Svetlana Sokolova: PhD project

Dissertation title: “Asymmetries in Linguistic Construal: Russian Prefixes and the Locative Alternation”

Supervisor: Laura A. Janda


The present dissertation is an empirical corpus study of Russian Locative Alternation verbs, such as gruzit’ ‘load’, which appear both in the Theme-Object (load the hay onto the truck) and the Goal-Object (load the truck with hay) constructions. In addition to the semantics of the verb and the syntactic structures at stake, we study the way both of them can be modified. We show that the semantics of verbal roots should be described in terms of classifying Themes and Goals, which facilitates a more fine-grained description of verbal semantics. Our data provide evidence that in addition to the Theme-Object and the Goal-Object constructions, four adjacent constructions are pertinent to the phenomenon. We show the relations among these relevant constructions by presenting them in constructional maps that illustrate the network of constructions that is typical for each verb. As additional factors, we observe the contribution of the prefixes za-, na-, and po- and three basic modifications of constructions, which so far have not been the focus of the research on the Locative Alternation: metaphorical extensions, reduction within constructions (when one of the participants is omitted), elaboration (i.e. interaction with other constructions). A logistic regression analysis explores the statistical relationships among factors.

Defense: September 24, 2012.

Committee: Mirjam Fried (Charles University), Tuomas Huumo (University of Turku), Antonio Fabregas (UiT)

Available at MUNIN:

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