The dual face of structural object case: On Lithuanian genitive of negation

Einar Freyr Sigurdsson, Milena Šereikaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyze genitive of negation (GN) in Lithuanian. When the verb is negated, GN is realized on an object that would otherwise be realized as accusative. We demonstrate that Lithuanian GN is a syntactic (in line with Arkadiev 2016) and morphological phenomenon in contrast to Russian GN, whose realization is influenced by semantic factors (e.g. Kagan 2013). It differs from Russian (Pesetsky 1982) in that (i) it is always assigned to a DP which would otherwise bear structural accusative regardless of its semantic properties, and (ii) it cannot affect a structural nominative DP regardless of whether it is an external or internal argument. Lithuanian GN, in this respect, is similar to Polish GN (e.g. Przepiórkowski 2000, Witkoś 2008). We offer a three-layered approach to case, arguing that GN is a reflection of structural object case, assigned in syntax, then translated to morphological genitive case at PF and, finally, realized at Vocabulary Insertion (Halle & Marantz 1993). Thus, structural object case has two morphological realizations: as genitive under negation or as accusative in the absence of negation. Lithuanian also exhibits long-distance GN (Arkadiev 2016), showing that case boundaries can cross non-finite clauses without an overt CP element, suggesting these are not phases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.

Other keywords

  • case
  • genitive of negation
  • Lithuanian
  • morphology
  • syntax


Dive into the research topics of 'The dual face of structural object case: On Lithuanian genitive of negation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this