The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

24.943 Topics in the Syntax and Semantics of Slavic

Instructors: David Pesetsky & Sergei Tatevosov
Time: Thursday 2-5
Place: (32-D461)
Course website: here

This class will explore in depth several interconnected semantic and syntactic phenomena of the Slavic language group, in very much the spirit of “More Advanced Syntax” and comparable classes in semantics. After a quick survey of the language family, we will begin with a discussion of two broad topics that are fundamental to almost every other topic we might want to discuss in Slavic. The first of these is the internal structure of the verb stem, especially the rich system of verbal prefixation characteristic of Slavic. The second is the internal structure of the Slavic nominal phrase — where there is particularly lively debate about whether those Slavic languages that lack definite articles also lack a DP layer, as well as much discussion of the case systems found in all Slavic languages except Bulgarian and Macedonian.

After these topics have been discussed, we will look at a variety of puzzles found in Slavic (both semantic and syntactic) including: aspect; unaccusativity (and its interaction with case, especially the infamous genitive of negation); dative subjects; adjectives (which are morphologically and semantically complex across Slavic); as well scrambling; and the (also infamous) multiple-wh constructions.