Browsing by Author "Ahti, Nikunlassi"

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  • Ahti, Nikunlassi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Relative Constructions with Pronominal Heads in Contemporary Russian Chapter 1 introduces the distinctive syntactic and semantic properties of Russian relative constructions (RCs), which are then divided into two main classes according to the type of the head phrase. The study concentrates on RCs with pronominal heads, which are systematically compared with noun-headed RCs. Chapter 2 clarifies the categorization of pronouns in Russian. The conclusion is that Russian pronouns include only personal, reflexive and wh-pronouns. The remaining words that are traditionally seen as pronouns are actually functional equivalents of determiners. This idea leads to the suggestion that RCs with these determiner-like words as the only constituent of the head phrase are actually headed by zero pronouns. In the other type of RCs with pronominal heads, the head position is occupied by wh-pronouns with clitics expressing different types of indefiniteness and quantification. Comparison of the two types of pronoun-headed RCs shows that the wh-heads and zero-heads share a number of common properties with respect to the grammatical gender, number and person as well as to the semantic distinction between animates and inanimates. The rest of Chapter 2 gives an overview of various uses of wh-pronouns in Russian and an experimental analysis of RCs headed by pronominal adverbs. Chapter 3 discusses fundamental differences between RCs with noun and pronominal heads. One of the main findings is that the choice of the relative pronoun (kto 'who' and chto 'what' versus kotoryj 'which') is motivated by a tendency to reproduce maximally the essential grammatical and semantic properties of the antecedent. Chapter 4 gives a detailed description of the determiner-like words and wh-based heads used in the two types of RCs with pronominal heads. In addition, several issues related to the syntax and semantics of free relatives are discussed. The conclusion is that there is no need to establish a separate category of free relatives in Russian. Chapter 5 discusses the syntax and semantics of correlative and free concessive constructions. They share a number of properties with pronoun-headed RCs and the two are often confused in Russian linguistics. However, a detailed analysis shows that these constructions must be distinguished from RCs. The study combines the methods of functionally-oriented Russian structuralism with some insights from generative syntax.