Impersonalization in Slavic

a corpus-based study of impersonalization strategies in six Slavic languages


  • Anastasia Bauer University of Cologne


human impersonal constructions, corpus linguistics


This paper gives a comprehensive overview of how impersonalization is expressed in Slavic. It presents the results of a comparative corpus study, outlining all possible strategies for expressing impersonalization in six Slavic languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, and Polish), using German man as a filter. This paper shows on the basis of a random sample of over 5,000 translated sentences which impersonalization means Slavic languages use to express propositional content expressed by the pronoun man in German. Additionally, this pilot study answers two questions: (1) How do Slavic languages differ in the distribution of these impersonalization strategies? and (2) Are there major translation effects? The main findings are an outline of a cross-Slavic set of impersonalization strategies that reveals significant differences between the Slavic languages in the distribution of man-equivalents and a highly significant impact of the source language on the choice of the impersonalization strategy in translation.




How to Cite

Bauer, A. “Impersonalization in Slavic: A Corpus-Based Study of Impersonalization Strategies in Six Slavic Languages”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 29, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 123-78,