This paper argues for a general DP-shell analysis of clausal complements in Russian. It is proposed that clausal complements are licensed by a null P in Caseless positions. The argument is based on an agentivity restriction on čto- and čtoby-clauses. Experimental evidence is presented that makes use of the factorial definition of the agentivity restriction. Two alternative accounts – in terms of a partial DP-shell and semantic coercion – are discussed. It is shown that the experimental results favor the null P account over the alternatives.
In my paper, I will analyze a special feature of clausal complements in the Bzhedug dialect of Adyghe, a polysynthetic language of the West Caucasian family. While in many languages, clausal complements cannot trigger verbal agreement, in Adyghe, the matrix verb can bear plural agreement with a clausal complements, along with the default singular agreement. If there is a coordinate structure including several clausal complements, the agreement slot they correspond to can contain a plural marker. However, this is not obligatorily the case. I will discuss the conditions of this unusual agreement pattern. I will show that the possibility of agreement depends on at least two syntactic parameters: namely, the syntactic position of the clausal complement and the morphological verb form which is used in the complement clause. Non-standard agreement is also subject to a significant inter-speaker variation. Sometimes speakers who do not allow agreement with clausal complements admit instead long distance agreement. The most unexpected thing is that even if the complement clauses are marked with a (typically) non-argument suffix, they can control agreement. This points to the fact that neither the canonical view of the pronominal argument hypothesis, nor classical approaches to agreement, represented in many works on European languages is plausible for Adyghe. The data of this language must be accounted for in a perspective that regards verbal personal markers and verbal arguments as types of items, which are not isomorphic to each other and which both play role in the agreement marking.
This paper provides the description of the universal concessive conditional (UCC) construction in the Kuban dialect of Kabardian, an ergative polysynthetic language of the Northwest Caucasian family. The Kabardian UCC construction involves a subordinate clause which is marked with a combination of the conditional and additive markers and obligatorily contains an interrogative pronoun with free choice semantics. More surprisingly, the subordinate clause in this pattern may also contain a definite pronoun which receives quantificational reading if it is higher in the hierarchy ergative > absolutive > indirect object > possessor/ postpositional object than the free choice interrogative pronoun. It is suggested that this can be accounted with a semantic representation involving quantification over events.
The paper presents a cross-linguistic investigation into specific characteristics of the expressions translated as ‘other’. We discuss the appearance of OTHER expressions at a periphery of nominal phrases or before nouns in right-branching languages, their occasional incompatibility with determiners and certain peculiarities in the expression of number. The features discussed suggest that OTHER expressions are in many respects similar to determiners, even though they should not necessarily be treated as such.
The article proposes an analysis of three semantic fields in Russian Sign Language (RSL): ‘thick’, ‘thin’ and ‘pointed’. These fields are covered in RSL with a particular group of signs, namely, size and shape specifiers (SASSes). The paper describes features of SASSes in other sign languages, known from previous research, and proposes an analysis of these signs in RSL based on a detailed study of their contexts. Particularly, the article argues for distinguishing two types of components in these signs (specified and non-specified ones), discusses the semantics of non-manual markers and describes two morphological forms of SASSes.
Weak grammatical violations, i.e. violations that result in intermediate unacceptability, pose challenges for a formal description of grammar since it remains undecided whether they are the result of a true grammatical constraint or merely an epiphenomenal consequence of processing complexity. Neither informal grammaticality judgements nor corpus data alone can reveal finegrained distinctions that may be inherent in a grammatical phenomenon. In this context, experimental syntax methods, which have gained in popularity in recent years (see [Schütze, Sprouse 2013]), can be helpful in providing evidence for subtle grammatical distinctions. In this paper I illustrate this thesis with a case study from the distribution of čto-clause complements in Russian focusing on the restriction on the complements of nouns, consisting in the sensitivity to the collocational vs. non-collocational nature of the context. Employing the methodology of the investigation of island effects in (Sprouse et. al), I provide experimental evidence for the grammatical status of the restriction on čto clauses, which cannot be firmly established on the basis of introspection or usage data.