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... до конца года мы эту работу выполним целиком и полностью

... do kontsa goda my etu rabotu vypolnim tselikom i polnost'yu

I understand what this means from closed captions, google translate and a dictionary: the work will be wholly and completely completed by the end of this year.

  • -пол- is cognate to full, complete, pleo- etc. and appears twice; once as a future active perfective verb and once as an adverb. The prefix вы́- is used to show completion or fulfillment. The inflection endings are of general interest, but how they relate, I cannot say.

  • цел(и)- is somehow related to whole, though the reconstruction is uncertain (thus e.g. Frisk on the Hesychian gloss κοῖλυ). Actually, it makes no sense whatsoever.

Having read the German translation, I barely recognized целиком and missed выполним before it, mainly because the prefix is unexpected.

... werden wir den Prozess vollständig abgeschlossen haben

... we will complete this work in full

The goal of this exercise is to find words that are most similar in both languages and therefore memorable. That was quite satisfying, but a lot remains to be explained.

I'm concerned about reduplication (not unlike English fulfill) and possibly dissimilation, which requires that выполним целиком be treated as a unit. The trivial case is when parts fossilize into a single word (e.g. Greek Boukolos, see below), which does not seem to be the case here because I'm aware that Russian has fairly free word order. So the question is, of course, subject to interpretation.

целиком и полностью is a frequent collocation, no doubt, but is выполним целиком a verbal phrase or anything of that sort which might be ancient?

Is it possibly related to German vollzählig or indeed vervollständigen?


The rule is named after an example; the Ancient Greek word βουκόλος (bou-kólos; from Mycenaean Greek qo-u-ko-ro /gʷou̯kolos/[1]) "cowherd", ultimately from PIE *gʷou-kolos, dissimilated from *gʷou-kʷolos.

[1] Beekes, Robert Stephen Paul (2011). Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-9027211859. Retrieved 12 August 2017.

[en.wiktionary.org: Boukolos rule]

Also (more as a note to self): Prefix в- can also mark thoroughness or completion "when added with -ся (-sja) to verbs", e.g. вполне́, ‎вчита́ться (en.wiktionary). Its origin is uncertain.

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  • That's a very nice and thorough question!
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 18, 2023 at 17:44
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    'целиком и полностью is a frequent collocation' -- not only that; it's idiomatic. It's calque from German "voll und ganz".
    – Igor G
    Jun 18, 2023 at 18:03
  • да, скорее всего это калька с немецкого, ganz - целиком/целый значит безущербно или безупречно, т.е. совершенно. Т.е. работу выполним безупречно и полностью(voll). Видимо от целые числа - ganze Zahlen или чего-то подобного. ganz (“whole, sound, healthy, complete”) - исцелять~heal. -ся - возвратный суффикс глагола, вчитаться - to reach self point of understanding while reading Jun 20, 2023 at 22:39

3 Answers 3

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How pleonastic is "эту работу выполним целиком и полностью"?

Being pleonastic means being redundant, i.e. pleonasm refers to something that can be removed without major loss of meaning to the whole sentence. I'm not sure that the pleonasticity of a phrase should be judged by root repetition or etymology...

Semantically speaking, that phrase is perceived as a verb followed by a quantifying adverb: "<performed> <degree>ly". It might seem redundant since "performed" often implies "completely", and you've even tracked that meaning through their common ancestor root. However, such collocation is quite common with other adverbs that denote various degrees of partial completion (shown below) and thus, by extension, this collocation doesn't sound wrong/redundant with an adverb that means "to the full degree". Also, if used with no adverb of quantity, it may be perceived as ambiguous or incomplete, lacking that solid clarity which is expected from someone making a bold claim in public.

So, although the phrase "мы эту работу выполним" technically implies full completion, in that context it conveys lesser degree of certainty. Is that difference in meaning minor enough to justify labeling it as pleonastic? I'd say no because I feel that extra reassurance isn't optional in this case.


To demonstrate frequent collocations, let's see what's in the Corpus: which adverbs typically follow "выполнить".

The top of the list is populated with adverbs that denote quality (brilliantly, perfectly, precisely, successfully, etc), adverbs that denote manner (quickly, alone, ahead of time, before) and adverbs that denote amount and degree: completely, half (as in "half-completed"), partially, nearly (almost).

Another interesting collocation, used for example in the context of auditor reports, is "выполнено не полностью" (exaggerating the pun: not completely completed). And again, that phrase sounds more like a pun than like redundant repetition, maybe because similar collocations are seen with other verbs like "завершить", "обеспечить", "реализовать", and thus a collocation with "выполнить" doesn't come across as odd.

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  • The test for your last paragraph is «выполнено целиком но не полностью». It doesn’t sound right, that’s why a level of redundancy is present here Jun 22, 2023 at 13:17
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Bыполним целиком is neither a verbal phrase nor an idiom. The verb here acts like a verb. Moreover, this phrase sound incomplete, pardon the pun, and unnatural to me without "и полностью."

Целиком и полностью sound a bit pleonastic to me, but no more than any number of English expression like "tick and tie", "cross the t's and dot the i's" or "locked and loaded."

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It might be pleonastic in most cases, 'strengthening' the statement.

And additionally, there might be two implied references here, to scope ('целиком' meaning 'all the planned stages or items') and to completeness ('полностью' meaning 'complete execution of each stage or item').

I wouldn't vouch for that explanation, though, as nobody gave it to me explicitly. Just my guess from some instances of use.

'Полностью' is the stronger adverb here; you can omit 'целиком' with no loss of meaning.

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