Autonomous bi-pronominal distributive constructions in Russian

2022. №4, 115-142

Valentina Apresjan
HSE University, Moscow, Russia; Vinogradov Russian Language Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;

Mikhail Kopotev
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;


The paper is devoted to one type of Russian distributive constructions with two interrogative pronouns, such as kto kuda lit. “who where”, kto o čëm lit. “who about what”, kogda kak lit. “when how”, which bear the meaning ‘diff erent Xs are characterized by diff erent Ys’. We discovered that the constructions without a predicate in the right context form a special type, which diff ers both from indirect distributive questions and quasi-relatives in their semantic, pragmatic, syntactic, and communicative properties. Based on corpus data, we show their historical development and modern usage, as well as describe the most frequent lexical variables which fi ll the construction. The conclusion is that the frequency, syntactic features, and degree of idiomatization have their own semantic, communicative, and pragmatic grounds.

For citation:

Apresjan V., Kopotev M. Autonomous bi-pronominal distributive constructions in Russian. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 4: 115–142.


The current research was partly supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education grant No. 075-15-2020-793. We thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.