Muzhnyaya Zhena and Divo Divnoe: from the History of Pleonastic Combinations in Russian Language

2023. № 3, 40-54

Elena V. Generalova, St. Petersburg State University (Russia, St. Petersburg),


The problematics of the article lies in the fi eld of studying the linguistic phenomena of pleonasm and tautology in diachronic aspect. The unifi ed interpretation of these notions is absent in the modern linguistic tradition. The study of linguistic redundancy is effective on the basis of the non-standardized lexical semantic system of the language of the pre-national period. The article deals with stable combinations that reveal semantic duplication in the semantic relations of their components in the Russian language of the 16th–17th centuries. In the texts of this period various types of p leonastic constructions can be distinguished: 1) tautological phraseological units consisting of single-root words; 2) proper pleonastic combinations with a semantically redundant component; 3) dissected-descriptive constructions that have a one-word synonym of the same root, including expressions with broad-valued nouns; 4) conditionally synonymous constructions, including homogeneous components that are close in meaning. The article describes the features of the structure, semantics, functioning of various pleonastic stable combinations, as well as their further fate in Russian language. Some, used with amplifying semantics as etiquette formulas, remain markers of the business language of the 16th–17th centuries, others are known in texts of different epochs, acting as a sign that the context belongs to the folklore or stylization, the third ones are actively used as phraseological units in modern language.

For citation:

Generalova E. V. Muzhnyaya Zhena and Divo Divnoe: from the History
of Pleonastic Combinations in Russian Language. Russian Speech =
Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 3. Pp. 40–54.


The study was supported by a grant from the Russian Science
Foundation, project No. 23-28-00038 “The origins of Russian phraseology: a project for a differentiated historical dictionary of phraseological units of the Russian language of the 16th–17th centuries”.