Declension of the Numerals
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Language Changes and Norms

Facts appearing in the living speech to acquire the status of norms, should necessarily answer to intra-linguistic laws, not in contradiction with the basic tendencies of development of the language.

For example, we always hear this pronunciation for the word “жАлюзи” (“JAlousy” – Venetian blind). But this word is French, and it should keep its etymological accent in Russian, which means on the last syllable. Therefore, the recommended version in the dictionary should be “жалюзИ” (JalousY), and the version “жАлюзи” should be mark as wrong or not recommended. Although it is a very popular version.

But the main criteria: the innovation born in living speech should be supported by some laws of the language, corresponding with them, internal logical of the language development.

ЗвОнят” (“ZvOnyat” – they call imperfective form, “позвОнят” (“PozvOnyat” – they call perfective form), this version hurt the ears and is a litmus paper of the cultural speech. But here’s a paradox: this option will be more popular in the near future. It is not a accident.

The whole group of verbs ending <strong>gt;-ить, which were traditionally accentuated on the last syllable, are slowly becoming accentuated on the first one. This is right. All changes in a language is not based on a single word, but on a group of words.

Let’s take as a model the verb “включить” (to turn on). You must realised that this model is part of the same group as “звонить” (to call). A few years ago, the only possible way to pronounce it was “он включИт свет” (he turns on the light); it was just impossible to say “он вклЮчит свет”. Now as a norm for young people, it is perfectly normal to say “он вклЮчит свет”.

And in what “звонИт” differs from “включИт”? In nothing. Now, many authoritative sources related to the version “звОнит” write «allowed in oral speech». Personally, this doesn’t make me happy, but as a professional I understand that it is justified. The internal law of a language requires the changes of the appearance of the language, and here I won’t go against the law of the language because the language is changing not as we order it to, but as it is telling us.

Елена Коновалова