Russian Linguistics

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 221–236 | Cite as

Case marking in Russian eventive nominalizations: inherent vs. dependent case theory

  • Asya Pereltsvaig
  • Ekaterina Lyutikova
  • Anastasia Gerasimova


In recent years, two theories have been advocated in the syntactic literature with respect to case assignment mechanisms, and this paper tests them based on new empirical material from Russian. One theory, advocated by Woolford and others, is Inherent Case Theory (ICT), which views case as an overt reflection of a relationship between a given noun phrase and a (usually functional) head. The other theory, known as Dependent Case Theory (DCT) and advocated most recently by Baker and Bobaljik, views case as a reflection of a relationship between noun phrases in a given structural domain. In this paper, we test the two theories against the findings of two experimental studies conducted by us on eventive nominalizations in Russian. In such nominalizations, transitive / agentive subjects are marked by the instrumental, whereas objects / internal arguments are marked by the genitive. We call into question whether in these types of nominalizations, an agentive subject that is not accompanied by an internal argument that needs a case is marked by the instrumental (as predicted by ICT) or the genitive (as predicted by DCT). Having tested this in two experimental studies, we argue that only one of these theories, the ICT, can account for our empirical findings in a complete and coherent way.

Падежное маркирование в русских событийных номинализациях: ингерентный или зависимый падеж


В этой статье на новом эмприческом материале из русского языка тестируются две теории приписывания падежа, представленные в современной синтаксической литературе. Одна теория, связанная с именами Э. Вулфорд и других исследователей,—это теория ингерентного падежа, рассматривающая падеж как экспонент синтаксической связи между именной группой и некоторой (обычно функциональной) вершиной. Другая теория—теория зависимого падежа—отстаивается в недавних работах М. Бейкера и Дж. Бобальика; в этой теории падеж отражает соотношение именных групп в некоторой структурной области. В статье мы проводим эмпирическую проверку данных теорий, используя результаты проведенных нами экспериментальных исследований русских событийных номинализаций. В таких номинализациях переходные (агентивные) подлежащие маркируются инструменталисом, а дополнения / внутренние аргументы—генитивом. Мы задаемся вопросом, какое маркирование получает агентивный внешний аргумент в номинализации, где внутренний аргумент отсутствует либо не нуждается в структурном падеже. Теория ингерентного падежа предсказывает в таком случае инструменталис, теория зависимого падежа—генитив. На основе двух экспериментов мы показываем, что только теория ингерентного падежа может последовательно объяснить эмпирические данные русского языка.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asya Pereltsvaig
    • 1
  • Ekaterina Lyutikova
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anastasia Gerasimova
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Independent scholarSanta ClaraUSA
  2. 2.Moscow State University (MSU)MoscowRussia
  3. 3.Moscow Pedagogical State University (MPSU)MoscowRussia

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