Slavisches Seminar



25. Juli: "How are Constructions Born? Another Look at Russian Paucal Numerals"

Gastvortrag von Prof. Dr. Tore Nesset (Tromsø), 12:15, Hörsaal 426

How are constructions born? Another look at Russian paucal numerals


How are constructions born? The present article addresses this question on the basis of a large-scale corpus study of Russian numeral constructions consisting of a paucal numeral (dva ‘two’, tri ‘three’, četyre ‘four’) followed by an adjective and a noun, and offers a threefold contribution to diachronic Construction Grammar. First, on the empirical level it sheds new light on the development of Russian numeral constructions, showing that a new feminine paucal construction was born in the twentieth century when feminine nouns developed a different agreement pattern. Second, on the theoretical level it is argued that rival forms, i.e. forms that seem to be used interchangeably, can lead to the emergence of new constructions, and that this development may take the form of cascading s-curves. Finally, on the methodological level the present study shows that the statistical models Classification and Regression Tree (CART) and Random Forest are valuable tools in diachronic Construction Grammar.