The Competition of Arb Constructions in Polish


  • Maria Katarzyna Prenner University of Cologne
  • Daniel Bunčić University of Cologne


impersonal constructions, aspect, tense, register, human impersonal pronouns


Polish has three quasi-synonymous impersonal constructions: the -no/-to construction, the reflexive impersonal, and the 3pl impersonal. This raises the question of what the differences between them are and how one of them is selected. This paper presents the results of an acceptability judgment test, which is informed by an explorative corpus study and examines the following factors: colloquial vs. neutral register; perfective vs. imperfective aspect; present tense vs. preterite; and generic vs. specific reading. The main findings are that the 3pl impersonal turned out to be better in colloquial discourse and the reflexive impersonal is much more acceptable with the imperfective than with the perfective aspect. Furthermore, the corpus data and the acceptability judgments show numerically that both reflexive and 3pl impersonal have a certain tendency towards present tense and generic reading, and that the -no/-to construction is more typical with the perfective than the imperfective aspect.

Author Biography

Maria Katarzyna Prenner, University of Cologne

PhD student in the project B01 "Prominence phenomena in Slavic languages", led by Daniel BunÄić, within the Collaborative Research Center "Prominence in Language" at the University of Cologne




How to Cite

Prenner, M. K., and D. Bunčić. “The Competition of Arb Constructions in Polish”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 29, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 201–220,