Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 597–674 | Cite as

Parametric properties of numeral phrases in Slavic

  • Steven Franks


Numeral phrases in Russian display many unusual morphosyntactic properties, e.g., (i) the numeral sometimes assigns genitive (GEN-Q) to the following noun and sometimes agrees with it and (ii) the numeral phrase sometimes induces subject-verb agreement and sometimes does not. In this paper existing analyses of these properties are parametrized to accommodate related phenomena in other Slavic languages. First, Babby's (1987) proposal that GEN-Q is structural in Russian is shown not to extend to Serbo-Croatian, where it must be analyzed as inherent. Second, Pesetsky's (1982) idea that Russian numeral phrases may be either QPs or NPs also does not extend to Serbo-Croatian, where these are only NPs. This set of assumptions explains a range of seemingly unrelated facts about the behavior of numeral phrases in the two languages. Pesetsky's analysis is recast in terms of more recent hypotheses about phrase structure: (i) NPs are actually embedded in DPs and (ii) subjects are D-Structure VP-specifiers. Proposal (i) allows for a more explanatory analysis of GEN-Q assignment and proposal (ii) accounts for several distinctions between QP and NP subjects within Russian, also motivating the absence of these distinctions in Serbo-Croatian. Finally, it is shown that Polish can be assimilated to the proposed system.


Artificial Intelligence Explanatory Analysis Related Phenomenon Phrase Structure Parametric Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Franks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsIndiana UniversityBloomington

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