Segmenting the LOCUS on the Affectedness Continuum

Olga T. Yokoyama, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper proposes that in addition to the traditional semantic role of Experiencer, there is evidence in Russian for a role that can be characterized as "Judge", which occurs in contexts partially overlapping with those in which the verb selects an Experiencer argument. Both roles share the locus nature of the actants on Chvany's (1996, Selected Essays, Ch. 7) Continuum of Affectedness, and their scalar relationship supports Chvany's continuum approach to semantic/thematic roles.

The proposed analysis of predicatives is based on the claim that constructions like Emu veselo katat&soft;sja are analyzable as [Emui veselo [emui katat'sja]]. Predicatives like veselo s–select Experiencer arguments and assign them dative case. (It is irrelevant, for the purposes of this paper, if the dative nominals in the infinitive clauses are syntactically "indirect objects"). Predicatives like stydno, on the other hand, select both Experiencer and Judge, resulting in the ambiguity of Emu stydno kurit&soft;, analyzable as either [Emui stydno [emui kurit']] 'He is embarrassed to smoke' or [[Emui kurit'] PROj stydno] 'It's a shame that he smokes'. The PRO in the second sentence is not specifiable, and the responsibility for the assertion of the predicate is lies with a generic Judge (obobshchennyj sub"ekt suzhdenija). If the Judge PRO is a specific nominal that is not co–referential with the subject of the infinitive in the infinitive clause, the subject clause must be a finite embedded sentence introduced by a complementizer: Ej stydno, chto on kurit. Cf. Ja xochu kupit'... vs. Ja xochu, chtoby ty kupil... Other verbs may select only Experiencers or only Judges, or neither of them.

The proposed hypothesis bears on several previously studied issues. While concurring with the widely accepted subject status of dative nominals in infinitive clauses, the proposed analysis of sentences like Emu veselo bylo katat'sja, i.e., [Emui veselo bylo [emui katat'sja]], suggests a parallel analysis of Ran'she tut bylo nikomu ne projti as [Ran'she tut bylo [nikomu ne projti]], thus eliminating various problems with the recently disputed status of bylo (Moore and Perlmutter 1999, JSL 7.2). On the semantic side, the transitional nature of the semantic roles, as reflected in the instantiations of Experiencer and Judge in sentence structure, appears to be further supported by the ultimate absence of either role with certain predicatives of the class of kategorija sostojanija: cf. (*Emu) znojno or (*Ej) grex, chto otec kurit (Zaitseva 1990, in "Harvard Studies in Slavic Linguistics", vol. 1). The set of predicatives examined in this paper provides significant evidence in favor of the scalar approach to semantic roles proposed by Chvany.