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Exploring Nanosyntax$
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Lena Baunaz, Liliane Haegeman, Karen De Clercq, and Eric Lander

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190876746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190876746.001.0001

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Nanosyntax of Russian Verbal Prefixes

Nanosyntax of Russian Verbal Prefixes

(p.205) Chapter 8 Nanosyntax of Russian Verbal Prefixes
Exploring Nanosyntax

Inna Tolskaya

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the problem of widespread polysemy of Russian verbal prefixes and argues that multiple instantiations of a single prefix share a core conceptual meaning and receive the specific denotations as a function of its syntactic position. A link is demonstrated between the inner structure of a prefix and the PP complement of the prefixed verb, illustrated by five polysemous prefixes that demonstrate an asymmetry in admitting PP complements. Although goal prefixes allow only a goal PP, the more complex source prefixes are compatible with both source and goal, and even more route prefixes are compatible with both source and goal, in addition to route complements. Although the source–goal asymmetry has been pointed out for spatial prefixes before, the fact that the same asymmetry holds for nonspatial use is new and exciting and points to a structural identity of the spatial and nonspatial uses of a prefix.

Keywords:   prefixes, scales, paths, event decomposition, Superset Principle, spellout

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