From quantitative to semantic analysis: Russian constructions with dative subjects in diachrony
The chapter demonstrates how quantitative corpus methods used in linguistics research may help to rank different realizations of the same phenomena: the use of dative subjects in predicative and adjective constructions. The core idea of the research is to study the distribution of dative subject constructions with predicative and adjective forms that potentially can be used in such constructions, i.e., the tendency of the construction to be used in explication or omitting the dative subject. While usually the predicates are classified on the basis of whether they can potentially be used with a dative subject, the author studied the trends for explicit use of the dative (or prepositional beneficiary arguments) among the “dative subject predicates.” The chapter shows that the frequency rates of the real use of dative subjects can be very different with different predicates. Finally, data from the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries are compared and hierarchical clustering used to reveal diachronic trends.