Article published in:The Diachronic Typology of Non-Canonical Subjects
Edited by Ilja A. Seržant and Leonid Kulikov
[Studies in Language Companion Series 140] 2013
► pp. 55–72
The rise of oblique subjects in Russian
This paper explores the developmental paths of the u+GEN subject of the be-perfect in the dialects of northern Russia and the dative subject of the be-modal and be-existential constructions in standard Russian in the context of grammaticalization. In this paper, I show that the oblique subjects in question originate from adjunctive phrases denoting location and goal, which shifted to external arguments in the process of argument structure reduction. I construe the rise of these oblique subjects to be the result of the grammaticalization of P that generated and licensed the arguments: the P lost its thematic feature in this process while it maintained the grammatical (phi- and Case) features. Nominative subjects and oblique subjects differ in this respect, since the grammaticalization of P only takes place in the development of oblique subjects.
Published online: 29 November 2013