University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


The aim of this paper is to explore the various problems which arise in Russian numeral constructions, focusing on the peculiar case patterns following the lower numerals 2, 3, and 4. After these numerals, nouns realize what looks like genitive singular morphology. However, this morphological realization is inconsistent, notably in accusative environments and lexical case environments. In order to explain these patterns, I propose that Russian lower numerals co-occur with paucal number, and not what is traditionally seen as singular morphology. While the idea of paucal number in Russian isnít necessarily novel, previous analyses of paucal number identify these basic patterns as instances of nominative paucal morphology (Bailyn & Nevins 2008, Rakhlin 2003). I argue that what we are seeing is paucal number with default genitive case (cf. Pesetsky 2013).

I posit that a structural feature set of [±oblique,±object] and the semantic/lexical feature set of [±f,±g] percolate through the NP differently, especially in lower numeral constructions (Assmann et. al 2014). Namely, I argue that numerals in Russian are unable to realize structural case features without a semantic feature set. Without this, structural cases are prevented from continuing through the phrase, resulting in something similar to a ëfailure-to-agreeí mechanism. With no case being assigned, the noun must default to genitive case. It is how the noun realizes this genitive case that is of particular interest to this paper. I that genitive paucal is largely syncretic with genitive singular, except in a few certain cases. Additionally, paucal lexical case morphology is syncretic with plural lexical case morphology due to an impoverishment of the [augmented] feature. I will demonstrate that these syncretism patterns account for all of the various problems discussed here.



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