The Verbless Subjunctive in Russian
The Russian subjunctive particle by can be used in constructions that lack any finite verb form, such as constructions with infinitives, predicative adverbs, predicative adjectives, nouns and other nominal parts of speech. I compare the properties of these constructions and argue that all verbless subjunctives share a common semantic component – a positive evaluation of the given situation, most often a wish. Further, unlike ordinary subjunctive with past tense forms, verbless constructions do not express counterfactuality. They also represent main clause phenomena: they are not used in subordinate clauses. Finally, a survey of subjunctive verbless constructions attested in the texts of the 19th century shows that the evolution of the optative meaning took place relatively recently.