Pseudo-Incorporation in Russian? Aspectual Competition and Bare Singular Interpretation

in The Syntax and Semantics of Pseudo-Incorporation
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Abstract

Russian imperfective sentences can be used to express quite different from each other interpretations, among them being the so-called (general-)factual interpretation. The article deals with bare singular noun phrases that appear as direct objects in Russian factual imperfectives. In the first part it is shown that these bare singulars behave like pseudo-incorporating, which means that they satisfy all of the conditions that pseudo-incorporating nominals are standardly considered to satisfy: they show number neutrality, have narrow scope with respect to negation, are reduced in discourse transparency, provide bad support for subsequent pronouns and give rise to establishedness effects. In the second part an analysis is presented that explains these “pseudo incorporation effects”. It is argued that factual imperfectives come with a specific information structure at the level of VP. Focus is exclusively on event realization, implying that the whole information about the kind of event realized is backgrounded. Under the assumption that backgrounded information is presupposed, constituents of the VP therefore contribute to the formation of the presupposed event kind. Bare singular direct objects are, accordingly, doomed to be interpreted at the kind-level, which can explain the above noted effects.