Proceedings of IATL 21

In this paper I examine the semantics of two phenomena that involve non-canonical genitive Case in Russian, Genitive of Negation and Intensional Genitive. Genitive of Negation is a well-documented phenomenon whereby a non-oblique internal argument of the verb can be optionally assigned genitive Case under negation. Intensional Genitive is a phenomenon whereby certain opaque verbs, such as zasluživat' (deserve), prosit' (ask for), ždat' (wait), etc., take genitive objects, as well as accusative ones, independently of negation. I demonstrate that the two phenomena share numerous properties, including sensitivity to the same semantic features, a considerable amount of variation in native speakers' judgments and similar cross-linguistic patterns of distribution. On the basis of these similarities I conclude that Genitive of Negation and Intensional Genitive correspond to instantiations of the same phenomenon, which I refer to as Modal Genitive.

I further propose that Modal Genitive is assigned to property-denoting NPs that occupy intensional complement positions. It cannot be assigned to NPs that refer to or quantify over individuals. The account is formulated in the terminology of properties as characterized by Zimmermann (1992). The paper demonstrates that this analysis accounts successfully for both semantic and distributional properties of genitive complements.

Finally, I demonstrate that genitive NPs share numerous distributional and semantic properties with subjunctive clauses, especially subjunctive relatives. It is the case that modal accounts are generally provided for subjunctive relative clauses and for the contrast between indicative clauses and subjunctive clauses in general (Farkas (1985), Giorgi and Pianesi (1997), among others). Thus, the similarity between subjunctive relatives and genitive NPs further supports the modal account of non-canonical genitive Case proposed in the paper.

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