Russian Adversity Impersonals and Split Ergativity

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Most of the numerous studies on Russian Adversity Impersonals (e.g. <i>lodku uneslo vetrom</i>) focus on the formal make-up of these constructions and/or on their semantics. This article aims at describing Russian Adversity Impersonals from a typological point of view by linking them with ergativity. It shows that the conditions under which Adversity Impersonals occur correspond in many ways to the factors determining case assignment in languages with split ergativity. To account for the occurrence of Adversity Impersonals in Slavic, other characteristics of the Slavic languages disposing of this type of impersonal construction are discussed and compared to characteristics of languages with ergative splits. Keywords: Adversity Impersonals; Russian; ergativity; split ergativity; relational typology; East Slavic; have- and be-languages


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