Universiteit Leiden

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PPI-disjunctions in Russian

  • Pavel Rudnev (University of Groningen)
Thursday 15 September 2016
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


We know since at least Szabolcsi (2002) that disjunction markers in certain languages display remarkable similarities with some in English, similarities attributable to both groups of elements’ status as positive polarity items. In the case of disjunction, this translates into the inability of disjunction to scope under a local sentential negation leading to violations of De Morgan’s laws: He doesn’t speak Russian or German in Russian can under certain circumstances be interpreted as a disjunction of negations, the narrow scope reading being unavailable. The current consensus in the literature seems to be that positive polarity is a semantic phenomenon. In this talk I suggest that positive polarity has an important syntactic component, which I show by revisiting the locality of (anti-)licensing, rescuing, the phrasal vs. clausal coordination as well as overt movement and scope in Russian.

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