Svitlana Antonyuk, PhD

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Vienna, employed in a project “Parameters of Possession” headed by Peter Hallman. As part of this project Peter Hallman and I have been investigating the distribution of purpose clauses in Ukrainian and Russian, arguing that purpose clauses provide a strong argument against Freeze’s (1992) view of possessors as derived from locative phrases. Instead, we are arguing that possessor u-PPs with true possessor interpretation are base-generated higher than u-PPs with locative meaning. Applying this diagnostic to a range of constructions we show how it helps to shed light on the structures under investigation.

My own research is focused on syntax and its interfaces with other modules of grammar, especially the syntax-semantics interface. I am interested in natural language quantification, specifically the issues related to quantifier scope ambiguity and the phenomenon of scope freezing, the interaction between quantification and scrambling, verb phrase structure and, most recently, with focus.

Much of my work to date has been focused on Slavic languages, in particular Russian and Ukrainian, both of which are my native languages. My dissertation research has led me to believe that the phenomena I am investigating in Russian and Ukrainian, especially as they compare to the better-studied languages, such as English, are due to the same mechanism and as such should receive a unified explanation, with similar (scope freezing) patterns in English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Norwegian, among others, arguably being amenable to the same treatment.

I also have a long-standing interest in prosodic phonology and the issues pertaining to the prosody-syntax-semantics interface, such as the degree to which silent prosody plays a role in native speakers’ reported judgments of ambiguity and scope rigidity as well as the interaction between focus and quantifier scope (the latter in collaboration with Richard Larson).

Within Slavic linguistics, I am most interested in Scrambling and how it interacts with other syntactic phenomena; Binding (Backwards Anaphora, binding into quantifier domain restriction) and the structure of ditransitives. In Ukrainian I have done some experimental work (with Roksolana Mykhaylyk) on the interaction between prosody and Scrambling and, most recently, we have worked on specificity in Ukrainian (in object shift contexts) and how interacts with quantifier scope, arguing that the data from Ukrainian present strong evidence against the Superiority account of scope freezing from a cross-linguistic perspective.