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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