2.2 My textbooks and websites for learners

I have co-authored five textbooks and seven websites designed for learners that are used across Europe, North America, and Asia. In addition, I have developed extensive unpublished teaching materials for use in my own classes. Using my own textbooks and websites in my classrooms gives me the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t with students and helps me to strategize on the authorship of future resources for learners. One comment I often get from my students at UiT is that I should extend the Aspect in Russian website to cover more material. The students are absolutely correct: I originally had a more ambitious site in mind, but ran out of funding. Perhaps someday I will be able to take this project further. A list of my textbooks with photographs is provided in Section A.4, and a list of pedagogical websites with screenshots is provided in Section A.5.


Cognitive Linguistics: The Quantitative Turn. The Essential Reader Laura A. Janda (ed.). 2013. De Gruyter Mouton. 321 pp. Designed to serve as a textbook for courses in statistical analysis in linguistics, this book orients the reader to various quantitative methods and explains their implications for the field. The methods include chi-square, Fisher test, binomial test, ANOVA, correlation, regression, and cluster analysis. The advantages and limitations of each method are detailed and each method is illustrated with exemplary articles presenting linguistic data. Here at UiT this book is used in the HIF 3082 Quantitative Methods in Linguistics course, which I have also developed.

Review by Emmerich Kelih at the University of Vienna published in SKY Journal of Linguistics 28 (2015), 415–419:

“[This book ] gives a representative and sophisticated overview of widely and commonly used statistical methods in linguistics.”

Review by Rachel Ramsey at Northumbria University published in Cognitive Linguistics 2017; 28(1): 193–202:

“[T]his book serves as a fine introduction to a set of statistical models. Beyond its pages, Janda directs her audience, not only to wider reading, but to websites hosting data and the statistical code used to analyse it.”

Common and comparative Slavic: Phonology and inflection, with special attention to Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian, by Charles E. Townsend and Laura A. Janda. 1996. Slavica Publishers. 310 pp. This book provides a thorough description of the phonology and inflection of Late Common Slavic. Nine chapters cover the basic material of the book, which includes such phenomena as the ruki rule, the satem-centum distinction, rising sonority, syllabic synharmony, prosodic features, ablaut, declension, and conjugation. The tenth chapter consists of brief characterizations of the phonology of each of the five languages emphasized, complete with their phonological inventories and the most salient features of their inflectional patterns. Hundreds of exercises test learning of the correspondences within Russian and across the Slavic languages. The book’s orientation is modern and innovative. One of its unique features is its analysis of phonological developments in terms of Jakobsonian distinctive features. Also unique is the detailed breakdown of the development of Slavic declensions (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) and verb classes, treated from both one-stem and traditional points of view. Common and Comparative Slavic is an excellent source for students of the Slavic languages who want to learn more about where the modern languages came from and how they differ from one another. This textbook has been translated and republished in both German (2002) and Korean (2011). Here at UiT this book is used in the RUS 3010 Language and Literature of Medieval Russia course.

Review by Christina Y. Bethin at SUNY Stony Brook, published in The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), pp. 185-187:

“…the authors present a dynamic view of language change and relate it to synchronic typology in an enticing way. My beginning students in Slavic linguistics liked the book because it is clearly and enthusiastically written and because it makes an effort to systematize information in a way that engages students in the process. After working through the book, one of my students commented that Slavic linguistics is fun. One gets the sense that Townsend and Janda think so, too.”

Review by Robert Orr at the University of Ottawa, published in Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes, Vol. 38, No. 3/4 (SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 1996), pp. 542-544:

“On odd occasions one comes across a book that really seems to be the last word on a subject; that says everything that one wishes one could have written oneself. For its target audience, this is such a book. Townsend and Janda are to be heartily congratulated on putting all the material together and bringing it out. It is likely to become a staple in the field, required reading for graduate students, and equalling or surpassing it will probably prove impossible in the foreseeable future.”

The Case Book for Russian, by Laura A. Janda and Steven J. Clancy. Bloomington, IN: Slavica. 2002. 303pp. A decade of research on Russian case semantics comes together in this textbook plus exercises, which presents the Russian case system in terms of structured semantic wholes. This method of explanation is easily accessible to students and provides a coherent conceptual framework that accounts for the rich and often confusing details of Russian case usage. Throughout the text, the basic meanings of the cases are illustrated with examples from a large database of Russian prose, compiled specifically for this project. Examples in the text and exercises were taken from a variety of sources (primarily books and newspapers of the past decade) and are representative of multiple genres and fields (fiction, current events, contemporary history, politics, law, economics, science and medicine, etc.). By confronting real case samples in an unadulterated form, students can learn to make sense of the systematic meanings of case in a fashion that will approach the understanding of a native speaker. The accompanying interactive exercises continue the presentation of the text and challenge students to implement the concepts they have learned, and have recordings of all examples by both male and female native speakers. In 2005 this book won the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages Award for Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy. Here at UiT this book is used in the RUS 2040 Strukturen i russisk course.

“A Cognitive Grammar Approach to Teaching the Russian Case System” by Carlee Arnett and Diana Lysinger, published in Russian Language Journal / Русский язык Vol. 63 (2013), pp. 135-168 reports on an experiment conducted using The Case Book for Russian. First, they explain that they conducted the experiment because this textbook is unique:

“As a result of current Russian textbook presentations of case, students do not have an overview of the case system and do not see cases as connected with each other in any way. Janda’s (2002) The Case Book for Russian constitutes one exception; it is an example of the cognitive approach in explaining the Russian case system in a non-traditional way. Unlike in traditional approaches to case, the author avoids offering rules and focuses instead on explaining coherent groupings of motives that govern case usage.”

They performed an experiment comparing traditional teaching of Russian case to teaching according to The Case Book for Russian, which gave 33% better results in mastery of cases by students.

“These data suggest that the Cognitive Grammar-based explanation of cases in class proved to be a more effective method for teaching Russian cases.”

The Case Book for Czech, by Laura A. Janda and Steven J. Clancy Bloomington, IN: Slavica. 2006. 375pp. This textbook repeats all of the same achievements of The Case Book for Russian, adapted for Czech and supplied with Czech examples and interactive exercises.

Review by David Danaher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published in The Slavic and East European Journal 53: 3 (2009):

“Simply put, The Case Book for Czech represents the best in an applied linguistics textbook. It is a resource that all teachers of Czech at any level should own and study and consider using in their language classes. and it is indispensable for anyone–students of Czech, linguistics, and even literary scholars–who have an interest in the semantics of case.”

Czech (= Languages of the World/Materials 125), coauthored with Charles E. Townsend. Munich/Newcastle: LINCOM EUROPA. 2000. 106 pp. This grammatical sketch of Czech is intended to serve as a descriptive handbook unencumbered by the viewpoint of any one theoretical framework. The Introduction gives a survey of the location and number of speakers, as well as the relation of Czech to other languages, and the relations of literary Czech to its variants (dialectology and diglossia). The chapter on phonology focuses on vowel quantity, assimilations, and the prosodic behavior of clitics. The chapter on morphology details the grammatical categories expressed in the language and the means of their expression, with special emphasis on morphophonemic alternations. This is to be followed by a chapter on syntax, which addresses the meanings and uses of cases and prepositions, numeral constructions, clause structure, multiple negation, use of passive and causative constructions, coordination and subordination of clauses, and discourse phenomena. A separate chapter is devoted to the issue of diglossia in Czech, outlining the phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical differences that exist between the two “standard” codes of the language, literary Czech and spoken Czech. The book closes with two brief texts to serve as examples of the two codes, each with an interlinear transcription and translation into English. This book has been republished as an interactive website.


The Aspect in Russian Media Module is a research-based learning resource integrating authentic language, recordings of native speakers, animations, and hundreds of interactive learning exercises. Development was supported by 2 grants from the US National Science Foundation. Here at UiT this website is used in the RUS 2040 Strukturen i russisk course.

The Exploring Emptiness webpage and exercises is an interactive resource for learners with pedagogical applications for mastering the Russian system of how to combine 1429 imperfective base verbs with 16 prefixes to form 1981 perfective partner verbs. Here at UiT this book is used in the RUS 2040 Strukturen i russisk course and in the RUS 3030 Concept and Categories: Contemporary Russian Cognitive Linguistics course.

TROLLing is the Tromsø Repository of Language and Linguistics, conceived of as a community-learning project for linguists to master statistical analysis by sharing techniques, data, and code. I have also designed and starred in a promotional video and a series of instructional videos. I have been nominated to be an Open Data champion in SPARC Europe’s initiative for promoting Open Data – the European Open Data showcase. Here at UiT this website is used in the HIF 3082 Quantitative Methods in Linguistics course, which I have also developed. See this video interview in which I describe the site and its role in teaching and research.

The Learner’s Constructicon of Russian project prioritizes multi-word constructions that are not represented in dictionaries and are especially useful for learners of Russian. The Learner’s Constructicon of Russian is being built in parallel with the Swedish Constructicon and will ultimately model the entire Russian language in terms of constructions at all levels from morpheme to discourse.

The Russian Oahpa! learning resource for exercising Russian morphology, developed in collaboration with the Giellatekno language technology center at UiT. Here at UiT this website is used in the first-year Russian courses RUS 0100 and RUS 1001.

Cluster Types for Russian Verbs is a database of the aspectual clusters of Russian verbs that commonly appear in textbooks of Russian. The database is designed for learners, presenting 266 verb clusters containing over 2000 verbs and displaying their aspectual relationships. Here at UiT this website is used in the RUS 2040 Strukturen i russisk course.

Russian songs: Every week of Russian language instruction at UiT has been furnished with a song illustrating relevant grammatical features. For each song, there is a document with the lyrics and glosses of key words in Norwegian, and an mp3 and/or music video. Songs for RUS 0100. Songs for RUS 1001. Songs for RUS 1025. Songs for RUS 2040. These sites are used in the RUS 0100, RUS 1001, RUS 1025, and RUS 2040 courses.


See the lists of textbooks and websites in Section A.4 and Section A.5.