The syntactic differences between long and short forms of Russian adjectives

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The present paper analyses the syntax of long- and short-form adjectives in Russian. I argue that the two morphological forms correspond to two syntactic structures. Long-form Russian adjectives appear as secondary predicates: they have an unbound theta-role that needs to be bound by a c-commanding DP. The phrasal projection of short-form adjectives, on the other hand, is a small clause with a nominative subject that bears the stem’s external theta role; the subject raises to the spec-position of the copula projection with which the short-form small clause obligatorily merges. The main analytical challenge is posed by examples with a copula, where both LF- and SF-adjectives can appear. I give detailed empirical evidence from agreement, constituency and other constructions that in combination with a copula long-form and short-form adjectives enter into different syntactic configurations.


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