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Title:Approximation in Russian and the single-word constraint
Authors:Loren Billings
Comment:1995 Princeton University dissertation. Chapter 6 is an Optimality-theoretic analysis
Abstract:Russian quantifiers are known for their complexity. This dissertation investigates expressions of indefinite quantity--specifically, accusative-assigning s 'about' of approximate measure.

This preposition has undergone a somewhat unique diachronic change which now requires that its complement consist of only a single word. I chronicle the advent of the single-word restriction (LONE-WD), showing historical data with multi-word complements of s. Adjective-noun and numeral-noun complements were once attested; Russian now requires only one word after s.

This study investigates various apparent exceptions to LONE-WD, which are violated only under very specific circumstances. These exceptions clarify the morphosyntax of

-- paucal numerals ('two' through 'four' and the fractions pol 'half' and ˇcetvert' 'quarter'),

-- 'prequantifier' adjectives,

-- syntactic compounds (adjective-noun sequences which inflect separately but are treated by the syntax as a single word), and

-- large-quantity numbers (tysjaˇca 'thousand' and greater).

Distributions of special genitive-singular and -plural forms, assigned only by quantifiers, are shown to be distinct: Only paucal numerals in morphological nominative case assign 'ADPAUCAL' genitive-singular forms (such as end-stressed ˇcaSA 'hours'); a number of elements, not just numerals, trigger 'COUNT' genitive plural forms (ˇcelovek 'people'). Other constructions discussed include okolo 'approximately', approximative inversion, `etak 'about', and neskol'ko 'several':

Quantification is not a syntactic category but a semantic feature for which okolo is unmarked; okolo is quantificational only if its sister is a quantifier. Otherwise okolo is merely proximative: 'near'. Tests confirm that quantificational okolo heads a prepositional phrase within the noun phrase. While most prepositional quantifiers have this structure, accusative-assigning s is the relativized head of a hybrid phrase due to featural deficiencies.

Numeral-noun complements of s undergo approximative inversion--the noun moving to specifier position--to circumvent LONE-WD. Approximative inversion is likewise subject to a variant of LONE-WD, which requires a single PROSODIC word in the quantified constituent. When inversion is impossible a pleonastic count noun is inserted instead.

An Optimality-theoretic model is proposed, formalizing LONE-WD and constraints requiring prosodic contiguity and exceptions to LONE-WD caused by words expressing more closely defined measure.
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Syntax, Morphology, Formal Analysis
Article:Version 1