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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2018, Vol. 49, No. 4, Pages 741-779
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00288)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Focus on Russian Scope: An Experimental Investigation of the Relationship between Quantifier Scope, Prosody, and Information Structure
Article PDF (1.57 MB)
Abstract
An experimental investigation of quantifier scope in Russian SVO and OVS sentences, in which the factors of word order, prosody, information structure, and indefinite form are manipulated, shows that native Russian speakers have a preference for surface scope under neutral prosody, though this preference is more pronounced with odin ‘one’ indefinites than with dva ‘two’ indefinites. Furthermore, contrastive focus on the fronted object QP in OVS order is found to facilitate the inverse scope reading, but contrastive focus on the subject in SVO order is not. These findings have implications for the syntactic analysis of noncanonical word order in Russian (Bailyn 2011, Slioussar 2013) and support the link between contrastive focus and scope reconstruction in Russian (Ionin 2003, Neeleman and Titov 2009).