SOV in Russian: a corpus study
This paper analyzes the SOV order in Russian. Various hypotheses concerning its distribution were proposed in the previous functional and formal studies, but none of them became widely accepted. We tested these hypotheses on the large “Taiga” corpus and found that the main factor that triggers SOV is pronominalization: if the object is pronominal, it is highly likely to be preverbal. The absolute majority of non-pronominal objects follow the verb, although both giveness and contrastive, emphatic or narrow focus increase their (altogether very small) chances to be preverbal. Thus, the factors discussed in many previous studies play a role, but this role is extremely small. We propose a syntactic account to capture different information-structural properties of preverbal objects and the optionality of this construction.