A Case Study of Language Use in the Russian Immigrant Community in Israel
(190) illustrates convergence to Hebrew at the level of abstract lexical structure.
In her proposal to go buy beads at the week-end market, Lena first uses the Hebrew word taxshitim ‘jewellery’ and then tries to specify what sort of jewellery she has in mind. The word she employs does not exactly correspond to what she actually intends to convey using businki ‘pearls’ in a context where biser ‘beads’ would have been the right choice. In Russian, businka denotes a single pearl. The meaning of several pearls (i.e. busink-i) can be rendered in Hebrew by xaruzim ‘beads’. However, Russian distinguishes between the plural number (more than one) of single pearls and an unspecified quantity of very little bead seeds, which are usually used in bead embroidery work. The Russian term for this sort of pearls is biser . It is important to note that biser ‘beads’ is a singular noun in Russian as opposed to the plural Hebrew word xaruzim ‘beads’. Using businki instead of the target word biser Lena neutralizes the subtle distinctions made in Russian between businki ‘pearls’ and biser ‘beads’ thus indicating a change in the semantic/pragmatic structure of the Russian term under the influence of the corresponding structure of the Hebrew word xaruzim.
(190) nu ne TAXSHITIM, a businki ?.
well, not jewelry but pearls.
In (191), convergence involves the substitution of the locative case for the expected (directional) accusative case (possibly) due to the effects of attrition on the ← 147...