Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 877–924

Two routes of control: evidence from case transmission in Russian

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-008-9054-0

Cite this article as:
Landau, I. Nat Language Linguistic Theory (2008) 26: 877. doi:10.1007/s11049-008-9054-0


The unpronounced subject of infinitives, PRO, bears standard case, which is reflected on agreeing predicative elements in languages like Russian, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, etc. This case can be independent from the case of the controller DP, or identical to it (‘case transmission’). We report the findings of a novel study of case transmission in Russian, based on data collected from 30 speakers. The findings contradict some key generalizations that have gone unchallenged in the field for decades; specifically, case transmission is much more prevalent than previously assumed, often co-occurring with the option of independent case. The pattern of case transmission is determined by the interaction of a complex set of factors—the grammatical function of the controller, the shape of the complementizer, the type of control relation (exhaustive or partial), and more. The proposed analysis builds on “The Agreement Model of Obligatory Control (OC)” (Landau 2000, 2004, 2006) and strongly supports the claim that OC exploits two routes—either a direct Agree relation with PRO, or one mediated by the infinitival C. It is derivationally local and free of the “look-ahead” properties inherent to earlier accounts. Finally, we provide a description of the documented crosslinguistic variation in this domain, and situate it within a tight typological model.


Obligatory control Case transmission Russian syntax PRO Partial control 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Literatures and LinguisticsBen Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael

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