The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 5/2 - Kyongjoon Kwon (Sungkyunkwan University)

Speaker: Kyongjoon Kwon (Sungkyunkwan University)
Title: A phonologically null verb give in the Russian threat dative construction
Time: Thursday, 5/2, 12:30-1:50pm
Location: 32-D461

The central goal of this talk is to argue that the so-called Russian threat dative construction contains a phonologically null verb give. In the proposed ditransitive structure, the theme is an event denoted by a pronominalized verb that anaphorically refers to the verb phrase in the immediately previous speech. The pronominalized verb stem is phonologically realized through the incorporation of the null verb after a series of head movements. Under this proposal, the seemingly unmotivated or stipulated at the least dative case marked pronoun is well accounted for, i.e., as a recipient in the predication denoted by the ApplP. And the sentential meaning “I will give you/him/her/them back X ”, where X repeats a part of the previous speech, gives rise by implication to the threat effect. Finally, I propose that the posited null verb give, alongside overt forms, should be termed as “retortative” give, which expresses the idea of paying the interlocutor back with a similar response by retaliation.