The Lazy Speaker and the Fascination of Emptiness

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The paper presents an overview of different syntactic gaps in modern colloquial Russian, and focuses on so-called ‘syntactic emptiness’, i.e. the zero copula, the referential zero lexemes Øljudi and Østixii, the generic ‘you’ Øty2 and omission of verbs of action [ØV], taking into account the pragmatical impact of these phenomena (text economy, explicitness, politeness). In addition, the study provides an historical review of colloquial empty slots in Russian (on the example of Avvakum’s ‘Autobiography’) and approaches it from a typological perspective, specifically, by comparing it to West Slavic languages (Polish, Czech) as well as to other languages, which corroborates the idea of the “Eurasian orientation” of colloquial Russian. Keywords: syntactic emptiness; zero sign; ellipsis; colloquial Russian; typology


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