How is a generically personal statement born?

2024. № 1, 33-48

Elena N. Nikitina, Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management” of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow),


The paper analyzes generalizing statements written by children (7‒11 years old) and explores the features that distinguish typifying statements and generically personal ones. The former are characterized by generalization of time and subject of the sentence, the latter are specified not only by time and subject generalization, but also by an inclusive speaker. The paper proves the idea that generically personal statements (e. g. proverbs) acquire an ethical value because the speaker is potentially included in both participants of a personal conflict. Generically personal statements can be formulated not only in relation to a human being per se, but also to a class of living nature. This becomes possible if there is some correlation with human beings (our smaller brethrenliving creatures, etc.). Based on the material of children`s essays, the paper examines deviations in the process of generalization, and traces generalization skills development as they are held in age dynamics. The ways of generalization of a living being/person are: unsubstituted nominal positions, generalizing and demonstrative pronouns, full-nominal vocabulary (generic nouns, adjectives used without nouns), relative clauses, idiomatic designations. Generalization vocabulary skills of highly developed children correlate with their mastery of syntactic techniques. The paper also discusses the role of pronouns and adjectives used without a noun, as manifestations of the covert category of a person and a category of animacy.

For citation:

Nikitina E. N. How is a Generically Personal Statement Born? Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2024. No. 1. Pp. 33–48. DOI: 10.31857/S0131611724010037.


This study was conducted within the framework of the scientific program of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics, section No. 9 “Artificial intelligence and big data in technical, industrial, natural and social systems”.