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Analytic Future Tense in Russian Romani as a Calque from Eastern Slavic

Kirill A. Kozhanov


This paper discusses the development of the analytic future in Russian Romani. In this Romani dialect, an analytic future tense can be expressed by means of the two auxiliary verbs avéla ‘to come’ and léla ‘to take.’ This article argues that the development of this analytic future was induced by contact with Eastern Slavic languages. In Romani, the verb avéla also functions as the future form of the copula, thus its use as an auxiliary to derive future tense is a calque from the Slavic construction with the verb budu ‘I will.’ In the article it is argued that the use of the verb léla as an auxiliary is a “fossilized” calque from Old Russian, in which the verb jati ‘to take’ was, up to the 16th century, one of the main ways to derive the future tense. It is also shown that there is no clear semantic distinction between the two constructions, and that preference is given to one or the other depending on the areal variety or even idiolect. Finally, Soviet Romani literature offers interesting cases that demonstrate when the verb léla begins to function as a future tense copula.


future tense; Romani; Russian Romani; Eastern Slavic languages; language contact; PAT(tern)-borrowings


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