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Ambivalent Adpositions and "P-stranding" in Russian

Доклад Татьяны Филипповой на научном семинаре лингвистической лаборатории

The phenomenon of preposition stranding (e.g. the English Who are you talking to_? That’s exactly what I’m talking about_) is typologically rare. Nevertheless, many languages exhibit phenomena that look like P-stranding (Kaiser 2012, Poplack, Zentz, Dion 2012, Roberge 2012, on orphan prepositions in French; Campos 1991 on object-less prepositions in Spanish) or involve P-stranding under common theorizing (McCloskey 1986; Szczegielniak 2008, Stjepanović 2008, 2012, Rodrigues, Nevins and Vicente 2009; Sato 2013; Nicolae 2012; Nykiel 2013; Philippova 2014 on elliptical phenomena). These studies as well as Abels (2003) argue that these are not instances of actual stranding and provide alternative treatments of the data. The talk will address Russian prepositions that can be postposed to their complement and exhibit apparent stranding (Podobryaev 2009), e.g. naperekor ‘counter to’, vopreki ‘in spite of’, navstreču ‘towards’. I show that they are not prepositions (P-heads), but P-N combinations and, though not productively strandable, do systematically occur as postpositions. I explain why only a subset of P-N adpositions in Russian allow postpositioning, appealing to the mechanism by which their notional complement is assigned case.