comparative form
j 1 unexpected short comparative: богатый богаче
x 280 no short adjective form at all

a 78 suppletive stem: дать /dad-0/dad-i-] есть /je^d-0/je^d-i-]
d 32 suppletive stem: [-j(e)d-/s^(e)d-0-] идти обойти
e 80 suppletive stem: переть [p(e)r-0/per-0/per-e-]
g 21 suppletive stem: бежать [beg-0/beg-i/e^-]
i 18 suppletive stem: шибить [s^ib-0//s^ib-i-]
s 6 suppletive stem: клясть [kl`an/kl`as-0-]
t 10 suppletive stem: хотеть [hot-j/hot-i/e^-]
o 5 -еть, but -ён in печатлеть долеть
f 6 no jod formation in 1st singular: сбондить, слямзить
q 21 marks other verbs with unique conjugation (can be made to function according to rules if given unique VDM and/or stem suppletion)
u 2 suppletive verbal derivational morpheme: живописать, живописую
w 25 no Present Gerund or PAP
z 76 d/t ®Ø Ø  before v in Past Gerund, Past Active Participle: класть, клавший
y 7 as 'z' but both variants exist: пасть павший-падший
? 19 imperative irregular as in: лёг

p 2 'ё' expected but remains 'e': бытие

a 7 [-nu-] unexpectedly retained in PAP and PGER: завянуть
c 13 [-nu-] retained in PAP, PGER and past masculine: горкнуть
d 4 [-nu-] retained in past masculine and optional 'a': молкнуть
f 7 no non-past (i.e. no present or future): объять читывать
g 31 [s ® š/_lj] in [s(o)l-j/a-] шлю слать and [t^ v-j, t^ r-j ®  ščv, ščr:] in умертвить, ухитрить, respectively
h 4 no past forms: густи нейти
j 1620Imperative in [-j-] retracts stress and loses IMV morpheme [-i]: пить сдать
i 30 no imperative: видеть ехать
k 22 imperative Sg -ь in place of expected -и: вынуть
m 65 imperative Sg either -ь or -и; Pl -ьте: заякорить выхолить
o 199PGER in [-'a] -я: размести найти
q 18 PPP has no jod: вóнзить (See IR = 'j')
r 75 suppletive infinitive in: -ерéть
s 3 no gerund form: ткать ждать спать
v 46 [-Caj- ® Cav-aj-] Past, IMV, PrGER, PrPP: давать, ставать etc.
x 6 no ě ® a after a palatal C  in VDM [-i/ě-]: кишеть хорошеть
z 57 OCS PPP in -žd- rather than Russian -ž: наградить награждён
b 48 optional a above
e 43 optional c above
l 59 optional k above
n 84 optional m above

p 233 plural: with Decl class = 1: Sg [-in, -anin/ and pl [-e, -a]; with Decl = 3: sg: [-onok], pl: [-'ata] and [-onoček], [-'atki]

a 10 imperative in [-aj-] for [-j/a-] stems like: алкать колыхать
b 3 prefix o= goes to obo= in present and imperative: опереть
d 6 no substitutive softening in PPP: виден
e 116 no /e/ ® /o/ in past active participle (PAP): бредший
g 20 /e/ ®  /o/ uncertain: отлеживать
i 38 infinitive takes [-ti] in spite of stress on prefix [vý-]: вымести
j 97 loss of VDM [-aj-] in present but not imperative: знавать
n 49 PPP takes [-n] instead of expected [-t] on [znaj-] type monosyllables
o 64 no [e] ® [o] in c-stem, c-stress verbs in present: тесать, брехать,чесать
x 2 PPP is irregular: замутить замутнён
y 2 no root vowel lengthening in derived imperfectives: perfective [pri=l(e)st-i-t'] прильстить imperfective [pri=l(e)st-i-aj-t'] прильщать, likewise for [o=p(e)j-an-i-aj-t'] опьянять
6 18338has vowel~zero alternation in some form of stem: миска мешок

t 338alternative Genitive Singular in [-u] for masculines: мак poppy seed
l 21alternative Locative (Prepositional) in [-u] or [-i]: бок side, цепь chain, series
b 7both "t" and "l" alternatives: мех fur, сок juice
v 39alternative Locative only after в: чай tea, пещь oven
n 37alternative Locative only after на: пир feast, ось axle

p 258alternative Perfective formation: вкидывать: вкинуть or вкидать throw in

p 93alternative plural in [-a] for masculines: кочет rooster
g 2alternative Genitive Plural for masculine noun:сяжок reach, arm's length
x 105problem with, or no short form adjective: соковой of juice
t 177alternative gender or stress for nouns: эполет эполета epaulette

a 110alternative VDM in [-aj-]~[-j/a-]: глодать gnaw at
j 35 unexpected imperative in stressed [-i] for jod stem verbs: доить milk; or replacement of [-j/a-] VDM with [-aj-] in imperative: капать drip
b 108 alternative final present tense stress for shifting stress (c) verbs: узреть see, take as
c 92 alternative shifting present tense stress for final stress (b) verbs: рядеть ordain
1 33 alternative initial stem stress for (b) and (c) verbs: забалить
i 3 alternative VDM [-i/ě-] for [-ěj-] verbs: изболеть be in torment
s 84 alternative stress in PPP forms of verb: осадить: осажён осáжен planted

t 1449another word with similar spelling and meaning exists, often with only a spelling and/or a stress variance for adjectives, nouns: банкнот, банкнота, or the presence versus absence of a fleeting vowel: вихорь вихрь, for verbs often an alternative infinitive: вылезть, вылезти, or alternative conjugation: лазать, лазить.

s 67 adjective short form has alternative or unexpected stress in masculine (neuter): short comparative form: лёгок легóк; кóроток, корóток
n 598masculine short adjective with one 'n': указан, указанна
c 85 short form of PPP has one "n" in all forms: лишён, лишена
e 168 optional second [-(e)n-] in short form: естествен(ен) естественна
m 47no masculine short form
u 16noun with uncertain gender (shown in A) or animacy (shown in R): бери-бери, светило

t 14430for Verb: Past Passive Participle exists
r 217 PPP is rare
f 5276 no PPP

m 362 masculine noun in reference and agreement in spite of morphological form: дедушка, домище.
f 484declensionally feminine noun in spite of reference or pluralia tantum form: раджа, путы
n 152declensionally neuter noun in spite of reference or pluralia tantum form: хвостишко, чернила
e 14morphologically masculine or feminine pluralia tantum noun, i.e. has both Genitive Plurals: боты осевки
a 541Adjective used as noun (redundant with "np" in CT): беглая fugitive, белые scratch paper

t 7264Present Passive Participle exists
p 20459no Present Passive Participle form
v 47PrPP exists but uses past stem plus the [-m/om-] morpheme: давать

t 15003verb is transitive
g 73verb takes Genitive object: лишаться be deprived of
d 111verb takes Dative object: верить believe
i 211verb takes Instrumental object: стать become
o 10verb typically takes o plus Prepositional: нажиться live off of
f 12367verb is not transitive
r 7962 reflexive verb (a reminder to add -ся/сь to head plus ending)

t further non-systematic details in Zalizn'ak

3  Work to be done

Inclusion of a web-friendly rendition of the Phonological and Morphological rules (see below) for deriving inflexional as well as derivational forms is the next step. In our next version we hope to implement these rules into the display.

The Database has been worked on by several hands and a thorough inspection for typos and mislabelings must be done. Suggestions or corrections are welcome.

[last revised 06/07/05]

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4  Morphophonemic Rules

Here is a rough summary of the phonological rules necessary to derive forms from our underlying Head plus DM in the database when inflectional endings are added:
  1. Choose Stem: (Prefix) + (Root) + Root + DM + (DM) -- .
  2. Add Ending: (Tense, Mood, Voice, Taxis, Person/Number, Gender, Case) + (Annex).
  3. For Verbs: choose appropriate suppletive Root or DM portions according to `Present' or `Past'. For Nouns: choose appropriate suppletive portions according to `Singular' or `Plural'. For Adjectives: choose appropriate suppletive portions for Short Forms or Comparatives.
  4. Derived Imperfective Adjustment:
    1. VDMs {-aj-, -0/a-, -j/a-. -j/o-} and both {-nu-, -n/0/nu-} drop before the DI [derived imperfective] morpheme; {-i/ě-} is erratic; {-i-, -ěj-, -ova-} remain.
    2. Root final /j/ (or VDM in /j/: {-ěj-}) goes to [v] before the DI morpheme {-aj}.
    3. Last root vowel: /(o), (e) -> y, i/; /o -> a/ before DI {yvaj-} but only /(o) -> y, (e) -> i/ before DI {-aj-}.
  5. Adjust special (C): /(d),(g),(k),(p),(t)/ -> [0] before {-n/nu-}; and drop /(v)-, (b)-, (p)-/ after {ob=}, or /(z)-/ after {raz=}; otherwise (i.e. before a vowel), just remove the parentheses.
  6. Insert verbal theme-vowel if C-__-C: in Active Voice Present = /e/, in Present Passive Participle = /o/.
  7. Assign stress:
    1. Adjust according to Stress type: fixed stem, fixed ending, shifting, ;
    2. For Verbs: if weak-consonant plus {-Ø-} or {C(V)C-Ø/a-} stem, shift Past back (except feminine.). Special considerations for PrAP, PrPP, PsPP forms are necessary, see appropriate column in database.
  8. Consonant adjustment:
    1. Drop weak consonants [j m n v] before -C; also [v] of PsAP {-vš-} after strong-C.
    2. Dental stops [t- d-] drop before -C, but go to [s] before [-t], and are fuzzy before PsAP morpheme: {-vš -}.
    3. Drop word-final [l] after strong consonants before zero, i.e. in masculine singular past), ignore annex.
    4. Stem final Velars [k, kt' -> č] and [g -> ž] before front vowel at boundary (except before the imperative in verbs {-iimv} and before the prepositional singular {-e^} in nouns.
  9. C to C' before front vowels and jod.
  10. Special dropping of /i/ before {-iimv} or 3rd pl {-at}, gerundial {-'a} and present active participle {-ašč -}; also drop first of two back vowels at a boundary as in [-ova-] plus [-yvaj-].
  11. All other /i/ at a boundary to /j/ before a another vowel (perhaps also {na=id- -> na=jd-} unless we take {j(e)d-} as root).
  12. Transitive softening: Cj -> C^ ( pj, bj, tj, dj, sj, zj, fj, vj, mj -> pl`, bl`, Č, ž, š, ž, fl`, vl`, ml`).
  13. Imperative /-iimv -> Ø/ , if no stress and after single C (ex. stressed вы=).
  14. Long /ě/ -> /a/ after palatals (except a few verbs and neologisms: хорошеть, обомшеть).
  15. Fronting /y -> i/ after C' and velars.
  16. Disappearing vowels: /(e) (o) (i) -> ( )/ before CV and then /(e), (o) -> e, o/ if before ( ) or # in next syllable.
  17. Phonetic assimilations: a. Sibilant to Shibilant, b. Voicing in final and pre-obstruent position, c. Softening (mainly of homoorganic consonants) with special conditions at prefix boundaries where sibilants tend to, but stops not.
  18. `Short' /e/ under stress -> /o/, unless followed by soft cons (and by `brute force', i.e. paradigmatically, in мёде, несёте etc.) This rule is quite inconsistent when the following consonant is a shibilant or the word is neologistic or borrowed. I have tried to allow for this by marking the /e/ as 'long e' in most of the latter.
  19. Vowel adjustments: иканье, аканье laxing, vowel fronting between soft consonants and y -> i after velar consonants
  20. Here we may add phonetic results incorporating any phonetic details not specified above, such as further development of [šč ] to long soft [š':] and labialization of syllable final /l/ to labialized [l] after back vowels. One might also include here any comments about the effect of `fast speech', including haplology, simplification of geminate CC (except at prefix and PsPP boundaries), backing of /i/ to /y/ between words and after prefix in hard consonants and after hard /š, ž , c/ anywhere.