- Locus of marking typology in the possessive NP: A new approach
- Folia Linguistica
- Volume | Issue number
- 50 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
This study takes a semantic approach to Nichols’ influential locus of marking typology, as applied to the possessive noun phrase. In this approach, a careful distinction is made between two semantic types of dependency relations: those between inherently relational nouns and their argument possessors and those between inherently non-relational nouns and their modifier possessors. I
furthermore propose an alternative analysis of possessive person markers in terms of locus, by distinguishing referential markers from agreement markers, depending on the distribution of grammatical feature information in the possessive NPs of individual languages. On the basis of a 37-language sample, I show that locus of marking follows two tendencies: marking the possessum in alienable possession implies marking the possessum in inalienable possession, and marking the possessor in inalienable possession implies marking the possessor in alienable possession. Moreover, I show that if inalienable person markers are referential, alienable person markers are referential as well. These tendencies reflect a greater need of alienable (modifier) possessors for expressive means of coding as compared to inalienable (argument) possessors. On a more general
level, I argue against the traditional opposition between head-marking languages and dependent-marking languages, showing that, from a semantic perspective, dependent-marking may also occur on heads.
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