Dr Marina Chumakina

Research Fellow (SMG)
PhD in Linguistics (Lomonosov Moscow State University)
+44 (0)1483 682843
42 AC 05

Academic and research departments

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.


Areas of specialism

Typology, Morphology, Lexicography, Syntax, Language Documentation and Description; Nakh-Daghestanian languages

My qualifications

PhD in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Lomonosov Moscow State University


Research projects


Chumakina, Marina (2020) Archi. In: Maria Polinsky (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Languages of the Caucasus. Oxford: OUP.
Chumakina, Marina (2019) Bound but Still Independent: Quotative and Verificative in Archi. In Matthew Baerman, Oliver Bond & Andrew Hippisley (eds), Morphological Perspectives: Papers in Honour of Greville G. Corbett, 281-300. Edinburgh University Press.

The ‘word’, a basic concept used by all linguists independently of their area of interest and theoretical persuasion, is notoriously hard to define. The problems in delineating the notion of word are different for phonologists, morphologists, syntacticians, psycholinguists, etc. (Dixon and Aikhenvald 2002; Taylor 2015). The case I present in this paper concerns the basic, empirical issue of defining a word: how to treat instances of what seems to be one word phonologically, but is, syntactically and morphologically, clearly more than one word.

Chumakina, Marina (2018) Атрибутив в арчинском языке. [Attributive in Archi. In Russian] Rhema. Рема, N 4. 166-189.
Polinsky, Maria, Nina Radkevich, & Marina Chumakina (2017) Agreement between arguments? Not really. In Roberta D'Alessandro, Irene Franco & Ángel J. Gallego (eds), The Verbal Domain. Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

We present and analyze novel data on the northeast Caucasian language Archi illustrating a typologically unusual phenomenon of apparent agreement between 1st person pronouns and absolutive-marked arguments. Apart from their typological significance, these facts challenge current approaches to agreement, which hold that Agree relations can be established only between heads and phrases. The apparent agreement between a 1st person pronoun and an absolutive DP can be reduced to a more conventional agreement, namely, agreement between the absolutive DP and a series of v heads. We show that Archi has a contrast between strong and weak pronouns; the latter lack noun-class feature specification and must therefore copy a class feature from the closest v. In addition, Archi has complex pronouns (1st person inclusive) which are composed of  1st person exclusive pronouns and the focus marker -ejt’u. This focus marker is a D head which requires a noun-class feature and copies that feature from the closest v head. 

Chumakina, Marina (2017) Caucasian languages. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics online.

Languages from at least five genetically unrelated families are spoken in the Caucasus, but there are only three endemic linguistic families belonging to the region: Kartvelian, West Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian. These families are rather heterogeneous in terms of the number of languages and the distribution of the speakers across them. The Caucasus represents a situation where languages with millions of speakers have coexisted with one-village languages for hundreds of years, and where multilingualism has always been the norm. The richness of Caucasian languages on every linguistic stratum is dazzling: here we find some of the largest consonant inventories, inflectional systems where the mere number of word forms strains credibility (one of the Caucasian languages, Archi, is claimed to have over a million and a half word forms), and challenging syntactic structures. The typological interest of the Caucasian languages and the challenges they present to linguistic theory lie in different areas. Thus, for Kartvelian languages, the number of factors at play in the verbal system make the task of the production of a correct verbal form far from trivial. West Caucasian languages represent an instance of polysynthetic polypersonal verb inflection, which is unusual not only for Caucasus but for Eurasia in general. East Caucasian languages have large systems of non-finite forms which, unusually, retain the ability to realize agreement in gender and number while their non-finite nature is determined by the inability to head an independent clause and to express certain morpho-syntactic categories such as illocutionary force and evidentiality. Finally, all Caucasian languages are ergative to some extent.

Oliver Bond, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina & Dunstan Brown (eds) (2016) Archi: Complexities of agreement in cross-theoretical perspective
Bond, Oliver, Greville G. Corbett & Marina Chumakina. (2016) Introduction. In Oliver Bond, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina & Dunstan Brown (eds.), Archi: Complexities of agreement in cross-theoretical perspective, 1-16. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina, Oliver Bond & Greville G. Corbett. (2016) Essentials of Archi grammar. In Oliver Bond, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina & Dunstan Brown (eds.), Archi: Complexities of agreement in cross-theoretical perspective, 17-42. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bond, Oliver & Marina Chumakina. (2016) Agreement domains and targets. In Oliver Bond, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina & Dunstan Brown (eds.), Archi: Complexities of agreement in cross-theoretical perspective, 43-76. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina & Oliver Bond. (2016) Competing controllers and agreement potential. In Oliver Bond, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina & Dunstan Brown (eds.), Archi: Complexities of agreement in cross-theoretical perspective, 77-117. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina (2015) Archi. In Peter O. Müller, Ingeborg Ohnheiser, Susan Olsen & Franz Rainer (eds), Word formation: An international handbook of the languages of Europe (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science, HSK40). Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
Chumakina, Marina & Greville G. Corbett. (2015) Gender number marking in Archi: Small is complex. In Matthew Baerman, Dunstan Brown & Greville G. Corbett (eds), Understanding and measuring morphological complexity, 93-116. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina. (2014) Семантическое согласование в арчинском языке [Semantic agreement in Archi]. In Plungyan V.A. et al (eds), Язык. Константы. Переменные. Памяти Александра Евгеньевича Кибрика [Language. Constants. Variables. In memoriam of A.E. Kibrik], 454-470. St Petersburg: Aleteya. [in Russian]
Chumakina, Marina & Greville G. Corbett (eds). (2013) Periphrasis: The role of syntax and morphology in paradigms. (Proceedings of the British Academy 180). British Academy and Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina (2013) Introduction. In Marina Chumakina & Greville G. Corbett, Periphrasis: The role of syntax and morphology in paradigms. (Proceedings of the British Academy 180), 1-23. British Academy and Oxford University Press.
Chumakina, Marina (2013) Periphrasis in Archi. In Marina Chumakina & Greville G. Corbett, Periphrasis: The role of syntax and morphology in paradigms. (Proceedings of the British Academy 180), 27-52. British Academy and Oxford University Press.
Brown, Dunstan, Marina Chumakina & Greville G. Corbett (eds). (2012) Canonical Morphology and Syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, Dunstan & Marina Chumakina. (2012) What there might be and what there is: an introduction to Canonical Typology. In Dunstan Brown, Marina Chumakina & Greville G. Corbett (eds), Canonical Morphology and Syntax, 1-19. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, Dunstan, Greville G. Corbett, Marina Chumakina, Gergana Popova & Andrew Spencer. (2012) Defining ‘periphrasis’: key notions. Morphology 22, 233-275.

We examine the notion of ‘(inflectional) periphrasis’ within the framework of Canonical Typology, and argue that the canonical approach allows us to define a logically coherent notion of periphrasis. We propose a set of canonical criteria for inflectional morphology and a set of canonical criteria for functional syntax, that is, syntactic constructions which include functional elements and which express grammatical features. We argue that canonical periphrasis is exemplified in our theoretical space of possibilities whenever a cell in a (canonically morphological) inflectional paradigm (‘feature intersection’) is expressed by a multiword construction which respects the canonical properties of functional syntax. We compare our canonically-based approach with the approach of other authors, notably, Ackerman & Stump (2004), who argue for three sufficient conditions for a construction to be regarded as periphrastic: feature intersection, non-compositionality and distributed exponence. We argue that non-compositionality and distributed exponence, while sometimes diagnostic of periphrasis on a language-particular basis, do not constitute canonical properties of periphrasis. We also examine crucial but neglected syntactic aspects of periphrastic constructions: recursion of periphrases and headedness of periphrastic constructions. The approach we propose allows us to distinguish between constructions in actual languages which approximate the ideal of canonical periphrasis to various degrees without committing us to a categorical distinction between periphrastic and non-periphrastic constructions. At the same time we can capture the intuition that there is in some languages a distinct identifiable set of multiword constructions whose principal role is to realize grammatical features.

Chumakina, Marina (2011) Nominal periphrasis: a canonical approach. Studies in Language 35:2, 247-274.

Periphrasis, the use of two independent word forms to serve the function of a single inflected word, is usually associated with verbal systems. However, it occurs also in nominal systems. Using the canonical approach to formulate the criteria for nominal periphrasis, I analyse instances of periphrasis in three Samoyedic languages (Tundra Nenets, Forest Enets and Nganasan) where it approaches the canonical ideal, and compare these to the case systems of Romanian, Armenian and Archi where the periphrasis is further away from the canonical centre. An important advantage of the canonical approach is that it provides an instrument to investigate periphrastic realisations in finer detail, and takes periphrasis as an integral part of the morphological and syntactic systems of an individual language.

Chumakina, Marina (2011) Morphological complexity of Archi verbs. In Gilles Authier and Timur Maisak (eds) Tense, aspect, modality and finiteness in East Caucasian languages (Diversitas Linguarum 30), 1-24. Bochum: Brockmeyer.

The verbal morphology of Archi has been claimed to be outstandingly complex. I test this by establishing the amount of information about the verbal paradigm that has to be memorized as opposed to the information that can be inferred. First, I provide some general information on Archi, its speakers, and the sources of the data I use (section 1), then I give some information about Archi inflectional morphology (section 2). Section 3 gives details of the verbal morphology, discussing the size of the paradigm and irregularities. Section 4 discusses different views on morphological complexity in relation to Archi. Section 5 describes the Archi verb production. Section 6 gives conclusions.

Chumakina, Marina, Dunstan Brown, Harley Quilliam & Greville G. Corbett. (2007) Slovar´ arčinskogo jazyka (arčinsko-anglo-russkij) [A dictionary of Archi: Archi-Russian-English]. Makhachkala: Delovoj Mir.

Archi is a Daghestanian language of the Lezgic group spoken by about 1200 people in Daghestan. The language is characterised by a remarkable morphological system, with extremely large paradigms, and irregularities on all levels.

The Online edition of the Archi-Russian-English dictionary provides morphological information sufficient to produce the whole paradigm of the lexeme and contain images of culturally significant objects. It contains sound files for every word form of the lexeme, digital photos, idioms and example sentences with interlinear glossing.