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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

Open DownloadShare✕ The tendency of the Russian comitative construction to be interpreted collectively has raised a debate as to whether this construction denotes sums, like and-coordination, or denotes groups. I propose a more detailed mechanism explaining how the meaning of this construction is derived, and, relying on insights from the theory of possessives, I argue that the RCC should be treated as an instance of reciprocal conjunction. This more specific way to approach the RCC addresses the long-reported speakers’ intuition that this construction is best used when its members are “somehow related” or when the events in question occur in spatiotemporal proximity. Furthermore, my approach explains why the RCC can still be interpreted distributively when the abovementioned relatedness requirement is met, even as the collective interpretation might be strongly preferred.

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