Doubled preposition in NPs

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Fri Jul 14 11:41:55 UTC 2006

Dear Östen,

I just checked your examples with an Russian informant (from Novosibirsk).  
First: she confirmed - quite in accordance with what you say - that  
constructions like 'v moem v gorle' 'in my THROAT' are typical for  
folktales and so on, but do nevertheless sometimes occur in convernsation  
for emphasis.
But (and second): When I asked her to read your examples, she made two  
things: a) a audible break between e.g. 'v moem' and 'v gorle', and b) she  
stressed 'v gorle' emphatically. In addition, she made two gestures: a) 'v  
moem' > hand towards stomach, b) 'v gorle' > hand towards throat. This as  
well as the fact that 'moem' is marked for 'referential incflection'  
suggests to me that we (still) have to deal with two referential units.  
The relation between them would then in fact be appositional ('in my one,  
in the throat'), meronymic (whole->part) in nature. But you are right: As  
soon as the features I have mentioned disappear canonically, we would  
arrive at a 'doubled preposition construction'. It would be good to know  
whether there are examples of such a construction, in which the attribute  
is clearly non-referential (e.g. without nominal agreement -> group  
inflection). Personally, I do not know of any language that would allow  
this type [Old Armenian may be a candidate], but that does not mean  
anything... :-)
Best wishes,

Östen Dahl wrote:

Wolfgang asks: "Doesn't the Russian phrase you quote represent an
appositional chain [each of the terms kolleg, nashij, and Andrej Shevchenko
have strong referential properties]?"

Well, I must admit that I don't have native intuitions here. I would guess
that there is indeed more emphasis on each of the constituents here, but on
the other hand, if this becomes more or less the standard construction, as  
think it is in some kinds of folk poetry, the emphasis will disappear. Cf.
the following examples (not exactly folk poetry):

Poka na nashem na sajte ochen' malen'kij arxiv igr...
So_far on our.M.DAT.SG on site very small archive game.GEN.PL
'So far we have a very small game archive on our site'

Chto-to v moem v gorle zastrjalo...
Something in my.M.LOC.SG in throat.LOC.SG stick.PST.N.SG
'Something stuck in my throat'

I don't think these are really appositional chains.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
Institut für Allgemeine und Typologische Sprachwissenschaft
[General Linguistics and Language Typology]
Department für Kommunikation und Sprachen / F 13.14
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 Muenchen
Tel.: ++49-(0)89-2180 2486 (secretary)
         ++49-(0)89-2180 5343 (office)
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E-mail (1): W.Schulze at
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