Sofia Kasyanenko successfully defended her dissertation, Varieties of Collectivity, on Tuesday, August 28. Congratulations, Dr. Kasyanenko!
Committee: Chris Barker and Lucas Champollion (co-advisors), Sophia Malamud (Brandeis), Kate Ritchie (CUNY), and Anna Szabolcsi
My dissertation examines the various ways in which a noun phrase can be interpreted collectively. It explores two comitative constructions in Russian that do not exist in English, the with-construction and the together-with construction, as well as the construction involving the adnominal vmeste ‘together’. All these constructions are usually interpreted collectively, but I show that their collective interpretation is derived via three different mechanisms.
(1) a. Masha s Petej ispekli pirog. (with-construction)
M.NOM with P.INST baked.PL pie
‘Maria and Peter baked a pie’.
b. Masha vmeste s Petej ispekli pirog. (together-with construction)
M.NOM together with P.INST baked.PL pie
‘Maria and Peter baked a pie’.
c. Masha i Petia vmeste ispekli pirog. (adnominal vmeste)
M.NOM and P.INST together baked.PL pie
‘Maria and Peter together baked a pie’.
I give a new account of the the with-construction. I show that the behavior of the with-construction cannot be explained by the group approach or treated as a case of and-coordination. I propose that the with-construction should be analyzed as a case of relational noun coordination. My analysis is based on the idea that the with-construction is interpreted as a sum of its individual members that are related to each other via certain relations supplied by the context. My account explains both the long-reported speakers’ intuition that this construction is best used when the individuals in question are “somehow related” and the tendency for this construction to be interpreted collectively.
I introduce what I call the together-with construction, another comitative construction in Russian, which has not been discussed in literature before. I show that this construction patterns with group nouns such as komanda (‘team’) and argue that it should be analyzed similarly to them. I propose that the together-with construction should be seen as an example of group coordination. That is, I claim that the together-with construction denotes an impure atom.
I explore the adnominal use of vmeste ‘together’. Based on its incompatibility with reciprocals and distributive predicates, I argue that noun phrases modified by vmeste ‘together’ should not be viewed as equivalent to any of the above constructions. Rather, the adnominal use of vmeste ‘together’ imposes certain restrictions on verbal events yielding a collective interpretation of the sentence. I claim that adnominal vmeste ‘together’ requires that every member of the plurality in question contribute to a verbal event, and that none of these contribution events be in the denotation of the verb.
These three constructions interact differently with different types of predicates: the with-construction is compatible with all types of predicates, the together-with construction is incompatible with reciprocal predicates, and adnominal vmeste ‘together’ is incompatible with distributive predicates or reciprocal predicates. I explain the incompatibility of the together-with construction with reciprocal predicates by the atomic nature of this construction. I propose a new meaning for the adnominal vmeste ‘together’, which explains its incompatibility with reciprocals and distributive predicates. Finally, I approach various ways to classify collective predicates. In an experimental study, I show that incompatibility with adnominal vmeste ‘together’ correlates with covert reciprocity of the predicate.