In 1912, Lev Scherba successfully defended his Master’s thesis Russian vowels in terms of quality and quantity. The paper was published, and the resulting book enjoyed roaring demand: unsophisticated readers did not identify vowels as the common letters of alphabet they knew well. The buyers were looking for serious revelations and leaks, as glasny (vowel in English) was also the name for a member of the town council. The encyclopedia informs the readers that academician Lev Scherba made a serious contribution to development of psycholinguistics, lexicography and phonology. As for famous phrase “Glokaya kuzdra shteko budlanula bokra i kurdyachit bokrenka” was invented by him in late 1920s. He did it not for lack of work, but for scientific purpose. This phrase is the evidence of lexicon having no meaning without grammar. Absolutely meaningless words combined into a sentence allow for understanding what the idea is about. Everything looks clear: some female creature did something to some male creature and started doing something with her child, i.e., the sentence has everything required. All main parts of speech are present – nouns, adjective, verbs, adverbs. Lev Scherba expressed the idea of lexicon being helpless without grammar very explicitly and laconically in Suvorov’s way: lexicon is a fool, grammar is a fine lady!
In 1880, Russian linguist Lev Scherba was born