Nina Dobrushina

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline Linguistics
Professor of Linguistics, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow)

Research project

Atlas of Multilingualism in Daghestan


The aim of the project is to work on methodology and representation of data about multilingualism and language contact across Daghestanian villages collected during field researches both in paper and on the web site. The project is based on a long-term 0ngoing field research conducted since 2009. In order to translate people’s personal recollections into quantitative data the method of retrospective family interviews is used. The data are obtained from the respondents concerning not only themselves, but also their deceased relatives who cannot be reached in person, thus getting information about multilingualism and language contact going back to the 19th century.


To reconstruct the patterns of language contact in the past, the cluster principle of data collection was used, which means working with several villages at one location rather than with one village per location. The results are summarized in articles which describe each cluster of villages, including a map of the cluster with charts showing levels of command for each of the languages. The article and the map together form a chapter of the future Atlas. The project suggests a descriptive standard to account for contact situations in a Daghestanian village, provides an account of each village or cluster of villages, provides an inventory of models of possible language contact situations in Daghestan, and reveals the role that socio-cultural factors may have played in sustaining linguistic diversity in Daghestan. On the global level, the project will contribute to studies of linguistically diverse areas of the world. The unique pattern observed in Daghestan is that of the strict linguistic endogamy, when marriages are confined to the same linguistic community.


The project to be carried out under EURIAS fellowship programme is aimed at working out a methodological framework for processing and representing the data and making it available to a vast academic audience. Currently the data exist in the form of and Excel database, which is not available online, of the papers surveying the clusters of villages, and of the maps. During the residence at the IAS, the structure of the chapters of Atlas will be discussed with scholars from different disciplines, the current versions of the chapters will be updated, and the web site for the Atlas will be elaborated.




Nina Dobrushina is a Professor of Linguistics at the School of Linguistics at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow. She holds a Ph.D (Candidate of Sciences) in Applied and Mathematical Linguistics from the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Her main research interests are typology, morphology, modality, minority languages, Caucasian languages, languages of Daghestan, sociolinguistics, multilingualism, linguistic contacts, language corpora, and corpus-based approach in language teaching.


Selected publications


'The Verbless Subjunctive in Russian', Scando-Slavica, vol. 61, no. 1, 2015, pp. 73-99.


'Why Standard Orthography? Building the Ustya River Basin Corpus, an Online Corpus of a Russian Dialect', with R. von Waldenfels & M. Daniel, Komp’juternaja lingvistika i intellektual’nye tehnologii: Po materialam ezhegodnoj Mezhdunarodnoj konferencii «Dialog», Izd-vo RGGU, 2014, pp. 720-728. 


'How to Study Multilingualism of the Past: Investigating Traditional Contact Situations in Daghestan', Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 17, no. 3, 2013, pp. 376-393.


'Concessive Constructions in Agul', with S.R. Merdanova, in V.S. Xrakovskij (ed.), Typology of concessive constructions, Lincom, Munich, 2012, pp. 477-494. 


'Subjunctive Complement Clauses in Russian', Russian linguistics, vol. 36, no. 2, 2012, pp. 121-156.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Geography
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Environmental Science
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Literature
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Collegium de Lyon
discipline Cultural Studies