Current projects

Typology of morphosyntactic parameters (2011-2013)

I am leading a research project on morphosyntax and morphosyntactic parameters funded by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities, RGNF, research project No. 11-04-00282a “Typology of morphosyntactic parameters” (Типология морфосинтаксических параметров, The original members of the research group were: Peter Arkadiev, Natalia Pimenova, Alexander Perekrestenko, Natalia Serdobolskaya, Andrei Sidelcev. From January 2012,  the research group has been joined by Oleg Belyaev. From October 2012, a change in personnel takes effect: Alexander Perekrestenko is substituted by Yuri Lander (High school of economy).


A shot from our 2012 conference, the 15th of November, SMSUH Moscow.






Publications 2012

See page

Publications 2011

Scrambling types and Syntactic Categories.


Here is a summary of my paper “Scrambling types in the Slavic Languages” published in Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, 10 (17). Moscow, 2011, 750-766.

The term Scrambling is used as a characteristics of languages generating well-formed sentences which can be linearized in two or more ways. Linearization is defined as an operation preserving a syntactic numeration i.e. a hierarchy of syntactic positions but changing the linear order of sentence categories manifested by non-zero elements. Linguistically interesting cases pertain to scrambling of sentence categories of the same type and/or the same phrase level. I mostly discuss argument scrambling: the term ‘argument’ is used both for internal and external (i.e. subject-like) arguments. The main hypothesis is that the parameters of Local vz. Unbounded Scrambling and Short vz. Long-Distance Scrambling are independent, so that combinations Local & Long-Distance Scrambling and Short & Unbounded Scrambling are theoretically possible. This point is being proved for non-clitic words (phrases) and for clitic elements, though Clitic Scrambling is a pretty rare phenomenon. In Slavic languages and elsewhere, a subclass of clitics make up sequences (so called clitic clusters) excluding permutation of elements when they assume a contact position. Therefore, Slavic clusterizing clitics cannot have Local Scrambling. Long-Distance Clitic Scrambling is marginally attested, if a) the language with clitics allows for extracting clitics out of embedded clauses, b) extracted clitics may take two or more positions in a higher clause. This can be proven for Modern Slovene. A further non-trivial characteristics of Slavic clitics is that in Slavic languages only clause-level clitics, but not phrase-level (i.e. NP/DP level) clitics can clusterize: the idea that Bulgarian definite articles and dative possessive clitics in DP make up clitic clusters is false.

A link to the publication is here: Slavic_Scrambling_2011


The label ‘Possessor Raising’ is often applied to heterogenous phenomena which hardly conform to the set of basic diagnostic criteria. I am working with the following criteria and distinguish Possessor Raising from Possessive Shift.

—Possessor Raising is a operation preserving syntactic structure: it shown different stages of syntactic derivation of one and the same sentence.
—Possessive Shift = alternation of different syntactic structures.
See the draft of my talk ‘Possessor Raising and Slavic Possessive Clitics’ given at the Slavic Linguistic Society conference in Aix-en-Provence (2011).
 Possessor Raising and Possessive Clitics in the Slavic Languages
Cf. also other publications of on Possessor Raising and Possessor Shift on this page:

Clitic Studies

Old High German is seldom if ever mentioned in the group of languages with clitic clusters. Cf. the recent findings of Natalia Pimenova: she argues that OHG had cluster-like sequenses of elements with weak stress.
Zum Beitrag Pimenova N.B. Sintaksicheskaja lovushka dl’a mestoimenij: klasterizacija atonirujemyh slov v drevneverhnenemeckom jazyke// Vestnik MGU- Schriften der Moskauer Staatlichen Lomonossov-Universität. Ser. 9 «Philologie», № 5, 2010, S. 32-41 :

The article focuses on word order in Old High German sequences of deaccented  pronouns, which display certain properties of clitic blocks. A clusterization rule PRONOM> PROREFL> PRODAT >PROACC> PROGEN >(ADV) is identified. The author specifies that the rule can’t be observed when phonetically or semantically emphasized words are introduced into the sequence. Desemantization and phonetic non-marked character of words in blocks is viewed as an exceptional particular type of grammaticalization.

Wortstellung im Althochdeutschen_Pronomen_man


We are currently organizing a conference at the Moscow State University for the Humanities, MGGU , see the announcement below.

Center for modern linguistic research


Moscow State University for the Humanities

is organizing a conference

in theoretical and typological linguistics


The conference will take place on December 5, 2011 at the Moscow State University for the Humanities (Sholokhov-University)

The opening is at 10.30 AM. [the conference room will be announced later].

 The conference is addressed the issues of

  • Word order typology and constraints on movement.
  • Clitic typology.
  • Argument structure.
  • Case, Agreement, Head Marking, Dependent Marking.
  • Syntax-Prosody interface.
  • Polypredicative structures.
  • Spell-out, ellipsis and zero categories.
  • The correlation of morphosyntactic parameters and language types.

Format: 25 minutes for the presentation +10 minutes for the discussion

Organizing committee: Anton Zimmerling, Peter Arkadiev

The conference participants are leading Russian linguists representing research institutions and universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg and specializing in the field of typological syntax and grammar theory.

Parametric approach to grammar is a rapidly growing branch in linguistic studies lying at the joint of Universal Grammar and linguistic typology. World’s languages can be described in terms of general parameters capable of taking different values. There exist ca. 7000 languages described to an uneven degree.  Linguistic typology deals with open classes of world’s languages sharing the same parametric combinations and aims at establishing types conforming to stable parametric combinations which predict the distribution of grammar features. Our conference is devoted to the interaction of morphological (Case, Agreement) and syntactic (sentence structure, constraints of wоrd order and external merger) аs well as to interlevel interfaces, specifically, to the syntax-prosody interface responsible for the correlation of the phonetic form and the syntactic output as well as for the segmentation of well-formed texts.

 Typology of Syntactic Constraints (2009-2010)

In 2009-10 I was leading a research project on the typology of syntactic constraints.  The research team included 4 other linguists, experts in formal grammars, parametric syntax and syntactic typology. The project was funded by the Russian Foundation for the Humanities, RGNF, project RGNF 09-04-00297a.

The project aims at describing syntactic systems in natural languages and their mathematical models in the framework of formal parametric typology.  We aim at classifying syntactic constraints and their combinations into different groups in order to verify their status in UG and deductively closed theories related to linguistic theory. Tentatively, following classes of constraints seem to be most prominent.

I). PURELY MATHEMATICAL CONDITIONS incorporated in formal grammars generating languages with a generative capacity comparable to generative capacity of natural languages. Likely candidates:  the Projectivity filter, Locality conditions in Stablerian Minimalist Grammars (Shortest Move Condition, Specifier Island Condition, Adjunction Island Condition).

II). DOCTRINAL CONDITIONS presumably based on type I conditions. Likely candidates: Ross’s constraints, Strict Cyclicity Condition, Tensed Subject Condition, Opacity Condition, Crossover Effects, Projection Principle, EPP (?), Phase Impenetrability Condition (?).

III). INDUCTIVE PREDICTIONS constraining constituent orders that remain theoretically possible. Likely candidates: Greebergian conditions ruling out *OSV, *OVS, *VOS orders [NB: we DO NOT claim in advance that languages with these base orders do not exist, we just that that such word orders cannot be accounted for in some framework];  Hawkins’s Early Immediate Constituents (EIC), FOFC = Final over Final Constraint (?).

IV). LINGUOSPECIFIC CONSTRAINTS characteristic of some classes of languages sharing the same parametric settings. The constraints of type IV) are tentatively triggered by a combination of different factors and presumably based on conditions of types I), II), III). Likely candidates: Germanic Verb-Second-Constraint (V2), Clitic-Second Constraint (CL 2). Arguably, also Null-Subject Parameter (?!).

We greatly appreciate a feedback to our research program and the list of conditions/constraints. We would also be happy to cooperate with other research teams in this or related areas.

Research Group (2009-10)

The research group includes Peter Arkadiev (Institute for Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), Natalia Pimenova (Moscow City Pedagogical University), Natalia Serdobolskaya (Moscow City University for Pedagogy and Psychology) and Alexander Perekrestenko (Institute of Informatics, Russian Academy of Sciences).

 Publications and presentations 2009

Peter Arkadiev

Arkadiev, Peter 2009 (in press). Participial complementation in Lithuanian. In:  Clause Combining in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, Volker Gast and Holger Diessel (eds.) (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Аркадьев, Петр 2009 (in press). Согласование с именной группой в периферийном падеже: опыт типологии. В печати в сборнике докладов VI конференции по типологии и грамматике для молодых исследователей, ИЛИ РАН, Санкт-Петербург, 26–28 ноября 2009.   a_piter2009

Natalia Pimenova:

Пименова, Наталья 2009. Функционально-семантические факторы сдвига финитного глагола в древневерхненемецком языке // Научное наследие Владимира Григорьевича Адмони и современная лингвистика. Материалы международной конференции, посвященной 100-летию со дня рождения В.Г.Адмони 9-13 ноября 2009 года. СПб.: Нестор-История. 2009. C.210.  TesisyPimenova OglavlenijeTesisov OblozhkaTesisov

Natalia Serdobolskaya:

Сердобольская, Наталья 2009. Аккузатив субъекта в зависимой предикации: за и против подъема аргумента в калмыцком языке // Исследования по грамматике калмыцкого языка (Acta Linguistica Petropolitana, т. IV, ч. 2 / отв. ред. Н.Н. Казанский). Санкт-Петербург: Наука, 2009. С. 581-622.

Anton Zimmerling:

Zimmerling, Anton 2009a.Clitic particles and the typology of 2P languages // Cambrigde Occasional Papers in Linguistics, vol. 5, 2009.CliticPartZimmerling09

Zimmerling, Anton 2009b. Aggressive pro-drop and the specificity of the 3rd person in Slavic languages //Slavic Linguistic Society conference, SLS 4. Fourth Annual Meeting of the SLS. Zadar, 3-6 September 2009. SLS4AZ

Zimmerling, Anton 2009c. Dative Subjects and Semi-Expletive Pronouns in Russian // Studies in Formal Slavic Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics and Discourse Structure /Gerhild Zybatow, Uwe Junghanns, Denisa Lenertova, Petr Biskup (eds.). Peter Lang, 2009, 253-268.

Kosta Peter & Anton Zimmerling 2009. Slavic systems with Clitics and syntactic typology // FDSL-8. Potsdam, 2-5 December 2009. Preprints,  88-90. Slavic clitic systems in a typological perspective

Циммерлинг, Антон 2009a. Синтаксические нули в теории грамматики // Компьютерная лингвистика и интеллектуальные технологии, вып. 8 (15) по материалам международной конференции «Диалог 2009». М., 2009, 519-529.  ZimmerlingD2009

Циммерлинг, Антон 2009b. Семантика в тексте и вне его // Текст, структура и семантика/Диброва Е.И. Москва, 2009, 140-154. МГГУ

Slavic Word Order

One of the aims of the current project of Syntactic constraints was to give a viable typological description to syntactic systems attested in the Slavic languages.

See a draft version of my paper ‘Word Order Systems in the Slavic languages’ (in Russian). The paper is to be published in Исследования по типологии славянских, балтийских и балканских языков (преимущественно в свете языковых контактов) / Отв. ред. Вяч.Вс. Иванов. М.: Ин-т славяноведения РАН, 2011.


The interactions of clitic typology and word order typology, with focus on the Slavic languages, have been discussed in my talk ‘Slavic Clitic Systems in a Typological Perspective’, given at the Colloquim of General Linguistics, Center for Study of Languages, the University of Chicago. See the extended handout of this talk here: Handout _04.11 The powerpoint presentation may be found here: Slavic clitic systems and word order typology Chicago_4_11

I thank the audience of the Colloquim for the valuable comments and fruitful discussion. I am particularly indebted to Jerry Sadock, Victor Friedman, Lenore Grenoble, Carlos Arregi and Jaroslav Gorbachov for the critical points and valuable suggestions. These people are certainly not responsible for any shortcomings and infelicities in the posted handout & presentations: all the faults are my own.

Clitics in OHG

Some Germanic languages with the Verb-Second Constrain exhibit clusterizing clitics and clitic clusters. It has been shown in (Zimmerling 2002) that Old Icelandic and Middle Norwegian had clitic clusters in Clausal-second position or clausal-third position (P2/P3 clitics & V2/V1 verbal forms in root clauses).

Natalia Pimenova recently analyzed the situation in Old High German (OHG). See a draft version of Pimenova (2010) – the final version is to be published in the Festschrift to Professor A.Zelenetsky Sbornik.

Parsing issues, scrambling, free word order

It is essential to distinguish grammar-oriented parsers and text-oriented parsers. One of the significant results recently achieved by Alexander Perekrestenko, who is involved in this research project, concerns analysis of  Stablerian Minimalist Grammars with the so called Unbounded Scrambling. See a draft Russian version of Perekrestenko 2010 (in press). LATA112ru


We claim that a majority of seemingly heterogenous morphosyntactic mechanisms can be classified with two major types, namely, Head Marking (cf. for instance, Agreement) and Dependent Marking (cf. for instance Case). This hypothesis is discussed in many publications of Peter Arkadiev.

Publications 2010

1. Сердобольская Наталья Вадимовна. Прозрачное согласование в кункинском и худуцком языках (в печ.) Труды института лингвистических исследований / отв. ред. Н.Н. Казанский. Санкт-Петербург: «Наука». 2010. ( 0,7 печ. л. — на рус. яз.

2.  Сердобольская Наталья Вадимовна «Актантное» и «обстоятельственное» оформление сентенциального актанта в адыгейском языке (печатн.) Типологически редкие и уникальные явления на языковой карте России. Тезисы докладов международной научной конференции, Санкт-Петербург, 2-4 декабря 2010 г. Санкт-Петербург: «Нестор-история», 2010.  3 стр. — на рус. яз.

3. Циммерлинг Антон Владимирович, Сердобольская Наталья Вадимовна, Аркадьев Петр Михайлович.  Проект типологической базы данных по синтаксическим ограничениям на передвижение (печаст.). Компьютерная лингвистика и интеллектуальные технологии: По материалам ежегодной Международной конференции “Диалог”(Бекасово, 26-30 мая 2010 г.). Вып. 9 (16). - М.: Изд-во РГГУ, 2010. С. 437-441. 0,4 печ. л. — на рус. яз.

4. Сердобольская Наталья Вадимовна. Аккузатив субъекта в зависимой предикации: за и против подъема аргумента в калмыцком языке (печатн.) Исследования по грамматике калмыцкого языка (Acta Linguistica Petropolitana, т. IV, ч. 2/ отв. ред. Н.Н. Казанский). Санкт-Петербург: «Наука», 2009, стр. 581-622.  1,5 печ. л. — на рус. яз.

5.  Arkadiev Peter M. A review article of Case and Grammatical Relations, ed. by G.G. Corbett and M. Noonan. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008. // Language Vol. 86 (2010), No. 2, pp. 416–428. (1.2 а.л.) — на англ.яз.

6. Arkadiev Peter M. Participial complementation in Lithuanian. To appear in Volker Gast and Holger Diessel (eds.), Clause Combining in Cross-Linguistic Perspective (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. (2,5 а.л.) — на англ.яз.

7. Перекрестенко Александр Анатольевич. NP-сложность проблемы распознания для языков, порожденных минималистскими грамматиками с неограниченным скремблингом и барьерами, не различающими категориями.  0, 8 а.л. (в печати). — на рус.яз.

8. Пименова Наталья Борисовна. К реконструкции свойств клитических блоков в древних западногерманских языках // Актуальные проблемы лингвистики и методики преподавания иностранных языков. Материалы Всероссийской научно-практической конференции 15 апреля 2010 г. В 3-х ч. Ч.II. -Уфа: РИЦ БашГУ, 2010. С.102-104 — на рус.яз.

9. Пименова Наталья Борисовна. Клитики и клитические блоки в древневерхненемецком языке // Сборник статей германистов, посвященный А.Л.Зеленецкому. 0, 7 а.л. — на рус.яз. Калуга, 2010 (в печати).

10. Пименова Наталья Борисовна. Закон Вакернагеля и наблюдения за факторами позиционирования безударных частиц в начале предложения// Типологические и методологические аспекты исследования функционирования языка. Материалы Всероссийской конференции. Оренбург, 2011. 0, 2 п.л. (в печати) — на рус.яз..

11.  Пименова Наталья Борисовна. Синтаксическая ловушка для местоимений: кластеризация атонируемых слов в древневерхнемецком языке // Вестник МГУ. Сер. Филология. № 5, 2010, С. 32-41 — на рус.яз..

12.     Пименова Наталья Борисовна. Конкретные значения отвлеченных  словообразовательных типов в древневерхненемецком языке (опыт синхронно-диахронического анализа). 9,5 п.л.. Москва, 2010. – на рус. яз.

13.     Циммерлинг Антон Владимирович. Предложение как единица сегментации // Теоретическая и прикладная лингвистика за последние 50 лет. Москва, МГУ, 28-30 сентября 2010, 44-46. 0,2 а.л. – на рус. яз.

14.     Циммерлинг Антон Владимирович. Именные предикативы и дативные предложения в европейских языках // Компьютерная лингвистика и интеллектуальные технологии, вып. 9 (16) по материалам международной конференции «Диалог 2010». М., Изд. РГГУ, 2010, 549-558. 0,6 ал. – на рус. яз.

15.     Anton Zimmerling. Dative Sentence Patterns in Slavic and Circum-Baltic Languages // 18 Nordiska Slavistmötet. Tampere, 18.08.-22.08.2010, 54-57. 0, 4 а.л. – на англ. яз.

16.     Anton Zimmerling, Elena Kulinich (University of Montreal). Dative-predicative structures and lexical predicatives in Russian and Ukrainian // Fifth Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistic Society, SLS 5. University of Chicago, October, 29-30, 2010. Chicago, 2010, 110-111. 0, 2 а.л – на англ. Яз.

17.     Anton Zimmerling. Syntactic Criteria for identifying Russian and Ukrainian Predicatives // Fifth Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistic Society, SLS 5. University of Chicago, October, 29-30, 2010. Chicago, 2010, 112-113. 0, 2 а.л – на англ. яз.

18.     Anton Zimmerling. Slavic Clitic Systems and Word Order Typology. Paper given at the Department of General Linguistics, University of Chicago 04.11.2010. 3, 0 а.л. – на англ. Яз. Текст выложен по адресу на ресурсе проекта:

19. Циммерлинг Антон Владимирович. Системы порядка слов в славянских языках // Исследования по типологии славянских, балтийских и балканских языков (преимущественно в свете языковых контактов) / Отв. ред. Вяч.Вс. Иванов. М.: Ин-т славяноведения РАН, 2011. 3,2 а.л. – на рус. яз. Предварительная версия выложена по адресу  на ресурсе проекта. 

An updated and revised version of Publication No. 19 is available here: Zimmerling_DF

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