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Dr. Aigul Zakirova

Brückenstipendium Universität Potsdam: 1.01.2024 – 31.12.2024

Research project: Special argument marking in modal constructions in Uralic.

Literature on modal constructions shows that these constructions sometimes deviate from default argument marking and agreement patterns (cf. Aikhenvald, Dixon & Onishi 2001). Among such deviations non-canonical subject marking seems to be the most frequent. This is also found in Uralic. However, in addition to that, my field data from Moksha and Hill Mari show that some less frequent types of deviations also exist. For example, Moksha has a debitive construction (SubjDAT V-əma ObjNOM / GEN) with a dative subject and special marking of the P-argument: it can be either in marked nominative or in genitive (the latter being the default case marking for direct object in Moksha). In both cases the P-argument can trigger person and number agreement of the debitive form. This is the only syntactic context in Moksha where genitive P-arguments trigger object agreement on the predicate.

Another type of non-canonical marking is when a modal construction does not allow for overt subjects. This is usually described for imperatives but is not restricted to them. For instance, in Hill Mari in the epistemic possibility construction (with form in -mə̑la) the subject, e.g., ‘I’ or ‘you’, cannot be expressed overtly, although it is implied.

I plan to investigate the expression of arguments and agreement in modal constructions across Uralic in a genealogical, areal and diachronic perspective. For that, I am going to use data from grammars and articles on the subject, as well as my own data from the field.

Education and academic qualifications

  • 2023 – Ph. D. in Linguistics, HSE University, Moscow (Ph. D. thesis “Plural agreement marking in the East Caucasian languages”)
  • 2019 — M. A. in Linguistic Theory and Language Description, HSE University, Moscow (M. A. thesis “Частицы эмфатической идентичности в поволжском языковом союзе” [The emphatic identity particles in the Volga-Kama Sprachbund])
  • 2016 – B. A. in Fundamental and Computational Linguistics, Faculty of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University (B. A. thesis “Миративность в тюркских языках” [Mirativity in Turkic])

Professional Assignments

  • Visiting Instructor, HSE University, Moscow (November 2022 – December 2022)
  • Junior Research fellow, Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences (February 2022 – December 2022)
  • Research assistant, Linguistic Convergence Laboratory, HSE University (January 2020 – June 2022)
  • Junior Research fellow, Linguistic Convergence Laboratory, HSE University (November 2019 – August 2020)



  • The linguistic history of the Chuvash and Mari-populated areas of the Volga region (Russian Foundation for Basic Research, 2022–2023, team member)
  • Linguistic diversity in the Volga-Kama region (LIDIVOKA). Typology and language documentation between Volga and Urals (Russian Foundation for Basic Research, 2020–2022, team member)
  • Argument structure, voice and valency-changing operations in languages of Western Siberia (Russian Science Foundation, 2019–2020, team member)
  • The Andi morphosyntax in a typological perspective (Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), 2018–2020, team member)



Forthcoming papers

  • Kaye, Steven, George Moroz, Neige Rochant, Samira Verhees & Aigul Zakirova. In press. A sketch of Andi (Zilo dialect). In Yu. Koryakov, Yu. Lander, & T. Maisak (eds.), The Caucasian languages, an international handbook. Mouton, HSK series.

Published papers

  • Kozlov, Alexey & Aigul Zakirova. The exhaustive particle =ok in Hill Mari and beyond. Linguistica Uralica. 2023. № 2. P. 154–188.
  • Закирова А. Н. Частица =OK в языках Поволжья: история заимствования [The particle =OK in the Volga-Kama languages: story of a borrowing]. Ежегодник финно-угорских исследований [Yearbook of Finno-Ugric studies]. 2023, №1. С. 39–51.
  • Закирова А. Н. Маркирование глагола по числу в нахско-дагестанских языках. [Number marking on the verb in the East Caucasian languages]. Известия Российской академии наук. Серия литературы и языка [The Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Studies in Literature and Language]. 2022, №6. С. 102–114.
  • Закирова А. Н. Согласование прилагательных по числу в нахско-дагестанских языках: генеалогические и ареальные закономерности [Adjectives agreeing for number in the East Caucasian languages: genealogical and areal patterns]. Родной языклингвистический журнал [Rodnoy Yazyk: linguistic journal]. 2022, №1. С. 5–49.
  • Закирова А. Н. Форма на -mə̑la в горномарийском языке и ее употребления: необходимость и возможность [-mə̑la in Hill Mari: a deontic modal and a marker of apodosis in conditional constructions]. Проблемы языка. Сборник научных статей по материалам Восьмой конференции-школы «Проблемы языка: взгляд молодых ученых» [Proceedings of the 8th conference “Problems of language: young scholars’ perspective”]. С. 91–112.
  • Закирова А. Н., Муравьев Н. А. Падежное кодирование пациенса в причастно-пассивной конструкции горномарийского языка [Case marking of the patient in the participial passive construction in Hill Mari]. Томский журнал лингвистических и антропологических исследований [TomskJournaloflinguisticsandanthropology]. 2021. № 2(32). С. 23–38.
  • Закирова А. Н. Согласование по числу в андийских диалектах: глагол [Number agreement in Andi: verb forms]. Т. А. Майсак, Н. Р. Сумбатова, Я. Г. Тестелец (ред.). Дурхъаси хазна. Сборник статей к 60-летию Р. О. Муталова [Thepricelesstreasure. FestschriftforRasulMutalov]. Москва, Буки Веди, 2021. С. 94–114.
  • Закирова А. Н., Майсак Т. А. Лексикализация рефлексива в нахско-дагестанских языках: от местоимения к союзу/частице [Lexicalized reflexives in Nakh-Daghestanian: From pronouns to conjunctions/particles]. Малые языки в большой лингвистике. Выпуск 3 [Small languages in big linguistics. Proceedings of the conference, 2021]. Москва, Буки Веди, 2021. С. 67–79.
  • Закирова А. Н. Согласование по числу в андийском языке: экспансия из парадигмы существительных [Number agreement in Andi: expansion from the noun paradigm]. Роднойязык: лингвистическийжурнал [Rodnoy Yazyk: linguistic journal]. 2020. № 2. С. 94–123.
  • Закирова А. Н., Муравьев Н. А. Превербы χ и χi в западных диалектах хантыйского языка: аспектуальный и дискурсивный анализ [Preverbs χand χi in the Northern Khanty dialects: aspectual and discourse analysis]. Урало-алтайские исследования [Ural-Altaic studies]. 2019. № 4. С. 53–70.
  • Добрушина Н. Р., Закирова А. Н. Аварский язык как лингва франка: исследование в каратинской зоне [The Avar language as a lingua franca: a study of the Karata area]. Томский журнал лингвистических и антропологических исследований [Tomskjournaloflinguisticsandanthropology]. 2019. №. 1. С. 44–55.
  • Закирова А. Н. Номинализации [Nominalizations]. С. Ю. Толдова, М. А. Холодилова (ред.). Элементы мокшанского языка в типологическом освещении [ElementsofMokshainatypologicalperspective]. Москва: Буки Веди, 2018. С. 753–778.
  • Закирова А. Н. Адмиратив в контекстах снятой утвердительности [Admirative in non-assertive contexts]. С. Г. Татевосов, А. Г. Пазельская, Д. Ш. Сулейманов (ред.). Элементы татарского языка в типологическом освещении. Мишарский диалект [ElementsofTatarinatypologicalperspective. Mishardialect]. Москва: Буки Веди, 2017. С. 146–154.

Online resources

  • Spoken corpus of Meadow Mari (as spoken in the village of Staryj Toryal, Novyj Torjal district, Mari El Republic, Russia).  Anna Volkova, Aigul Zakirova, Mikhail Voronov, Maria Dolgodvorova, Zinaida Klyucheva, Svetlana Kokoreva, Ilya Makarchuk, Irina Khomchenkova, Timofey Arkhangelskiy, Elena Sokur. Moscow: Linguistic Convergence Laboratory, HSE University. (Available online at http://lingconlab.ru/spoken_meadow_mari/, accessed on 27.11.2023.)