Интерпретация русских местоимений в контекстах контрфактического тождества: опыт корпусного исследования
This paper is a first step towards a corpus-based description of the semantics of Russian pronouns in intensional contexts. Having justified the use of corpus in (formal) semantic research, I delineate a particular issue within the topic: whether a given pronoun is interpreted de se or de re in counteridentity contexts.
A counteridentity context is a clause within the scope of a counterfactual (clause or adverbial) that affects the identity of a real individual, e.g. if I were you, were I you, etc. If a pronoun such as I, my or the Russian reflexive possessive svoj is used in such a context, two options are theoretically possible: either it picks out the speaker’s real self (de re), or it refers to the identity assumed by the speaker in the contrary-to-fact situations introduced by the counterfactual (de se).
Using data from the GICR corpus (approx. 20 billion tokens), I show that for the Russian first-person singular pronoun ja and its corresponding possessive moj, de se reference is possible but de re interpretation is more frequent. The opposite holds for the reflexive sebja, whereas svoj is interpreted de se with no exception. Special attention is paid to situations where more than one referential strategy is possible. The paper concludes with a couple of observations relevant for the future formal accounts of de se reference.