Russian verbs of order and permission: between obligatory control and ECM
Irina Burukina
July 2019

The paper presents and examines a previously undescribed puzzle concerning the syntactic distribution of Russian mandative verbs (velet’ ‘order’, razrešit’ ‘allow’) and non-verbal deontic modals: these predicates exhibit dual behavior as they embed non-finite clauses with either implicit obligatorily controlled (PRO) or overt referential (DP) subjects. This ambiguity holds for the same native speakers, and no detectable difference in terms of the Tense – Agreement characteristics or the structural size can be found between infinitival constituents with PRO / DP subjects. To account for this phenomenon, I propose, first, to analyze mandative verbs as lexical realizations of a verb of communication that embeds a silent deontic modal head; the latter, in turn, takes a clausal proposition as its complement. Second, I demonstrate that the reported DP / PRO alternation is described by the following generalization: An embedded overt referential subject is allowed only when there is no potential dative DP controller available within a higher clause. In the spirit of the traditional Case theory, I argue that an embedded lexical subject must be Case licensed, and, since non-finite clauses are Case deficient, licensing may only be done by a higher (matrix) functional head, namely Appl, which normally introduces an obligation Holder; thus, matrix Holders and lexical embedded subjects end up competing to match features of the same functional head. Furthermore, I show that, as no subject-to-object raising happens, long-distance Case assignment proceeds over a CP boundary.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004468
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: object control, ecm, mandative verbs, covert modality, russian, syntax, pro, dp/pro alternation, case
previous versions: v2 [January 2019]
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