Article published in:The Diachrony of Infinitival Patterns: Their origin, development and loss
Edited by Ulrike Demske and Łukasz Jędrzejowski
[Journal of Historical Linguistics 5:1] 2015
► pp. 139–174
The decline of non-finiteness as a syntactic mechanism for embedding in East Slavic
This article focuses on how and why non-finite structures weakened as a productive device for embedding in East Slavic and became replaced by an alternative system of finite CPs in many syntactic contexts. The relevant structures analyzed here are infinitive clauses and participial (absolute) constructions. Both constructions were available in almost any embedded context in early Slavic (Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian). However, in later stages (Middle Russian and Modern Russian) embedded infinitive constructions became severely restricted, while absolute constructions disappeared altogether. In order to account for this change, I review a series of conditions that preceded the decline process analyzed here and propose a final trigger for the emergence of a new system of non-finiteness in modern Russian; namely, I explore the possibility that the change in the pro-drop character of Russian turned embedded infinitive clauses into Obligatory Control structures, and forced every other non-finite structure to be replaced by an alternative (finite) embedding device.
Keywords: East Slavic, Russian, dative subjects, pro-drop, syntactic change, embedded structures, non-finiteness, infinitive clauses, absolute constructions
Published online: 28 August 2015
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