A multifactorial analysis of the Russian adversity impersonal construction

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The adversity impersonal construction involves two arguments: an accusative and an instrumental. The order of these two elements is investigated with the help of 669 examples taken from a Russian corpus, and the analysis shows that the primary determinants of the word order are the pronominality of the accusative argument and the length difference between the arguments. These results are consistent with the idea that fast recognition of the sentential structure is a primary factor in sentence processing. A less influential, but still significant, variable is the animacy of the accusative—when the accusative is animate it is more prone to precede the instrumental argument. This finding shows that animacy directly affects word order in Russian
Original languageEnglish
JournalRussian Linguistics
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014

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