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The Meaning of the Old Russian Plurale Tantum PAMIATI

Marina A. Bobrik


The paper deals with the meaning of the Old Russian plurale tantum pamiati, hitherto attested only in a 17th-century list of food served at banquets that is published in Ivan Zabelin’s Domashnii byt russkikh tsarei. The tentative meaning ‘brain (of crane)’ proposed in the Slovarʹ russkogo iazyka 11–17 vv. does not reflect actual practice. Other 17th- and 18th-century written sources, primarily food lists but also lexicographic sources and Russian dialect data, allow for the definition ‘breastbone and meat (of poultry).’ In this meaning, as well as in other meanings of the Russian dialectal word pamiati, the plural and the singular forms are synonyms. In the newly found context of the 17th-century Skazka o molodtse, kone i sable, the word pamiati refers to the breastbone of a horse, so the meaning can now be more precisely defined as ‘breastbone and meat (of poultry and cattle).’ The definition of pamiati proposed in the Slovarʹ russkogo iazyka 11–17 vv. seems to reflect the “mental” notion of memory as being positioned in the head, whereas the meaning ‘breastbone and meat (of poultry and cattle),’ discussed here, relates rather to the ancient idea of memory as being placed in the breast.


Old Russian; lexical semantics; dialectal vocabulary; terminology of memory; Slovarʹ russkogo iazyka 11–17 vv.


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Kubriakova E. S.,“Ob odnom fragmente kontseptualʹnogo analiza slova Pamiatʹ,” in: Logicheskii analiz iazyka. Kulʹturnye kontsepty, N. D. Arutiunova, ed., Moscow, 1991, 85–91.

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