A. Krasovitsky, M. Baerman, D. Brown, G. Corbett, A. Long We investigate morphosyntactic change in Russian based on a 30 million token corpus of XIX and XX century literary texts. To capture the shape and general mechanisms of the change, we focus on these morphosyntactic phenomena: the genitive of negation, predicative nominals, adjectives with numerals «2, 3, 4», predicates in quantified expressions, predicates with conjoined noun phrases. We investigate the variation of competing morphosyntactic forms within equal time periods on the basis of frequencies derived from the corpus. This allows us to see the process of morphosyntactic change as a set of continuous trajectories for each of the phenomena under investigation, where trajectories are determined by statistical values derived for innovative forms in a given period.
The statistics provide evidence for the non-uniform character of the process of morphosyntactic change within different time periods. Thus, for the two phenomena specially investigated (the genitive of negation and predicative nominals), the data reveal a smooth process during the XIX century, followed by a dramatic change in the first half of the XX century. There are also dramatic differences in the weight of factors governing variation in different time periods (e.g. verb aspect and finiteness for the genitive of negation). Finally, the corpus shows that certain variables are clearly fading over time due to the generalization of one model (e.g. the role of animacy and sentence semantics for predicate nouns case).