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Bookmark and Share Paper 3023

Context Sensitive Unaccusativity in Russian and Italian
Zhanna Glushan and Andrea Calabrese
207-217 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


One of the most puzzling challenges for the original formulation of the Unaccusativity Hypothesis (Perlmutter (1978), Burzio (1981), (1986)) is the non-uniformity of the two intransitive verb classes. The arguments pointed to are emprirical: the intransitive verb classes in many languages are sensitive to factors that go beyond unaccusativity per se (Rizzi and Belletti (1982), Lonzi (1986), Van Valin (1990), Partee et al. (2011) among others). In this paper, we make a parallel between the puzzling pieces of data in Russian and Italian, whereby verbs that are typically described as unergative, in the presence of a Locative PP and/or an explicit existential context, can reveal unaccusativity properties (Genitive of Negation and Locative Inversion for Russian; ne-cliticisation for Italian). The analysis appeals to the idea of a Perspective Structure (Partee and Borschev (2002), Partee et al. (2011)) which serves as a mechanism underlying the choice between the two alternating argument structures. The two argument structures are argued to be distinct in the position of a Loc PP and are disambiguated by Loc Inv, Gen of Neg in Russian, and ne-cliticization, as well as bare plural subjects in Italian.

Published in

Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00