Skip to main content

Formal mismatches and functional advantage in syntactic change: The case of Old and Middle Russian non-verbal predicates

Buy Article:

$36.18 plus tax (Refund Policy)


This paper relies on the idea that syntactic change stems from linguistic factors that are different in nature and, consequently, trigger different results. Specifically, I distinguish the causes, processes and results related to two different kinds of syntactic change, a ‘formal’ type of change vs. a ‘functional’ one. The hypotheses pursued here are the following: (i) Mismatches between the formal features a learner has acquired and certain data she receives during the language acquisition period lead to a syntactic change type, which restructures completely the syntactic derivation involved; (ii) The advantage of parsing one variant over parsing another triggers a different kind of change, namely one that affects specific instances or uses / registers of the crucial syntactic structure. To illustrate this, I analyze the role of functional advantage and formal changes in the historical development of the case system of Russian non-verbal predication.

Keywords: Middle Russian; Old Russian; case feature; formal mismatch; functional advantage; parsability; syntactic change; theta-role

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • International Journal for Historical Linguistics

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more