Two Routes of Control: Evidence from Case Transmission in Russian

Idan Landau

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72 Scopus citations


The unpronounced subject of infinitives, PRO, bears standard case, which is reflected on agreeing predicative elements in languages like Russian, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, etc. This case can be independent from the case of the controller DP, or identical to it ('case transmission'). We report the findings of a novel study of case transmission in Russian, based on data collected from 30 speakers. The findings contradict some key generalizations that have gone unchallenged in the field for decades; specifically, case transmission is much more prevalent than previously assumed, often co-occurring with the option of independent case. The pattern of case transmission is determined by the interaction of a complex set of factors-the grammatical function of the controller, the shape of the complementizer, the type of control relation (exhaustive or partial), and more. The proposed analysis builds on "The Agreement Model of Obligatory Control (OC)" (Landau 2000, 2004, 2006) and strongly supports the claim that OC exploits two routes-either a direct Agree relation with PRO, or one mediated by the infinitival C. It is derivationally local and free of the "look-ahead" properties inherent to earlier accounts. Finally, we provide a description of the documented crosslinguistic variation in this domain, and situate it within a tight typological model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-924
Number of pages48
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Case transmission
  • Obligatory control
  • PRO
  • Partial control
  • Russian syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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