Knig pjat' vs Knig - pjat': A valency analysis
This study is an attempt to perform a valency analysis of two Russian constructions which differ only on the suprasegmental level: the noun phrase knig pjat' (‘approximately five books’) and the sentence Knig – pjat' (‘As to books, there are five of them’). In the semantic representation of the NP the additional meaning indicated in the translation is accounted for by the introduction of a suprasegmental one-place predicate
(inversion), taking the numeral as its argument. In the sentence, the pause
signals a contrastive meaning (‘books, as opposed to, for instance, journals’).
Of more interest and importance, however, is the enigmatic use of
genitive plural also in combinations with the numerals 2-4, which otherwise
take the genitive singular. It is suggested that numerals take two arguments,
one naming the actual set of, for instance, five books, the other
naming the set of all possible books. As a rule, the bigger set is expressed
by means of a preposition phrase, but in this particular construction it is
expressed by the initial genitive plural form.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
SeriePoljarnyj Vestnik, 8(2005)pp 20-29
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