On the russian word otnyud’ ‘not at all

2020. № 3 (25), 203-218

Anna A. Zalizniak 1, E.V. Paducheva

1. Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Informatics Problems of the Federal Research Center “Computer Science and Control” of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushkin State Russian Language Institute (Russia, Moscow) anna.zalizniak@gmail.com


The article offers an analysis of the semantics and conditions of the use of the Russian word otnyud’ ‘not at all.’ It demonstrates that the semantic contribution of the word otnyud’ within the meaning of a negative sentence is determined by the fact that it enhances the negation in two respects — descriptive and illocutionary. The paradigmatic context for use of otnyud’ is that of antonymic negation, i.e. negation of a scalar feature embedded in a bipolar scale. In this case, the negation not P switches the value to the opposite pole of the scale, i.e. in addition to component ‘it is not true that P’ also includes the assertion of the presence of some Q, which is a full-fledged semantic feature, opposite to P. The descriptive function of the word otnyud’ is that it introduces a high degree of realization of the feature Q opposite to P. The illocutionary function consists in increasing the power of the refutation of the opinion which is generally accepted or expressed by the interlocutor. If the negated feature does not enter into a bipolar scale and there is no preexisting opinion, otnyud’ cannot fulfill anyone of its functions, and its use is impossible.