The role of non-canonical subjects in the overall grammar of a language. A case study of Russian.

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Abstract

We offer a model of Russian core syntax in terms of a radial category network of constructions. The prototype corresponds to Langacker’s “canonical event model”, namely a prototypical transitive event, and more peripheral constructions are related to it via metaphor and metonymy. From this perspective we focus on non-canonical subjects marked in the dative case, highlighting the complex interaction of lexical items (verbs) with constructions, and building on our previous work on case and infinitives. We hypothesize that a speaker’s perception of cause may be influenced by the use of non-canonical subjects (in Russian) rather than canonical subjects (in English) and present the results of an experiment. We are unable to prove any conclusive effect, but show the importance and need for further testing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSubjects in Constructions – Canonical and Non-Canonical
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Pages293–317
Volume16
ISBN (Electronic)9789027269188
ISBN (Print)9789027204387
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameConstructional Approaches to Language
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Volume16

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