The Syntax of Null Pronouns in Russian


  • Egor Tsedryk Saint Mary’s University


This paper focuses on null subjects in Russian root finite clauses, discussing the structural properties of referential and non-referential NS constructions. The question is: What is the structural position of a null pronoun (pro)? Hypothetically, the specifier of tense (Spec,TP) is a position where pro is licensed and interpreted (Rizzi 1986). Under the current assumptions, the licensing head is a complementizer (C), not an inflectional head with rich agreement. This is what Sigurðson (2011) calls “context linking,” implying that C is involved in extra-clausal context scanning and clause-internal C/edge linking. In Tsedryk (2015), I implement Sigurðson’s idea, proposing that pro is a bare matrix of  valued by C. Pro can also be viewed as a regular pronoun that is void of phonetic content (Holmberg 2005). Both approaches are discussed in section 3, where I scrutinize pro from a feature-geometric perspective. Sections 1 and 2 provide empirical background, introducing different types of NSs (section 1) and presenting intervention effects (between C and pro) in the context of Sigurðson’s C/edge linking generalization (section 2). As a theoretical framework, I assume a probe-goal model (e.g., Chomsky 2000 et seq.) and a non-cartographic architecture of the clausal spine with three functional categories (v, T and C). 



How to Cite

Tsedryk, E. (2015). The Syntax of Null Pronouns in Russian. Papers from the Annual Meetings of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association (PAMAPLA) ACTES DES COLLOQUES ANNUELS DE L’ASSOCIATION DE LINGUISTIQUE DES PROVINCES ATLANTIQUES (ACAALPA)., 38, 57. Retrieved from

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