Birds and Beasts: Shaping Events in Old Russian

Principal investigator: Hanne Eckhoff, Tore Nesset, Laura A. Janda

Project title: Birds and Beasts: Shaping Events in Old Russian

Summary of the project:

The aim of the Birds and Beast project was to investigate the relationship between verbal aspect and aktionsart in the history of Russian. An important aim was to do this on a strictly empirical basis, evaluating data using statistical methods, and to build a Russian diachronic treebank to have sufficient data to do so. One of the project’s most important achievements is the Tromsø Old Russian and OCS Treebank (TOROT), which contains more than 250,000 words of Old and Middle Russian text with morphological and syntactic annotation – the only resource of its kind. The treebank is still under development, and is still hosted and maintained by the CLEAR group. The project has also resulted in a series of publications on aspect and aktionsart in the history of Russian as well as in modern Russian, and also a number of publications on technical and methodological issues. The project sparked the work on the Varangian Rus Digital Environment project, which included a generated Old Russian dictionary based on TOROT.

Link to the project page or project result:


  • Hanne M. Eckhoff (University of Oxford)
  • Tore Nesset (UiT)
  • Laura A. Janda (UiT)
  • Aleksandrs Berdicevskis (University of Gothenburg)

Project duration: 2013–2016

Funding: FRIHUM

Key publications:

Eckhoff, Hanne Martine (2018): “A corpus approach to the history of Russian po delimitatives”. Diachronica 35:3.

Hanne Martine Eckhoff and Aleksandrs Berdicevskis (2015): “Linguistics vs. digital editions: The Tromsø Old Russian and OCS Treebank”. Scripta & e-Scripta 14–15, pp. 9-25.

Eckhoff, Hanne Martine, Laura A. Janda and Olga Lyashevskaya (2017): “Predicting Russian Aspect by Frequency Across Genres”. Slavic and East European Journal 61:4.

Comments are closed.