Dwaj panowie przyszli or dwóch panów przyszło?

The agreement resolution of quantified subjects in Polish against the background of Russian and Croatian/Serbian

Authors

  • Katrin Susanne Schlund University of Trier

Keywords:

semantic agreement, grammatical agreement, non-canonical subjects, oblique subjects, quantified subjects, numeral phrases

Abstract

In Russian, agreement with quantified subjects varies between plural (=semantic) and singular (=grammatical, default, impersonal) agreement, and there is ample evidence that this variation is governed by semantic and pragmatic factors (such as, for instance, topicality and animacy of the subject). Although Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian follows stricter normative rules, variation does occur, and is motivated similarly to Russian. Polish seems at odds with the paradigm of these languages. First, the grammar of contemporary Polish does not allow for variation in agreement with quantified subjects. Second, semantic agreement is available only with non-virile nouns in paucal numbers, while virile nouns require grammatical agreement (e.g., dwie kobiety przyszły.PL, ‘two women came’ but dwóch mężczyzn przyszło.SG ‘two men came’). This paper offers a way to integrate the Polish data into the Russian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian picture by drawing on historical and contemporary empirical evidence. Specifically, it offers a short analysis of variation between the nominative and oblique masculine forms of paucal numbers (dwaj vs. dwóch).

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Published

2021-12-22

How to Cite

Schlund, K. S. “Dwaj Panowie Przyszli or dwóch panów przyszło? The Agreement Resolution of Quantified Subjects in Polish Against the Background of Russian and Croatian/Serbian”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 29, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 221–256, http://ojs.ung.si/index.php/JSL/article/view/60.