The overgeneration problem and the case of semipredicatives in Russian

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Unlike ordinary adjectives, Russian <i>sam</i> &#8216;alone&#8217; and <i>odin</i> &#8216;one&#8217; (&#8220;semipredicatives&#8221;) are in the dative in infinitival non-obligatory control contexts but in obligatory control structures they must agree in case with their antecedents. This paper starts from the puzzle of avoiding overapplication of the mechanism for assigning dative &#8211; the standard assumption that dative arises through agreement with a PRODAT subject introduces a &#8220;look-ahead&#8221; problem. Approaches of Franks, Babby, Grebenyova, and Landau are considered, with the aim of unifying critical insights. It is argued that (i) there is no need to posit PRODAT; (ii) semipredicatives can be directly assigned dative whereas ordinary adjectives must agree; (iii) arguments have more sensitive case requirements than do adjuncts.


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