Pied-piping in Russian relative clauses: A microdiachronic analysis

2021. №4, 42-71

Olga E. Pekelis
Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; HSE University, Moscow, Russia; opekelis@gmail.com


This paper presents an analysis of the pied-piping phenomenon in Russian relative clauses in the 18th–19th centuries and in present-day Russian. As is well-known, the relative pronoun kotoryj ‘which’ tended to precede its pied-piped head in the 18th–19th centuries and tends to follow it today. This difference, which has mainly been investigated for relativization on genitives, is demonstrated to be valid for a number of heterogeneous syntactic contexts. I propose to account for the syntactic shift undergone by the Russian relative clauses since the 19th century in terms of a more general shift in information structure: I argue that the linear order of the relative pronoun and its head that was acceptable in Russian two centuries ago, is now in contradiction with the modern inventory of felicitous information structure patterns.

For citation:

Pekelis O. E. Pied-piping in Russian relative clauses: A microdiachronic analysis. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2021, 4: 42–71.


This research has been supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation within the Agreement No. 075-15-2020-793.